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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Identifying the tick is helpful

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Every time I hear someone say there is something crawling on a person and to hold still, it still sends shivers up my spine to think that it might just be a tick.

Ticks are horrible creatures to find on your body for a number of reasons. One of the biggest reasons is because ticks are capable of carrying and spreading disease or cause tick paralysis in livestock, pets and humans.

It is estimated that there are 820 species of ticks around the world. Approximately 90 different species of ticks are found in the continental U.S. They are grouped into two families, Hard Ticks and Soft Ticks.

There are approximately 15 different species of ticks documented in Indiana. Of those 15, there are four hard tick species that are of special concern for Indiana residents because of their disease potential.

Deer ticks (black-legged ticks) are the carriers of Lyme disease. They are more prevalent in the northeast U.S. and upper Midwest. However, they have been spotted around Central Indiana in previous years. In order to spread Lyme disease, deer ticks have to be attached to their host for 24-36 hours.

The more common tick around Central Indiana is the American Dog Tick. The America Dog Tick is known to reach peak population in June. It is capable of carrying and spreading Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF). To do so, it must be attached for 4-6 hours. Females of this species that are allowed to attach and suck blood near the spinal cord can cause tick paralysis in livestock, pets and humans.

Lone star ticks can be found in moist woodland areas. However, it is most likely to be found in wooded areas in Southern Indiana that have high deer populations. It can be a potential carrier of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrilichoisis, and Southern tick-associated rash illness (STAR).

The final tick to mention is the Brown Dog tick. It is a worldwide pest of dogs and is primarily found in the Southern United States.

It has been repeatedly introduced into Indiana by infested dogs. It is a vector for Canine Ehrlichoisis in dogs. There has been some research suggesting that there is a potential for Brown Dog ticks to spread Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Due to the impact that ticks can have on a person or a pet, it is important that individuals learn how to identify and understand ticks. To help learn more about ticks, check out Purdue Extension publication E-243-W, "The Biology and Medical Importance of Ticks in Indiana," at http://extension.entm.purdue.edu/publica.... To help with identification, visit Iowa State University's Entomology Gallery at http://www.ent.iastate.edu/imagegal/tick....

IF you do find a tick, it is important that you remove it properly. To do so, grab the tick behind the mouthparts with forceps and pull, gently and steadily, until the tick releases its hold.

You may want to use latex or another type of skin-tight glove while doing this. Once the tick is removed, use warm soapy water to wash the attachment site and rub alcohol on it to prevent possible pathogens. Try to save the tick for identification purposes, if needed, or dispose of it in a sealable plastic bag in the garbage. You can also flush the tick down the toilet.

When removing the tick, do not twist, poke, squash or burn it. Similarly, do not smother the tick with any substance. Doing any of those actions can cause disease pathogens to spread.

Ticks can vary in size but no matter what, everyone can agree they do not want to get sick because of coming into contact with a tick. Therefore, it is important that you always check you body over to ensure no ticks latched on during your visit to your wooded area.

If you have any questions or would like information on any agriculture, horticulture, or natural resource topic, please contact your local Purdue Extension Office at 448-9041 in Clay County or 812-829-5020 in Owen County or reach me directly via e-mail at smith535@purdue.edu.

Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:

* May 31 -- Holiday, Clay and Owen County Extension Offices closed,

* June 3 -- Owen County Extension Board meeting,

* June 5 -- Walking Stick Workshop, McCormick's Creek State Park, $5/project,

* June 5 -- National Trails Day Activities, Cagles Mill Lake (Lieber SRA),

* June 8 -- Clay County Extension Board meeting, and

* June 12 -- Bird Fest, Turkey Run State Park.