NDSU Extension - Morton County


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April 12, 2021 Wood Ticks

NDSU Extension: Watch out for the Dreaded Wood Tick

By Karla Meikle, 4-H Youth Development Extension Agent, NDSU Extension

Dates to Remember:

  • April 14: Coping Skills for Kids, 12pm, Webinar
  • April 16: Dakota Garden Expo,  3-8pm, Bismarck Event Center
  • April 17: Dakota Garden Expo, 9am-4pm, Bismarck Event Center
  • April 17: State 4-H Indoor Archery Championships, 9am, Nishu Bowmen Archery Complex
  • April 20: Morton County Fair Board Meeting, 7pm, Morton County Fairgrounds, New Salem
  • May 9: Missouri River 3-D 4-H Archery Event, Nishu Bowmen Archery Complex

Watch out for the Dreaded Wood Tick

If you’re like me, you dread finding that first wood tick of the season, I will admit it, and there might be a little screaming involved.  You can ask anyone I know, I really hate wood ticks!  I know hate is a strong word, but it fits.  They are nasty little creepy crawling things that sneak up on you when you least expect.  OK, I’m exaggerating just a little but they can do a lot of harm if you’re not checking for them. 

We are fortunate in North Dakota that we experience a smaller variety of wood ticks.  The American Dog Tick is the most common tick in North Dakota.  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.

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 should provide several hours of protection. Or wear clothing treated with permethrin.
  • 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 your 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.

NDSU Morton County Extension, April 9, 2021

Source: Karla Meikle, 701-667-3340, karla.meikle@ndsu.edu


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