Thursday, March 29, 2012

Perils of Warm Weather

Our mild winter has led to a warmer than normal spring.  Or is Tick_male_size_comparison_(aka)this the new normal?  I hope not!  Last week I had my first tick.  I usually don’t see ticks until summer. 

Most Ohio ticks are light brown and vary in size from as small as a pen tip to the actual size in this picture (not the size comparison to the match tip).  I felt that first tick land on the back of my leg as I was standing in an area of tall grass.  As soon as I felt it and saw that it was a tick, I pulled it off and flung it into the grass away from me.  I hate ticks!

Let me explain.  One year, I was hiking in a group at Clear Creek Metro Park.  By the end of that hike my socks and legs were covered in ticks (alright, there were maybe a dozen) and the others had none.  My husband patiently picked them off me and executed them.  He hates ticks more than I do.

In the last couple of years, I have had ticks dig into the area behind my ear and my scalp, finding them a day or days after the hike.  In each case, my husband (for the ear)  and a neighbor (for the scalp) used our flat blade tweezers and with gentle pulling, extracted the ticks.  I then drowned them in rubbing alcohol or flushed them down the toilet. 

It’s better to avoid ticks than to have to remove them, but if you hike in woods or grassland that’s almost impossible. I have even been victim to a tick in my suburban front yardTo prevent ticks, I use a citronella-eucalyptus based tick repellant which seems to work; its odor alone should keep them away.  Products containing DEET appear to be more effective and longer lasting (and not as smelly).  Take your pick. 

What else might this warm spring have wrought?  All sorts of insects, reptiles and amphibians.  If you don’t like those, enjoy the early flowers.  As I write this some peach, pear, and apple trees are blooming, as well as maple.  Now if I could just find the time for some early spring hikes. . . well, maybe next week.




Tick image attribution: By André Karwath aka Aka (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

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