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Timely tick tips

Black flies and mosquitoes are well-known warm-weather bloodsuckers, but there's another tiny terror you need to know about: Ticks.

While mosquitoes and black flies dine and dash… ticks are uninvited guests that stick around for days.

Let's learn what makes them... tick, shall we?

How do ticks find their hosts?

hiking coupleTicks can't fly or jump. Instead, they live in wooded areas and brushy fields, waiting for a host to come by on a walk or hike. Ticks hold on to low-growing plants, grasses and shrubs by their lower legs, while holding their upper legs outstretched as they wait for the opportune moment. 

When you brush against a spot where a tick is waiting, it grabs on to your clothing (or an animal's fur) and quickly climbs aboard.

The tick then wanders around to find a suitable place to bite the host (how tacky!), preferring warm, moist areas of the body -- often the armpits, groin or hair.

What happens when a tick bites you?

When the tick gets comfortable at a suitable feeding spot, it grasps the skin and punctures it. The curved teeth and spines on its mouthparts help the tick attach itself firmly.

Once in, it starts channeling its saliva into the host... and the host’s blood into itself. Tick saliva has anesthetic properties; often, the animal or person can’t feel the tick and is unaware of its presence.

The tick will slowly suck the host’s blood. After several days of gluttony, the tick dislodges itself, drops off and says, "ta-ta!".

How does a tick transmit infection?

If a host animal has certain bloodborne infections (such as the bacteria that cause Lyme disease), the tick may ingest the pathogen and become infected. If that tick later feeds on a human, that human can become infected.

The longer an infected tick stays attached, the greater the chance of getting a tick-borne disease like Lyme disease.

How can I protect myself from ticks?

  • Walk in the center of trails and avoid contact with brushy areas.
  • Use the RESCUE!® GoClip® when outdoors. It's a long-lasting spatial repellent device that keeps ticks away with the power of all-natural essential oils. The GoClip® easily attaches to your waistband, shorts pocket or shoe/boot and will repel ticks for up to two weeks.
  • Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors, to wash off and more easily locate ticks that might be on you.
  • Examine gear, clothing and pets. Ticks can hitch a ride into your home on them.