Saturday, July 6, 2013

Tick Watching

Tick removal- lawestvector.org
The News-Leader just ran a story titled Mild Winter Triggers Bumper Crop of Ticks, Other Crawlies.   In addition to information on tick avoidance and removal, it supplied some interesting statistics on tick-borne diseases.

The News-Leader table above may be a little misleading.  I suspect that 2013 will be a big year for diseases.  Notice that the 2013 data are those reported "through May 31".  Many people who went to the doctor in the last 2 weeks of May would not have had their tests back and reported by then and this doesn't get into the June through August period.  It may be a long summer.

You know you have been in the outdoors too long when you start to identify the species of every tick you find crawling on you.  We have reached that point.  Female lonestar ticks predominated through the spring but we are now starting to see a significant percentage of female dog ticks.

If you are interested in developing this thrilling new tick identification hobby, or are just curious about what is crawling on you today, I would recommend printing off this Tick Identification Chart PDF from the Virginia Department of Health.  It has good pictures of all three stages of the Blacklegged, Lone Star and American Dog ticks.  It also has concise information on the disease transmission vectors and times.

We haven't yet started to keep a spreadsheet with the tick ID, time and date like dedicated bird watchers.  That would really be sick, but it may be the next big thing.

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