Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tick Warning

Recent hot, wet weather has increased the danger of ticks in our area. As nature writer Carl Zimmer points out in an article in Outside Magazine, "It's hard to appreciate just how many ticks are out there. . . . The sheer volume of black-legged ticks in the eastern United States is staggering." We've posted previously how important good landscape management practices like annual mulching are to control ticks and other pests. Princeton Landing residents should pay special attention to the risks of tick bites to ourselves, our children and our pets.

Ticks are not insects. They are arachnids, closely related to spiders and mites. The three species of medical importance in New Jersey are the Black-legged or "deer" Tick (Ixodes scapularis), the American Dog Tick (Dermacentor variabilis) and the Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum). These ticks survive by eating blood from a variety of hosts, including mammals, birds, reptiles and humans. All three species must feed upon three different hosts in order to complete their life cycle. And each bite has the potential of infecting their hosts with dangerous diseases, including Lyme disease, human babesiosis and human anaplasmosis, which can be as unpleasant as they sound.

Be alert to the danger of ticks. The effect of a tick bite can be life-altering and long-lasting. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) offers advice on how to avoid and remove ticks on people and pets here.
Photo: National Park Service