It has been a particularly active year for ticks in our area, and so it’s time for our yearly post about the little brown menaces!
The Fort Huachuca Scout posted in July that “Tick season in Arizona is almost year-round due to the warm climate. Due to a mild winter and warmer–then-usual spring, this years’ tick population will likely be higher than usual.” They also note that Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) is generally carried by the local Brown dog tick, the population of which has exploded due to the large numbers of free roaming dogs in AZ.
The AZ Department of Health Services also posted on tick disease and control in AZ: http://www.azdhs.gov/phs/oids/vector/rmsf/ticks.htm
Our friends at Radiolab recently posted a fascinating piece called “The Questing Tick” that explains how ticks find and attach themselves to their prey. Using their sense of smell to find areas where carbon dioxide is concentrated, they set up camp in these spots, raise two of their legs in the air, and wait for something (a dog or human) to brush by, then wham! they hitch a ride. So, dropping from trees is a myth! The Radiolab article focuses on Lyme Disease, which is also a real threat here in Arizona.
We’ve posted here on the Dawg Blawg about ticks and tick control. Here’s a link to last years’ article on ticks and mosquitoes and another on how you can control the pest population on your dogs and in your home using natural and completely non-toxic applications of Diatomaceous Earth.
Best thing you can do if you have dogs that spend time outside, and after walks and hikes, is to give them a good once-over. Check by running your hands flat all over their body and feeling for bumps. Look inside their ears, in all the little folds. Turn them over and give them some belly rubs, while at the same time checking all four of their “arm” pits. Look carefully around their eyes. Finally, use your fingers to feel between all of the pads on their feet. If you find a tick, use a fine tweezers to pull it straight off of the body without “popping” it, then flush it away.
All right – that’s enough about bugs – I know you’re all running your hands through your hair now — ewww.