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To Be Smart – Do Tick Checks! (05/17/18)

With the warmer spring weather, ticks are active and peak tick season is May through August! The smaller black legged tick (or deer tick), Ixodes scapularis, and the larger dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis, are found in North Dakota and Minnesota.

To Be Smart – Do Tick Checks!

With the warmer spring weather, ticks are active and peak tick season is May through August! The smaller black legged tick (or deer tick), Ixodes scapularis, and the larger dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis, are found in North Dakota and Minnesota.

Year

# of Lyme Disease Cases

2000

2

2001

0

2002

1

2003

0

2004

0

2005

3

2006

7

2007

12

2008

11

2009

15

2010

33

2011

26

2012

15

2013

29

2014

15

2015

33

2016

32

2017

56

Ixodes scapularis or black legged tick (deer tick) vectors Lyme disease. The CDC reports that each year more than 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease. Most people are not aware of the major health risks from ticks vectoring Lyme disease. Lyme disease can cause circular reddish rash around the tick bite. Symptoms include fever, headache, stiff neck, muscles and/or joint pain. If not treated, more serious health problems can occur, such as meningitis, paralysis of facial muscles or heart problems, and swelling and pain in the large joints. It usually takes several hours for the tick to transmit the disease, so do tick checks frequently when outdoors and remove any ticks promptly.

Lyme disease is most common and concentrated in 14 states in the Northeast and upper Midwest regions. However, the incidence of Lyme disease has increased dramatically in ND (see Table, source ND Department of Health). The North Dakota Department of Health confirmed Lyme disease in 10 counties in 2016 (see map below):

 

 

 

 

 

Knodel.4

http://www.ndhealth.gov/disease/tickborne/Lyme%20Disease/lymedisease.htm

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following strategies for field workers and preventing tick bites:

  • Minimizing Direct Contact with Ticks by avoiding woody and high grass areas and walking in center of trails, if possible. Ticks are most active in May through August in North Dakota.
  • Use repellent with 20-30% DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) on exposed skin and clothing. This will provide only several hours of protection. Or, spray clothing with permethrin or wear clothing treated with permethrin.
  • EPA has an online tool to help people select an insecticide at: https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you
  • Quickly find and remove any ticks from body by using a tweezers. Grasp tick close to skin and pull straight up to avoid breaking off the tick’s mouthparts in the skin. Clean bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.

Inspect and bath yourself within 2 hours after coming indoors to find any ticks crawling on you and to remove them before they attach to feed on your blood. Ticks like to hides in hair, armpits and other areas that may be difficult to inspect.

  • Wash any clothing that you were wearing soon and then dry in high heat for an hour to kill any ticks. Otherwise, ticks can attach to you later after hitchhiking on your clothes into home.
  • Reduce tick habitat near home.
    • Keep lawns mowed around home.
    • Place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns, patio or play areas and wooded areas to prevent tick movement.
    • Exclude wildlife (especially deer) that may be carrying ticks into your yard.
  • Some insecticides registered for control of ticks by homeowners in residential areas include: carbaryl (Sevin®), cyfluthrin (Tempo®, Powerforce™), permethrin (Astro®, Ortho® products, Bonide® products), and pyrethrin (Pyrenone®, Kicker®). Always read and follow the EPA approved label on the product container.

(Revised article from May 5, 2016 issue of the NDSU Crop & Pest Report)

Janet J. Knodel

Extension Entomologist


 

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