1- Protect yourself by avoiding tick habitats when possible.
(Tall grasses or shrubs, especially next to traveled paths and wooded areas interspersed with undergrowth are preferred habitats).
-wear clothing tucked in
-spray a repellent on your clothes, especially shoes (NOT your pet) containing permethrin or deet.
2- Once home, put clothes in a dryer on the highest temperature for about 15-20 minutes, this will kill most ticks and prevent them from crawling around in your laundry room. Ticks for the most part love humidity not dryness.
3- Checking for ticks daily will help you find them quickly. If you find a tick, remove it immediately.
- Use fine tipped tweezers by pulling firmly in an upwards motion, don’t twist.
4- Do NOT throw away or destroy the tick until you identify it.
-Carry tweezers and Ziplock-style bags with you for this purpose.
5- Become acquainted with the main ways to ID a tick:
- Mouth Parts: long or short
- Scutum: pretty or plain and general color of tick
- Festoons: smooth or ridged along back side of shell
- Your Location and Time of year
6- It generally takes at least 24 hours for a tick to begin transmitting disease.
7- Not all ticks are carrying disease pathogens that can be transmitted to you or your pet.
8- Many ticks are not born carrying disease, they pick it up from prior bloodmeal hosts. Certain ticks carry certain pathogens, hence the importance of an ID.
9- Storing the tick in a Ziplock-style bag is fine for shipping via UPS or FedEx to determine if carrying a disease (see TickReport at end of this article).
The five ticks found in Ohio that currently are a human and pet hazard:
1. The Blacklegged Tick or Deer Tick and
2. American Dog Tick or Wood Tick
3. The Brown Dog Tick is best known for infesting houses, apartments etc. because it likes a dry environment and its life cycle is quick, about 3 months. If this one is hitchhiking on your clothes, throwing it in the dryer may not kill it.
4. The Lone Star Tick, best known for spreading Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
5. The Gulf Coast Tick. The newcomer on the block with several positive ID’s in Columbus and parts of northern Ohio in 2018.
Special thanks to Tick Encounter and Tick Report for great information and pictures, and also the CDC.
TickEncounter.org will identify pictures of ticks (currently for free!)
TickReport.com use to check tick for disease ($50 minimum fee)