Spring is Here and that means Ticks

County Agent Update


April 25, 2018 | View PDF

Now that the weather forecast looks to be nice the next week or so, I am hopeful that spring is here to stay! Those that spend any time outdoors will have to start looking at themselves, and their animals, for ticks. There are three species of ticks that can be found: American dog tick, Rocky Mountain wood tick and winter tick, American dog tick is the most common. With the worry of Lymes disease being carried in ticks, here in North Dakota we are lucky that the black-legged tick, also known as deer tick, is not naturally occurring. The black-legged Rocky Mountain tick may be transferred over from neighboring states.

Ticks will bite on to your skin and become engorged with a blood meal. Once the tick is done feeding, it will drop off its host to mate, lay eggs or continue development. There are 4 distinct developmental stages of ticks: stage 1- inactive stage, egg. Followed by three active blood-feeding stages- larva, then nymph and then finally adult. Adults, both male and female, require several days of feeding before reproducing and then death. There is generally one generation per year for American dog tick and winter tick, Rocky Mountain tick has 2-3 life cycles per year.

The best way to prevent a tick infestation around your home is by keeping the lawns mowed, less than three inches, and removing high plant matter. As you move further away from trees the tick numbers generally decrease. Ticks require high moisture levels, and generally don’t do well on spots with direct sunlight. Pesticides can be used to kill ticks as a last resort if a large number of ticks are present. The critical point of application is to target the early life stages, which is within the next few weeks. Some pesticides that may be effective are the following: Carbaryl (Sevin) which is a common garden insecticide, Cyfluthrin (Tempo) tick control on turf, Deltamethrin (Suspend, DeltaGard G) tick control in residential areas, S-Fenvalerate (Zema Lawn Spray) tick control on turf, and Permethrin (PermaKill 4Week Tick Killer) used against ticks on the lawn.

Liquid formulations of pesticides will kill all adult stages throughout the summer, granular formulations are more effective on nymphs that are overwintering in the fall. When using pesticides of any sort, remember to practice personal protective measures. Wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, and closed toe shoes. You may want to use an insect repellent containing DEET on any exposed skin to repel ticks and other insects. If you do find a tick on you, to properly remove them, use a fine forceps and grab the head as close to your skin as possible. Apply steady upward force until tick is free, if part of the mouth is still in the wound you may treat that as a sliver. (Information from Dr. Janet Knodel and Jackie Buckley)


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