There are many diseases you can catch from animals, but some of the worst ones are transmitted by ticks. Ticks are alive and kicking during warm seasons, in the woods, and pretty much anywhere where there’s grass and animals. They’re not hard to get rid of. However, aside from the fact that they’re disease-ridden, ticks attach themselves to you. which is pretty gross. Yes, they dig their head into your skin, latch on to you, suck your blood and won’t let go until they’re full, which can be weeks! We’ve got some facts about ticks that will help you understand them, avoid them, and treat them. Take copious notes!
10. Ticks are Arachnids
What does this mean? It means that they’re not insects and that they’re closely related to scorpions and spiders. So, if you’re scared of spiders, this could be a very good reason to be afraid of ticks too. Also, did you know that the oldest tick was found in amber and it’s from the Cretaceous? This means that they were here long before we were!
9. Best Removed with Tweezers
Ticks should only be removed with tweezers. Just think of it: there is something biting into your skin; do you really want to squeeze, poke, or burn the tick’s germ-filled balloon body so that it releases all of its saliva into your blood stream? If the answer is no, then use a pair of tweezers. Grab as close to the skin as possible and pull up the tick as you would a splinter.
8. Don’t Use Anything Else but Tweezers to Try to Remove Them
Again, do not use anything else but tweezers to remove ticks. All of those old tricks that have been going around are very bad ways of removing ticks and some are quite dangerous even. Vaseline is bad, lighting a match next to the tick won’t make it budge or spraying them with alcohol and perfume will irritate them even more and make them release their bacteria filled saliva into your body.
7. Ticks are Disease-Ridden Creatures
The most dangerous tick-borne diseases are: Lyme disease (which can cause fever, cranial nerve palsy, carditis, arthritis and is treated with antibiotics), relapsing fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Helvetica Spotted fever, tularemia, tick-borne encephalitis, Colorado tick fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, babesiosis and tick paralysis. Go on, Google them if you dare!
6. Tick-Borne Disease Transmission Rates Can be Reduced
One of the most important facts about ticks is that you can reduce disease transmission rates if you remove the ticks within 24 to 36 hours from their attachment. It takes that much time for the viruses or bacteria to travel from the tick’s body to the mouth and enter your body through its saliva. So if you’ve been exposed to ticks, then do a thorough body search!
5. They Have Three Life Stages
There are small ticks and then there are large ticks. They have three stages of life and they can attach to you in any stage. The larvae are very small but fully formed. The nymphs are the size of poppy seeds and the adults are large (the size of apple seeds). Once they start feeding on blood, they become engorged, which isn’t a pretty sight.
4. Only Some Ticks Transmit Lyme Disease
You need to know this so you can start learning how to identify the ticks that transmit diseases. Only deer ticks can transmit Lyme disease, so most ticks you find on dogs are pretty safe for humans. You can see deer ticks (or blacklegged ticks) in the above picture. If you are bitten by ticks that look like that, you should go to the doctor’s office.
3. They Need a Moist and Warm Environment to Thrive
There are ticks pretty much everywhere on Earth, but they do thrive in humid and warm climates. They require moisture to go through their metamorphosis and low temperatures will inhibit their development from egg to larva. For an environment to support these arachnids, it also needs to have a dense population of host species, such as deer.
2. Ticks Don’t Fly
Ticks don’t fly, they don’t jump, or drop themselves from trees. They can only crawl, and thank the Heavens for that! Ticks are programmed to crawl up on the body of animals, to search for the head, or ears of mammals. So if you think you may have one on you, you can start searching there on your body.
1. They’re Not Killed by Frost
As much as we would have liked for them to be killed by cold weather, ticks are pretty resilient in cold weather and even in frost. Adult ticks will die if exposed to the cold and if they run out of food. However, nymphs or larvae can remain in those stages until the weather improves and they can start develop. They don’t hibernate, but they do hide from the cold.
Did you find these facts about ticks helpful? Have you ever been bitten? Share you tick story with us by leaving us a line in the comment section below.