Every winter we tell ourselves “Wouldn’t it be great if the ticks all disappeared this winter?” And every spring, they return.
They’re tiny, they’re terrible, they’re ticks. What can we do?
1. be aware they’re most active in the spring and the fall
2. avoid tall grass or brushy vegetation
3. remember ticks can also travel through mowed lawns
4. wear long sleeves and long pants when in areas where tick contact is possible
5. wear light-colored clothing, making it easier to see ticks on us
6. tuck pant legs into socks –a fashion faux pax, but essential out-of-doors practice
7. use insect repellent
8. do a tick check on yourself, children, and pets before leaving the park, and a more thorough check when you get home
9. if you find a tick has bitten you or another person in your family, contact your primary-care provider or local health care professional
As for those tick checks, remember that ticks are very small. The included image of a poppy seed muffin has 5 ticks on it to show their size compared to poppy seeds.
Oh, and if you’re bringing your dog for a walk (in physical control on a 6-foot leash at all times when visiting Saratoga NHP), make sure to check your dog for ticks. Preventative medications from your veterinarian may keep ticks from biting the dog, but not from getting a free ride from your dog until a non-treated host, i.e. a human, becomes available.
#DYK: opossums eat large amounts of ticks, up to 5,000 a season according to some sources! We wouldn’t recommend trying to make a pet of one as portable tick control…they are wild animals, after all.
(Tick images: US Center for Disease Control)