NDSU Extension - Griggs County


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May 25

The Extension Connection

By Megan Vig

                With the warmer spring weather, I am sure you have found out that ticks are active.  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.  This week I share information from the NDSU Extension Crop and Pest Report from Janet Knodel on making sure you check for ticks.

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 check for ticks 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 North Dakota reaching 56 cases in 2017.  That is 23 more cases than the second-highest reported year of 2015, which reported 33 Lyme disease cases.

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

Minimize direct contract 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 to 30% DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) on exposed skin and clothing.  This will provide only some hours of protection.  Or, spray clothing with permethrin or wear clothing treated with permethrin. 

Quickly find and remove any ticks from your body by using a tweezers.  Grasp tick close to the 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 two 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 hide 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 your home.

Reduce tick habitat near your home by keeping lawns mowed, placing a 3-feet barrior of wood chips or gravel between lawns, patio or play areas and wooded areas to prevent tick movement, and 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.

                Lastly, visit EPA’s website https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you to find a repellant product that fits your needs. 


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