It's not too early to be concerned about ticks. In fact, these little pests never go away.
For the most part they are just a pesky nuisance, but caution is in order in dealing with these little nasties. Taking care of tick bites, and avoiding them, if possible, is important. Some ticks do carry lyme disease, however the presence of ticks shouldn’t keep people from avoiding the outdoors.
There are hundreds of species of ticks, but only a few that really bother people. And of course, those are the ones to be concerned about. Among those one of the most pesky around these parts are called deer ticks. Some people call them turkey ticks, and others call them bear ticks or some unprintable bad word. The deer ticks (what I call them) and their numbers seem to track with deer.
Some people think the number of ticks expand during a mild winter, and their numbers are reduced by really cold weather. However, research reveals it is almost impossible to freeze out the tiny pests.
Dick Gadd, president of SCS Limited, a company that specializes in tick and other pest repellent, said in an interview, ticks bore into decaying leaves, and can withstand prolonged periods of subzero cold.
While ticks can lead to bites that itch, in rare cases they can cause Lyme and other diseases. However, they aren’t a reason to stay indoors when one should be enjoying the outdoors. Prevention is the key -- avoid the bite.
In order for a person to become ill, a person has to be bitten by an infected tick (only a very small percentage of ticks are infected). A little prevention can eliminate the bites.
People usually think of finding ticks in the woods, but in fact they are just as likely to be found in tall grass. Make a special effort to avoid tall grass, and around your home, keep the grass mowed.
The best way to prevent bites, if you plan to enter a grassy or wooded area is to wear a long-sleeved shirt and light-colored pants. Tuck the shirt in at the waist and the pants tucked into your socks. When in an area with lots of ticks, I use long socks and put a rubber band around them to hold the pant legs in place. I also at times wear hunting pants that have a draw string at the bottom.
It also is important to wear a hat. This will keep ticks from dropping off overhead branches into your hair. Light color for the hat and clothes make it easier to see the tiny nasties.
Repellents are most effective in keeping ticks away from any exposed skin, if you spray the clothes. I use Duranon Tick Repellent, which contains permethrin. Whatever brand you use, the ingredient permethrin is important. It needs to be sprayed on clothing a couple of hours prior to wearing them.
After leaving a grassy or wooded area, you should check for ticks on your clothing or skin. If a tick is attached to your skin, it can be removed with either tweezers or forceps by grasping the insect as close to the skin as possible. Try to move the head of the tick.
Ticks should not be removed with your bare fingers, but if tweezers or forceps are not available, you can use tissue paper or a paper towel to prevent the passing of any possible infection.
I use a tool called a Tick Remover. I keep one hanging on the side of refrigerator along with family pictures, doctor appointment reminders, and my wife’s “To Do” lists.
SCS Limited has a very good website with information about ticks and other insect pests, how to prevent them, and much more. The site is: www.tickinfo.com.