Living up here in the mountains the bug that is the most common is the tick. Ticks are small arachnids which are basically external parasites. They live by hematophagy which is the process of living on the blood of humans, mammals, birds and occasionally reptiles and amphibians. Ticks can carry a multitude of diseases such as Lyme disease, Colorado Tick Fever and tick borne meningitis are just some of the more common tick borne illnesses.
Ticks are not borne with these diseases they acquire them through their feedings. How a tick feeds is by extracting blood from there host by cutting a hole in the epidermis, into which they insert their hypostome which is a center rod shaped structure this then sucks the blood from the host. Ticks will live on a host for as long as they can, ticks will chose a host through a process called questing, questing ticks crawl up the stems of grass and sit on the edge so when a host walks by the tick can latch on.
It is very important to make sure when you are in tick infested areas such as places in woods and high grass that you wear long pants and long socks and try to avoid lying down in tall grass. When you are taking your pets along it is very important to make sure they are protected. If you are not interested in putting a chemical on your dog, good natural ingredients that keep away ticks are Neem Oil, two tablespoons of vegetable oil, or 10 drops of essential oil of peppermint. All these ingredients give off a certain smell to which the tick will not respond well to and want to get off whatever it has just jumped on.
Get It Off Me!
Removal of ticks on humans and pets if the tick has already come on to a host and started to feed can be very tricky. There are a ton of online and crazy ways people say you can remove a tick. For example, pouring rubbing alcohol on to the tick this will only burn you and not affect the tick. Another popular way of trying to remove a tick is using a burnt out match head. Doctors will tell you that this is not a very effective way of removing a tick due to the fact that you could run the risk of just burning off the body of the tick and losing the head into the wound, then you would have to immediately go to the doctor and have it removed. The best way to remove a tick is by using a pair of tweezers and lightly squeezing the tick and removing it from the part of the body that it is latched on to. Please note that squeezing the tick to hard can result in the loss of the head. Be sure to also go to the doctor when you get bit to try and avoid any further disease and or infection.
Ticks can be very harmful to a pet or a person so it is very important when you are going on your next family outing to be prepared. Make sure that your animal has some sort of all nature protectant on them to ward of all insects including ticks, mites and fleas. With your family be sure to dress appropriately and where long pants and socks in the hopes of avoiding having your blood sucked by natures little vampires.