The risk for Lyme disease is very low in Saskatchewan, but not zero.
Most ticks (about 96 per cent) found in Saskatchewan are the American dog tick. This species is not capable of transmitting Lyme disease to people. Rocky Mountain wood ticks and the winter tick (or moose tick) are also found in Saskatchewan.
Between 2008 and 2020, 33,970 ticks were collected and identified in Saskatchewan, and only 90 were blacklegged ticks. Of these 90, only 13 blacklegged ticks tested positive for the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.
Detailed surveillance data.
Blacklegged ticks are most often found in southern British Columbia, southeastern and south-central Manitoba, southern, eastern and northwestern Ontario, southern Quebec, southern New Brunswick and Grand Manan Island, and parts of Nova Scotia. Visit the Public Health Agency of Canada's website for detailed information about risk areas across Canada.
Blacklegged ticks are spreading elsewhere in Canada. Established populations of blacklegged ticks have not been identified in Saskatchewan but infected ticks may be dropped off by migrating birds. People may be exposed to blacklegged ticks in wooded areas as well as brushy, overgrown areas between woods and open spaces.
The adults are quite small (about the size of a sesame seed) and the immature stages are even smaller (the size of a freckle or a pinhead).
Photo courtesy of Robbin Lindsay, National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada
Ticks can transmit the bacteria regardless of what stage they are at in their life cycle. You may not know you have been bitten, since ticks are very small and their bites are usually painless. See below for precautions to take to prevent tick bites.
Ticks are active when the weather warms up (temperatures higher than 4°C) and remain active until freeze-up occurs. Since adult blacklegged ticks are active in the spring and fall months, and nymphs are found in the late spring and summer, the risk of being bitten by a tick can exist for the entire spring, summer and fall period.