Ticks above normal this year


Q. What kind of tick is this?

Sharon from Canfield

A. Sharon brought in a good specimen that was identified by our clinic as a female dog tick.

From questions in our clinic, the tick population seems to be in normal to slightly more than normal numbers this year in the Mahoning Valley. Ticks are prevalent in areas of tall grass and weeds. So you should check for ticks each time you and your family venture out on hikes, walks, or work outside in these areas.

Before venturing out, prepare. Wear light-colored clothing so you can see ticks crawling around on you. Tuck your shirt into your pants and tuck your pants into your socks. Take a recommended repellent to apply to clothing and/or skin just before you set out on your walk or hike.

After you return, there are a few tips to help avoid ticks that may have gotten on you or your family members. Place your clothing in the dryer on high for at least 10 minutes. This heat will dry up the ticks. If clothing was wet, dry it – then start counting the extra 10 minutes. Always take a shower after being in areas where ticks like to hang out.

Check your head and others for ticks. As a child, my mom would check my head using her fingertips, going front to back in a very slow motion to notice anything attached. A fine-toothed comb may get anything that is not attached. Check all areas of the body. Don’t just assume your repellent worked, do a check for everyone in the group after you have been out.

Do not believe old stories about tick removal or anything that sounds skeptical about tick removal. Always use the grasp, pull, disinfect and save method, as recommended by our entomologists. Ticks should be removed as soon as you see them, as the longer they are attached the more probable disease can be transmitted. Tweezers should be used to grasp the tick, “as close to your skin as possible near the tick’s mouthparts.” Then, use “steady pressure” to pull it straight out. The site should be disinfected, then washed. Place the tick in rubbing alcohol, then seal the container.

We can identify ticks at our clinic. Just drop off the sample any time between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For medical issues or concerns, contact your physician. We can identify the tick so you can provide this information to your physician, but we cannot recommend treatments or issues relating to tick-borne illness.

For pictures of the different types of ticks in Ohio, details on avoiding them, repellents and the proper way to remove them, see our OSU Extension factsheet at http://go.osu.edu/tick.

Eric Barrett is OSU Extension educator for agriculture and natural resources in Mahoning County. Call the office plant and pest clinic at 330-533-5538 to submit your questions. Regular clinic hours are 9 a.m. to noon Mondays and Thursdays.

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