The Richmond Register

Lifestyles & Community

April 11, 2012

Ticks are already out and about

RICHMOND — We already have heard several reports of ticks on humans and pets.

This year’s mild winter has increased survival prospects of overwintering American dog ticks and lone-star ticks across Kentucky.

There has also been an increase in the number of the blacklegged tick, also called the deer tick, in the eastern US this year.

The blacklegged tick has a reddish brown body, dark head with long mouthparts, and dark legs. These ticks are smaller than those usually seen in Kentucky and are only one tenth or one sixteenth of an inch long.

The apparent increase in numbers of the blacklegged tick in some areas may be due to factors such as greater survival, more hosts for the immature stages, or greater numbers and movement of white-tailed deer.

Deer are the main host and travel agent for adult ticks. This type of tick is the main vector for Lyme Disease. While this disease is established in the Northeast and north-central states, few cases have been reported in the South. Records show very little chance of acquiring the disease here in Kentucky.

 

Protecting yourself from ticks:

• Avoid wooded, bushy or grassy areas whenever possible.

• Wear light-colored clothing with long sleeves and long pants. Ticks are easier to see against a light background.

• Check yourself carefully after you've been outdoors. Ticks wander on the body for some time before settling to feed. Those attached to visible areas are easy to see but they also will settle in armpit, groin and scalp, areas that are more difficult to examine thoroughly.

• Remove ticks promptly:  If you find a tick, use narrow-tipped tweezers to grasp it as close to your skin as possible and pull upward slowly and steadily. Then, wash your skin and hands with soap and warm water. Never crush or squeeze an attached tick.

 Educational programs of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex,

religion, disability or national origin.

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