Ticks and the Bruce Trail
Lyme Disease is an infection caused by bacteria spread through the bite of Blacklegged ticks. Blacklegged ticks (Ioxdes scapularis; aka Deer Ticks) are found along the Bruce Trail and learning to identify and deal with them is key to a healthy hike.
Following is a list of precautions hikers should take to protect against Lyme disease when enjoying the Bruce Trail:
Wear light-colored clothing. It makes ticks easier to see and remove before they can attach to feed.
Wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt and tuck your socks into your pants.
Wear closed footwear and socks. Use an insect repellent that has “DEET” (following the manufacturer’s directions for use). Apply it to your skin and outer clothing.
If taking your pet out on the Trail put a tick and flea collar on them and check for ticks periodically during the hike and immediately after.
Avoid bushy areas and long grass if possible.
Examine yourself and your clothing thoroughly for ticks when you get home from your hike. Pay special attention to areas such as the groin, scalp, and armpits, as ticks are drawn to these sites. Use a mirror to check the back of your body or have someone else check it. Shower soon after being outdoors.
Wash clothing and place in a dryer, as ticks can survive off the body.
If you find a tick on your body, this is what you should do. This will help prevent infection since transmission of the Lyme disease bacteria usually requires the tick to be attached for more than 24 hours.
Lyme disease in Ontario is a concern for everybody who enjoys outdoor activities but your chances of contracting it on the Bruce Trail are quite low and should not interfere with your enjoyment of the Niagara Escarpment. By learning how it is transmitted, what the symptoms are and how to protect yourself from tick bites, you can relax and take pleasure in your hike.