OHIO — Ticks are creepy little pests that can cause big problems for us and our pets if they go unnoticed. Each year folks venture out into their yards and wooded lands to enjoy nature. But if they are not careful they could be picking up hitch hikers…aka TICKS. There are now several different ticks that we need to be aware of. Ohio has gone from one medically important tick twenty years ago to five now. Here are some common tick myths from Tim McDermott DVM and Ohio State Extension Franklin County.
Myth #1 – “Ticks are only present in the woods.” This is a very common myth that I hear frequently. While it is true that some species of ticks such as Blacklegged tick or Lone Star tick prefer a wooded habitat, some tick species such as the American Dog tick and Gulf Coast tick can tolerate a more open habitat such as a pasture, meadow, or backyard lawn. I recently read an article where they had discovered that there were ticks in the grasses that are right up next to the beach. Make sure you realize you can encounter a tick in about any habitat.
Myth #2 – “Ticks need to be attached for a whole day to transmit disease.” This is a recommendation based on CDC research regarding Lyme disease from Blacklegged (Deer) ticks. We are now seeing some new research regarding different transmission times depending on what the pathogen is, (bacteria, virus) what life stage the tick is, (larval, nymphal, adult) as well as what disease we are concerned about. For example, it is suspected that Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever has a different transmission after attachment timeframe that Lyme disease would have.
Myth #3 – “Ticks are only active in the summer.” Many ticks have multi-year life cycles to complete their growth. While the warmer weather of late spring through summer has an increased amount of tick activity, ticks can be active all 12 months of the year. How many times have we seen a period of warm weather in the winter or fall? Ohio weather is anything but predictable! Make sure you realize that you could potentially encounter a tick at any time of the year.
To keep yourself, your family and your animals tick safe this year make sure to develop a personal and family protection plan that includes protective clothing, tick checks, pet protection, proper removal methods as well as knowledge of where, when, and how you can encounter ticks and tick-vectored disease.
Here is a link and QR code to several tick resources: https://u.osu.edu/bite/ticks/