Ticked Off


This past winter, I was in Saugatuck doing some Christmas shopping, and saw a man that I recognized, though I couldn’t place where or how I knew him.  “I think I should know you”, I said.  “From the nursery”, he replied, “You were helping me when you found that tick on your head, and screamed for Jan to get it off.”  Oh, yeah….how could I forget that traumatic experience?   

We had a good laugh over the incident, though I suppose it should have been somewhat embarrassing to be recognized for doing my “GET IT OFF-GET IT OFF-GET IT OFF!!!!!” dance.  At the time though, I wasn’t the least bit amused; it was the first of two ticks I found stuck to my scalp last summer.  The second time, at least, was much less dramatic….only because there was no one around to hear me scream, or see me dance.  But seriously, ticks bites can be dangerous business. 

Ticks are vectors of Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tularemia; Lyme disease is the leading vector transmitted disease in the northern hemisphere, with more than 30,000 cases reported each year, and it is becoming more widespread.  Black-legged ticks (a.k.a. deer ticks) are the only tick species that transmit the disease in the eastern and north-central United States; the western black-legged tick is the vector in the Pacific states.  

Ticks are arachnids, and are related to spiders, mites, scorpions, and other eight-legged creepy crawlies.  The black-legged tick, a “hard tick”, ambushes its host by climbing to the edge of a leaf or branch, and waiting with its front legs outstretched to latch onto the next unsuspecting “blood-meal” that passes.  This is called “questing”, and begins as early as the spring thaw, continues throughout summer and into fall.    

         Questing Tick 

Once the tick hitches a ride on the passing host, it looks for a suitable feeding site.  Favored locations are around the waistline, thighs, armpits, and head, but they are not very choosy, and may attach themselves anywhere.   

Mary Carton
4/27/2013 12:13:32 AM

I heard the same thing about bounce repelling mosquitoes and that doesn't work. I've found ticks on me afterwards. I've already found 2 this year on me and several on the dogs. Warm winter, it's going to be a nasty year.

Paul MacDonald
4/26/2013 10:33:22 PM

I have heard,though I haven't tried it yet, that ticks can't stand bounce dryer sheets and that by keeping one in your pocket it will repel ticks. Has any one else heard of this or tried it?

Chris McLaughlin
4/26/2013 2:51:51 PM

I just wanted to add that my daughter had Lyme Disease (and Relapsing Fever) and the Dr's didn't think that's what it was because we never saw a tick to remove. Upon deeper research I found out that when these ticks pass this to you, they're no bigger than a poppy seed! Very hard to see. On top of *that* they can stay attached for a little as 15 minutes and then drop off -- so you may never know that one was ever attached to you! The doctors were nice, but they didn't know either of these things -- it took us researching to fin d more answers to get them to treat her for it. You can find more interesting information here: http://lymedisease.org/

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