With the weather getting warmer, the ticks are coming out in full force. Living in eastern MA, I’ve dealt with ticks many times before. This year, I’ve been seeing a lot of deer ticks, and that’s got me concerned.
Here’s a helpful article from Northern New England dot com:
Ticks (also known as arachnids) are a fact of life here in New England, and, in fact, in many places on earth. Golfers, hikers, hunters, bird watchers and anyone that spends time outdoors should be aware of ticks.
Globally, there are some 400 species of ticks on this planet. Here in northern New England, we have about a dozen different species lurking in the woods, forests, and grass.
Not much is usually heard about ticks, but the fact is – knowing about ticks is extremely important and potentially life saving. Ticks, like mites are external parasites that live off the blood of mammals, birds, and even reptiles and amphibians. Ticks are also vectors of several diseases, including the potentially fatal Lyme disease.
Often tick species take their name from their favorite host, so we have bird ticks, woodchuck ticks, rabbit ticks, moose ticks, and dog ticks. Other New England varieties of tick include; one star tick, tiny black-legged tick – the local variety, of which is commonly referred to as a “deer tick”.
Ticks are rather unique in that all ticks must stalk and feed from a host vertebrate three times in their lifetime, as larva, again as a nymph, and finally as an adult. It is in the third and final phase of the deer tick’s life that is the most dangerous to humans.
An infected tick can spread Lyme Disease. Not all ticks are infected with Lyme Disease. A tick bite can be difficult to detect. Anyone who spends time outdoors (hikers, golfers, hunters, bird watchers, bike riders, etc. ) should learn how to check themselves for fleas, ticks and insect bites and should take the time to perform this precautionary measure. The actual size of an adult tick in about the size of this 0, or the size of a pin head.
Most cases of Lyme diseases are from the Northeast. Nearly 90% of all Lyme disease cases have been reported in the Northeastern part of the US. Many people are being infected from ticks in their own yard.
Ticks are blood-feeding parasites that are often found in tall grass, stone walls, fallen leaves, and shrubs where they wait to attach themselves to a passing host, like you or your pet. Physical contact is the only method of transportation for ticks. Thankfully, ticks can not jump or fly, although they may drop from their perch and fall onto an unsuspecting host.
To remove a tick use a small set of quality tweezers: grab the head of the tick and slowly pull it out. Crushing or irritating the tick by using heat or chemicals should be avoided, because these methods may cause it to regurgitate its stomach contents into the skin, increasing the possibility of infection. Very small ticks and larval ticks can be removed by scraping them off.
Lyme disease (which is found in deer ticks) cannot be transmitted once the tick body is removed even if the mouthparts break off and are still in the skin. Prompt removal is important; infection generally takes an extended period of time, over 24 hours for Lyme disease which is why carefully checking yourself after hiking, hunting or outdoor activities is so important.
Tick Population Factors
Ticks of all types depend largely upon water and moisture for survival. More ticks will survive a mild winter than a cold one. A long dry summer will have a devastating effect on tick populations, conversely a wet and warm spring will help hatch an abundance of ticks.