Highlands & Islands

Ticks emerge early in February's mild weather

Tick Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Infected ticks can spread Lyme disease to humans

Ticks, a creature that can spread a harmful infection to humans, have emerged early due to warm weather, Mountaineering Scotland has warned.

The outdoor pursuits enthusiasts organisation said they had been found in locations across Scotland, including in Aberdeenshire.

Lyme disease, a bacterial infection, can be spread to humans by infected tick bites.

The arthropods usually start to emerge in March.

Mountaineering Scotland, which regularly issues warnings about the pests, has sought further reports of ticks from its members.

People are most likely to come across sheep ticks, which feed on mammals such as deer and also birds, in open spaces with long grass or bracken.

February's mild weather saw a record temperature of 18.3C recorded in Aboyne in Aberdeenshire on Thursday.

The highest temperature previously recorded for the month in Scotland was 17.9C in Aberdeen on 22 February 1897.