This is what a tick looks like. They are approximately 1/4" long. This tick arrived home as a hitchhiker after an outing walking through the sagebrush in the hills near Big Piney over Memorial Day weekend, late May 2005. Ticks are very small and can be easily missed. This tick is magnified many times larger than actual size for visualization purposes.
One of the more unpleasant aspects of recreating outdoors is finding a tick on your person after getting home. Ticks pass diseases on to other animal species, and there are many diseases that ticks can carry and pass on to humans. Anyone who has had tick fever, or has known someone who has had it, knows how this tiny creature can make your life miserable and the importance of checking for ticks after outings. Tick fever can bring a healthy, grown man to their knees feeling deathly ill for two weeks. Under the most severe cases, kidney failure and death can occur. Ticks don't attach right away, and once they do and start dining, they are more easily found because they get so much larger. These little bugs are not to be taken at all lightly, or the possibility of getting tick fever dismissed as remote. It is very important to do full body examination before jumping in the shower at the end of the day after an outing here in western Wyoming.
Ticks are not insects. They are obligatory parasites that require blood meals in order to develop. It is important to remove a tick as soon as possible after detection to minimize the transmission of diseases.
Ticks are small and often not felt crawling on your body. They can easily go undetected for long periods of time, long enough to embed themselves for a meal and cause trouble. It is important for anyone recreating outdoors to check themselves, children and pets carefully for ticks when they get home. Ticks are small and like to hide, so inspection of hair and every nook and crany on the body is important. Clothing worn during the outing should be immediately put in the wash.
known to be disease carriers for:
Ticks like to crawl up on low vegetation and wait for people or animals to brush up against them. In Wyoming, they are common in the open sagebrush flats and can be easily picked up by walking through the brush. People walking through the brush out antler hunting in the spring will likely come home with an extra tick passenger. Ticks are also common in the forest. Hikers and fishermen should check for ticks after any outing.
Ticks become aroused by the odor and breathing of any nearby host and transfer to humans or animals by stretching their legs toward the host. Ticks do not fly or jump but crawl slowly. Ticks seldom attach to hosts for several hours after contact. Tick season lasts from the onset of warmer weather in the spring until about mid-July when warmer weather and low relative humidity cause the ticks to become inactive.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
COLORADO TICK FEVER
Folklore remedies, such as the use of petroleum jelly or hot matches, do little to encourage a tick to detach from skin. In fact, they may make matters worse by irritating the tick and stimulating it to release additional saliva or regurgitate gut contents, increasing the chances of transmitting the pathogen. These methods of tick removal should be avoided. A number of tick removal devices have been marketed, but none are better than a plain set of fine tipped tweezers.
TICK BITE PRECAUTIONS
Kill the tick by stepping on it. Place the dead tick in a sealed container or small plastic bag and deposit in the trash.. Do not flush live ticks down the toilet because they can easily survive in the water.
“The best way to remove a tick is with fine-pointed tweezers. Grab as closely to the skin as possible and pull straight back, using steady but gentle force. ”
National Forest/Pinedale Ranger District
Bureau of Land Management
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