What Are Ticks?
While this may not be a surprise to most who have observed these little 8-legged critters, ticks are in the same category as spiders: arachnids. Just like spiders they do not fly or jump, but instead lay in wait for a passerby that they can ultimately latch onto. Then they locate themselves on a patch of skin where it is typically thin (such as the inner ear or the scalp). While ticks have been a notorious contributor to the spread of Lyme Disease, a little known fact is that ticks also contribute to the spread of the West Nile Virus as well.
Where Are You Most Likely to Encounter Ticks?
Ticks are often found in wooded areas, brushy fields, and lawns across the nation. There are two contributing factors that play a role into where you will encounter these little blood suckers:
- High traffic areas where mammals of any sort regularly venture.
- An environment where a tick can wait until it can latch onto a passing mammal.
Places where you encounter wild life are often areas infested with ticks. This is because the chief way ticks travel is to go wherever its host takes them. A good rule of thumb to get an idea of the density of ticks in an area is to estimate how much wild life is passing through.
How Do I Know When I’ve Been Bitten By a Tick?
The interesting thing about a tick bite is that when they find their feeding spot, they will grasp the skin and insert two tubes. One tube acts to withdraw your blood while the other tube secretes an anesthetic meant to numb the area so it can subsequently embed itself deeper.
Often times you won’t know you’ve been bitten until you spot them by chance or happen to feel a little bump as your brush over your skin. When an adult tick begins to feed its body will become filled with blood which will increase its visibility and also make for a larger bump for detecting them by touch.
Why Should I Be Concerned About Being Bitten By a Tick?
Ticks feed on the blood of any mammal they can latch onto and feed on what is commonly referred to as a 'blood meal.' In the early stages of ticks' lives, they feed on small animals such as mice, chipmunks and squirrels. From these small rodents, the ticks pick up Lyme Disease. If you become one of the infected tick’s next meals, you are at risk of contracting Lyme Disease.
While the one tube of the tick that sucks blood is relatively harmless, it’s the tube that injects the saliva with anesthetic that transmits the bacteria that the tick may be carrying. Another unfortunate fact is that a tick can also be born with a disease if the mother tick was a carrier.
How Can I Avoid Being Bitten By a Tick?
Avoiding ticks altogether is a difficult pursuit because they can be transported anywhere that their host goes. They’re extremely durable creatures that can sustain up to a year without food and endure a variety of conditions (although their activity most often correlates with higher temperatures).
When you are in areas more likely to have ticks, check for them immediately when you come in from the outdoors. If you do get ticks, the best thing that you can do is remove them promptly by using tweezers and grabbing them as close to the skin as possible.
Fortunately, The Bug Patch offers a solution that uniformly makes you a less desirable blood meal for these parasites by releasing a steady supply of natural Vitamin B1 (also known as Thiamin).