Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Tick Talk

Jesse Fulbright, MSU Liberty County Extension

With warm weather all sorts of critters come out to play, some more desirable than others.  I’m going to talk about a less desirable one today, or in other words, we’re going to have a little tick talk today, pardon the pun. 
There are simple steps that each of us can take to protect ourselves from tick bites.  Ticks can be encountered in a variety of wooded and grassy environments, ranging from river bottoms to mountains in Montana, from early spring through late summer. 

Wearing light colored clothing allows you to see ticks that are crawling on you.  Pant legs can be tucked into your socks so that ticks can’t crawl inside your pants.  If you wanted to go one step further you could also duct tape around the sock-pant interface to further prevent ticks from crawling inside your pant legs.
                                               Rocky Mountain Wood Tick
Use a repellent with DEET.  Using a repellent with more than 20% DEET can be applied to skin and clothing to prevent ticks from crawling on you.  Repellents last only a few hours before reapplication is necessary.  As always, make sure to read the label instructions before applying anything.
After being outdoors, check your body for ticks, especially in your hair.  Ticks may also attach later by being carried into the house on clothing and pets, so both of those should also be examined carefully as well.

If you do find a tick on you be careful how you remove it.  Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible using tweezers.  Pull upward with steady pressure, without twisting or jerking the tick, which could break off mouthparts which would remain in the skin.

For more information, please contact your local county Extension office for a copy of the publication, “Ticks of Veterinary and Public Health Importance in Montana.”  I hope that you can enjoy a tick free summer!

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