Tick season is officially here

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

There is nothing more creepy crawly then finding a tick on yourself or pets after being outdoors. There are several species found in Indiana; there are 4 species that are commonly found in Indiana.

American Dog Tick

This species of tick is very common. I found one on my dog last week. The American Dog Tick is found in woody areas and in uncut grassy areas.

The American Dog Tick is most numerous in spring and early summer. This tick can be a disease vector for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF). Symptoms start 3-10 days from the time of the tick bite. Symptoms can be fever, chills, headache, and muscle aches. A rash usually appears at the same time as the fever.

Consult your doctor for treatment as the earlier the disease is diagnosed and treatment started, the better the results.

Lone Star Tick

This tick is commonly found in moist wooded areas with a large deer population. The Lone Star Tick can feed off a wide variety of hosts including most mammals and ground feeding birds.

These ticks are active from early spring throughout midsummer. In late summer to early fall they are sometimes called Seed Ticks because the larvae are feeding.

These ticks are suspected of transmitting tularemia RMSF and Lyme disease, but are not considered to be important vectors.

Deer Tick

The Deer Tick is the tick that most people know about. This tick is the main vector for Lyme disease. These ticks are extremely small and most people don't know they have been a host.

There are several established populations in Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota. Lyme disease is hard to diagnose because the symptoms can appear in a few days to a few years. Early symptoms are usually mild flu-like symptoms including chills, fever and fatigue.

The most unique symptom is a red expanding rash that can appear anywhere on the body. Some inconspicuous places are in the armpit, groin area and back of the knee.

After time, more severe symptoms may appear such as headaches, arthritis and nervous symptom and cardiac abnormalities. Of course, the earlier the treatment is started the better the results. Consult your doctor for recommended treatment.

Brown Dog Tick

This tick is unique in the fact that it only feeds on dogs. They are most often found in and around pet areas. They have a strong tendency to climb and are often found behind cove moldings, in window frames, and in furniture.

To protect yourself from ticks it is a good idea to avoid tick infested areas and wear protective clothing. Wear light colored clothing (to aid in finding the ticks on your clothes), long pants and long-sleeved shirts, Tuck your shirts in and pull your socks over your pant cuffs.

Also apply an insect repellent that is effective against ticks to socks, shoes and pants. Showering after coming inside from the outdoors can help remove ticks that have not yet become attached. Inspect pets after they have been outdoors for ticks.

Outdoor control of ticks is aimed at the Dog Tick, the Lone Star Tick and the American Dog Tick. Cutting down overgrown vegetation can help control the ticks. Also eliminate any unnecessary vegetation. And as always, before using any insecticide read the label.

Indoor control is primarily for the Brown Dog Tick. Controlling the Brown Dog Tick can be difficult because of this tick's affinity for crevices and for climbing. This tick's eggs can hatch over a 5-month period so more than one treatment may be wanted.

Always read the directions and avoid spraying the animal quarters directly. Use caution not to contaminate food or water. Again, read the label to establish whether the insecticide may to be used in close proximity to animals and is indicated for use indoors.

The information for this article came form Purdue publication E-71 available at Putnam County Extension Office and online at http://www.ces.purdue.edu/extmedia/ent.htm.

Upcoming Events:

June 3 -- Putnam County Fair Board Meeting 7:30 p.m. at Fairgrounds

June 4 -- Putnam County Master Gardener Meeting, 7 p.m. at DePauw

June 12-14 -- Home and Family Conference at Purdue University

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