Saturday, June 8, 2013

Nasty little BUGgers: Ticks!

Well it is June 8th and if you have started running trails this Spring, you have undoubtedly found one of these creepy crawlers firmly attached in your skin. (begin weird itchy feeling and heebie jeebies..... now). Ugghhhh! I don't ever remember having to deal with ticks when I was a kid...but for SOME reason, they are everywhere now (out-of-control dear population?). On my pets, on my KID! and sometimes yes..even on me. I love to run in the woods and hike and explore, and I can deal with most everything (except Wild Parsnip..coming soon) Mother Nature throws at me...except TICKS.

Since I started trail running in the great outdoors up in the Northern half of the great state of Wisconsin, I have become familiar with the most encountered tick species around the area. The list below are ticks common to the Midwest and other areas of the continental United States. When it comes to removal/prevention: the message is the same. First let's get a little lesson on how to identify your friendly blood-sucking creepy crawling ticks:
American Dog Tick

Whether they are on your pets or on you, ticks have one common trait. Spider-like legs...eight of
them to be exact (itching my head as I type). They can vary in color and in size, but pretty much they have all have the same agenda.

American Dog Tick 
Geographic Location: East of the Rocky Mountains in the Continental U.S.

Blacklegged Tick
Geographic Location: Upper Midwest & Northeastern United States
Brown Dog Tick
Geographic Location: Nationwide in the Continental U.S.

Lone Star Tick
Geographic Location: Coastal areas along the Atlantic & Gulf in the United States

Rocky Mountain Wood Tick
Geographic Location: Southeastern & Eastern Continental U.S.

Western Blacklegged Tick
Geographic Location: Primarily Rocky Mountain States
As I said, ticks are all very similar in appearance, but can vary in size. If you find a tick, the best thing to do is simply remove it with a sterilized pair of tweezers. The CDC recommends cleaning with iodine, rubbing alcohol or soap & water. Keep an eye on the bite which will mostly likely be red and a little swollen, but it will go away in a few days. If the bite changes in size and color or you experience fever/chills, see a medical professional immediately for treatment. 

Of course, you can cover up from your ears to your toes when you are out on the trails, but we are runners! So that option isn't really available, however, bug repellent might help repel ticks and other natural methods such as garlic or tee tree oil could help.

If you are truly a naturalist, remember that guinea fowl, chickens and other birds LOVE to feed on ticks. So keep this in mind if you are considering some backyard farming options. could be fun! And it could help keep the ticks on your property in check.

Post your comments for dealing with ticks. We would love to hear them!

Race Director
Cheyenne Creek Trail Running