Following up on our previous post, NPR has an article, with creepy video, explaining possibly way more than you want to know about how ticks grab on and dig in. It also has some useful advice on removing ticks . . .
Spring is here. Unfortunately for hikers and picnickers enjoying the warmer weather, the new season is prime time for ticks, which can transmit bacteria that cause Lyme disease.
How they latch on — and stay on — is a feat of engineering that scientists have been piecing together. Once you know how a tick’s mouth works, you understand why it’s impossible to simply flick a tick.
Tick’s Mouth – Annette Chan-KQED
The key to their success is a menacing mouth covered in hooks that they use to get under the surface of our skin and attach themselves for several days while they fatten up on our blood.
Read/watch more (if you dare) . . .
Deer Tick, Adult Female – UMaine Cooperative Extension-Griffin Dill
Speaking from personal experience, tick season did its usual early April arrival on the North Fork last year and the nasty little critters likely stayed active into September. There’s no reason to think things will be any different this year. Ticks prefer moist, brushy areas, but even seemingly dry, more open landscape like the trail to Glacier View peak have their share of ticks.
Actually, Glacier View has more than its share of ticks. The lower reaches are heavily infested with the little bloodsuckers early in the season.
So, precautions are in order. The basics are long sleeves, long pants, a hat and vigilance. Light colored clothing makes ticks easier to spot.
Pre-treating hiking togs with a permethrin based spray will actually kill ticks that get on your clothing. The treatment lasts through several wash cycles.
Insect repellent will keep flies and mosquitoes away, but won’t discourage ticks from hitching a ride. They’ll simply walk across repellent-treated areas in search of a tastier spot to dig in.
And, of course, check yourself and your gear thoroughly when you get home.
For more information, here are a couple of useful articles:
10 Important Ways to Avoid Summer Tick Bites (LiveScience)
Preventing tick bites (Centers for Disease Control)