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Ticks, Black Flies, Mosquitoes
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Ticks are an epidemic this year. 
Are You Prepared?


 

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Nantucket Spider

Natural Deet-Free Bug Repellents
Made with a unique blend of essential oils that safely repels mosquitoes, all biting flies and ticks.  Click on logo for details

About Ticks

If you live on the East Coast, you already know that you share your environment with ticks. And truthfully, the best defense against ticks is information. The more you know about ticks, the more you are able to avoid being bitten. So, if you are willing to put aside the “ick-factor” for a bit, and get into the weeds of it all, here is the straight skippy on ticks.

First, not all ticks are equal. In the eastern United States, “blacklegged ticks,” commonly known as “deer ticks” are the species known to spread Lyme. (The scientific name for deer ticks is “Ixodes scapularis,” for those who want extra credit.) They also spread, as babasiosis, and anaplasmosis. If you are looking at one of the creatures in the picture below, you are looking at a deer tick, somewhere in its life cycle:

Deer Tick Illustration

 

Deer ticks have a 2-3 year life cycle, during which they feed only three times. In year one, the eggs hatch into larvae, which feed once for about 4 days, usually on a single small animal like a mouse or a bird. After feeding, the larva drop off the host before molting into nymphs. The larvae are not born infected with lyme – larvae or nymphs become infected when they feed on infected hosts. They then pass diseases later in their lives when they feed on to subsequent hosts.

At 1/16 to 1/32 of an inch (about the size of a pin head!) and often nearly transparent, nymphs are much harder to see than adults. It is thought that most people who are infected by tick borne diseases have been bitten by nymphs rather than by adults.

At the end of the first summer, the nymph lies dormant, emerging again the following spring. From then to July, the nymph feeds on a second host before molting into an adult. During this feed, the nymph can transmit a disease.

In the fall or spring, female adults will attach to a large mammal. Deer do nicely, but so will a raccoon, a skunk, a dog, a cat, or a person. These hungry adults are easier to see because they are darker and a bit bigger, about the size of a sesame seed. Once attached, females feed again, mate, lay eggs and then die. Adult males attach to a large host but don‛t feed. So unlike the adult females, the adult males don‛t transmit disease.

When walking in the woods, it’s a relief to know that ticks can’t jump and they can’t fly. If you find a tick on your head, chances are it didn’t come from a tree or a branch above you. Rather, it started much lower down, and crawled up. Larvae and nymphs are generally ground dwelling. Adults climb onto shrubs waiting for larger hosts to brush by.

How do they find us? Deer ticks don’t find their hosts by sight; they have no eyes. On the tips of their front legs they have sensors, the Haller’s organs, that allow them to detect, from as far away as a few yards, the heat given off by warm-blooded animals and the molecules of carbon dioxide that we mammals exhale. When the “mammal nearby” message is received, a tick’s two front legs, equipped with claws that act like grappling hooks, thrust into the air while its three pairs of back legs hold on to a blade of grass, a twig, or a leaf. When a host brushes against a tick – voila! — the tick hitches a ride.

Once on the body, ticks will often climb upwards looking for warm spots with good blood flow. That is why they are frequently found in the groin area, under arms behind ears and in hair.

Deer ticks—the ones that carry Lyme disease—are not as aggressive as dog ticks, and they generally stop crawling whenever they find a clothing barrier, which is why you’re likely to find them around your sock line, along your underwear line, and on the backs of your knees where your shorts stop.

Lawns, fairways and playing fields are not a particularly good habitat for ticks. Most ticks on a lawn are found within nine feet of its perimeter. Ticks are also found in the woods, in leaf litter, on shrubs, on groundcovers and in long grasses and prefer damp areas.

Getting bitten by an infected tick will not automatically make you sick. For most tick-borne diseases, the tick needs to be attached for longer than 24 hours to transmit disease, because of the biology of the way ticks feed. Bacterial diseases live in ticks’ stomachs, but in order to be transmitted they need to get to the saliva, a process that takes at least 24 hours. According to the Tick Management Handbook put out by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, “the probability of transmission of Lyme disease spirochetes increases the longer an infected tick is attached (0% at 24 hours, 12% at 48 hours, 79% at 72 hours, and 94% at 96 hours in one recent study). The estimated average time for attachment before detection and removal was 30 hours for nymphs and 10 hours for adult ticks, nymphal ticks were twice as likely as adult ticks to be partially engorged.”

This this is TMI? Think again. With all this information, it gets easier to make smart choices that can deter tick bite.

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Ticks stick to their hosts by firmly attaching their mouths to the host’s skin and they then begin sucking blood. If ticks are not removed from your dog immediately or within a few hours, they can engorge themselves into your dog’s skin. Engorged tick removal can be a little more difficult, compared to the removal of those ticks that have not engorged themselves. Here are a few techniques and tools for a safe and painless dog tick removal.

Technique 1

Step 1: This is the best method to use and works well for engorged ticks. Apply a drop or two of the essential oil Palo Santo directly to the tick. This should kill it within a few minutes. Alternately, you could spray a small amount of alcohol on the tick. This will make it dizzy and it will immediately let go of its hold on your dog.
Step 2: Once the tick has loosened its grip, you need to remove it carefully and gently from the dog’s body. Be sure not to burst the tick, as it may carry disease.
Step 3: Remove all the ticks from your pet’s body, put them into a jar with a couple of drops of Palo Santo or a good amount of alcohol. Dispose of the tick when it is dead.

Technique 2

Step 1: Gently grip your dog’s skin. Get a firm hold on the tick by pinching it and twist it in an anti-clockwise direction while applying a little pressure, if required. This will make the tick dizzy and it will loosen its hold.
Step 2: Maintaining your grip on the tick, pull it out gently and crush it by pressing it between two newspaper sheets, or you can flush it.

Engorged Tick Removal Technique

Step 1: Using a pair of pointed tweezers, grasp the tick at the area where it is engorged in the dog’s skin.
Step 2: Once it has been firmly grasped, pull the tick out steadily without twisting or jerking. Do not use force or pressure that will cause the tick to rupture or separate it from its head. At times, a part of the tick may remain embedded in the dog’s skin. Do not try to extract it, as it may be painful for the dog. The remaining embedded part will be disposed off on its own, eventually.

Tick Removal Tools

A number of canine tick removal tools are available commercially, some more effective than others. If you are gentle and patient, there is little need for these tools. If you are persistent, eventually the tick will give up and release its hold on your dog.

Dog tick removal is an important aspect of your dog’s regular care. It is best to prevent tick infestation and there are many natural methods that are both safe and effective.

For more information on Ticks, read Ticks: Natural Prevention And Care

To learn how to prevent ticks naturally, read Natural Solutions For Tick Season

Tick Pictures & Rash Examples

Tick Pictures and Lyme Patient Rash Pictures
  (from www.whatislyme.com)

 
While in the past it was said that only deer ticks could pass Lyme Disease, it has now been proven through research that many types or ticks, and possibly other bugs can pass Lyme disease and other tick borne infections. See Research Here. Lyme is not the only infection passed by ticks so please visit: Co Infections to learn more.
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Also less then half the people who get infected with Lyme Disease ever develop the “Bull’s Eye” rash. Some develop other atypical rashes and some don’t have any rash at all. As said in the prior paragraph ticks also spread many infections, and those infections can cause different rashes too.
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Ticks
 
 
RASHES
 
 
 
 

Note: It is not necessary to have a rash to have Lyme Disease or other Tick Borne Infections. According to International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ILADS) less then 50% of Lyme patients develop a rash. And for those who do, it may not be the typical bull’s eye rash. See ILADS Lyme Quick Facts Here.

Pictures Sent in by Patients

 Lyme

Photo Sent in by Shari Allen
Photo Sent in by Shari Allen
Photo sent in by Krista Varszegi "My cousin's son."
Photo sent in by Krista Varszegi “My cousin’s son.”
Photo sent in by Krista Varszegi: "My best friend's husband's arm."
Photo sent in by Krista Varszegi: “My best friend’s husband’s arm.”
Photo sent in by Alissa Brodin Desancic.
Photo sent in by Alissa Brodin Desancic.
Picture sent in by Mary Nellesson. The rash appeared a week after the tick bite.
Picture sent in by Mary Nellesson. The rash appeared a week after the tick bite.

 

Bartonella

This Bartonella rash came out 2 1/2 years after starting treatment. Photo Credit Kristin Collins
This Bartonella rash came out 2 1/2 years after starting treatment. Photo Credit Kristin Collins

Atypical Rashes

"I have a spot that's called Lichen Sclerosis on my back .. I got it right when I got sick with lyme." Aisha
“I have a spot that’s called Lichen Sclerosis on my back .. I got it right when I got sick with lyme.” Aisha

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