Preventing Tick Bites and Embeddings
After long winters, the first thing I want to do is get out and enjoy the weather and fresh air. Heading through the long grass normally knocks off some unpleasant creepy-crawlies onto my pants. Ticks!
As someone that spends a great amount of time around woods photographing wildlife and scenery, it is important to know a little something about ticks and preventing tick bites and embeddings.
How Many Tick Varieties are There?
Did you know there are many types of ticks? 16 varieties in Wisconsin alone, or so I was told from a retired entomologist on one of my birding outings. Here I just thought there were a few. Many more than I had even thought.
How do Ticks Travel?
A myth is that ticks jump. They do not. They crawl and fall as I like to tell people. When I am out walking on the trails I hear all the time watch out for flying ticks. People must think they fly for some reason. I can assure you unless there is some bear hiding in the woods with a stockpile of ticks and a sling slot – they do not fly.
When Are Ticks Out?
Ticks are out spring through fall, with the height months being June, July, and August in Wisconsin. For me, it just happens to be all the months we don’t have snow on the ground. For me, I will take little extra precautions and get out and explore anything that I can.
Tips For Preventing Tick Bites and Embeddings
1.) Tuck your shirt into your pants and your socks over your pants. Leaving little skin exposed. If you wear light colored clothing, you can see the ticks easily.
2.) Wear repellent with DEET or Permethrin on the outside layer of your clothing.
3.) Walk in the middle of trails avoiding long grass and bushes. For people like myself, this is nearly impossible. I am an off-trail adventuring gal. So, protection and education are my friends.
4.) Check your clothing and skin before returning to your vehicle and again at home.
Three Very Common Ticks
1.) Wood Tick
Another name for this tick is the American dog tick. Give you two guesses why they are called that. It is one of the most common types of ticks in Wisconsin and you guessed it, often found on dogs after hunting and frocking in the long grass.
2.) Deer Tick
Deer ticks are known to transmit Lyme Disease. They are the smallest of the tick varieties.
3.) Lone Star Tick
The female can be easily spotted by the white spot on her back.
This bugger has me a little concerned. Note the word concerned, and not feared. Reports have surfaced and been confirmed through a variety of sources that a bite from THIS variety of tick can cause an allergy to proteins. Meaning, a person could never eat animal protein in their life again. It doesn’t happen to everyone and around me, I haven’t ever seen one in my area of Wisconsin. Scary, worth knowing about for travel purposes but the allergies are still rare at this point.
Will The Threat of Ticks Prevent Me From Enjoying the Great Outdoors?
No. Even though a person could place great fear in such a little creature, I don’t plan on leaving the woods or tall grass behind anytime soon. In the area I live, I haven’t seen a Lone star tick but in other Wisconsin counties, I have. The deer tick is my main concern around here, for Lyme Disease. Just make yourself and others aware of them and how you can protect yourselves, children, and pets.