Ticks are becoming an increasingly common and concerning issue, as they are capable of spreading deadly diseases. With over 800 species of ticks worldwide, 84 of which are documented in the United States, it is important to be aware of the risks they pose.
Some common tick species found in the United States include blacklegged ticks, lone star ticks, American dog ticks, and brown dog ticks. These ticks go through three life stages: larva, nymph, and adult. Interestingly, only female ticks become engorged with blood, as they need it to lay eggs and start the life cycle process over again.
Tick bites can transmit diseases to humans, making it crucial to remove ticks carefully. Using tweezers, it is recommended to drown the tick with hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol and keep it for identification purposes. Different tick species carry different diseases, so identifying the tick can help determine the potential risks involved.
Preventing tick bites is of utmost importance, as the diseases they carry can be debilitating or even life-threatening. Ticks are known to be attracted to factors such as static electricity and carbon dioxide, but they tend to wait for hosts to brush by them. To protect against ticks, it is advisable to use insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Additionally, covering the skin and tucking pants into socks can help prevent tick bites. Wearing treated clothes with permethrin can also provide protection.
In some cases, exterminating ticks in your yard may be necessary depending on where you live. While climate change may play a role in the spread of ticks, increased exposure is primarily due to white-tailed deer living in areas with higher population densities.
Despite the risks associated with ticks, it is still possible to enjoy nature by taking proper precautions and performing regular tick checks. By being aware of the risks and taking necessary preventive measures, individuals can minimize the chances of falling victim to tick-borne diseases.