If you're upset with me for picking such a creepy topic for my page today blame WSUS Afternoon Host Steve Allan. I went home on Monday and mowed my entire lawn because the weather was perfect and my lawn looked terrible. The next day I mentioned that I pulled 3 ticks off me that evening. Squeamish Steve Allan suggested that ticks would be a perfect topic for me to write about. So here goes.
Ticks are not insects. They are arachnids. Which means they are closely related to spiders. Arachnids have 4 pairs of legs and no antennae. Ticks don't fly or jump. They do something called "questing." They wait on a leaf or blade of grass. When a host brushes against where they are and latch on. From there they crawl around until they find a cozy spot with a blood vessel.
There are thousands of different ticks around the world. Only a few here in the U.S. can carry diseases that are dangerous to pets and people. Deer ticks can spread Lyme Disease. Rocky Mountain wood ticks, American dog ticks and brown ticks can spread Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
If a tick bites you it will try to stay on you for a few days. You might not notice if one is one you because their saliva numbs your skin. Female ticks can swell up to double their normal size. I saw this first hand about 10 years ago when my son James spotted an engorged tick on our dog Rusty. We didn't notice right away because he was a Lab with long hair.
The good news about ticks is they don't transmit disease and sickness right away. The Centers for Disease Control says if you can remove a tick within 24 hours your chance of getting Lyme Disease is pretty low. I learned this first hand as a young dad many years ago after I rushed my son Matt to Hamburg Pediatric Center after removing a tick from his neck. Matt was about 6 at the time. I'll always remember Dr. Randazzo's kind smile and calm tone as he told me Matt would be fine because the tick was only on his neck for a short time.