Spring Time is Tick Time in the Northland

DULUTH, Minn — One of the drawbacks of winter coming to an end and the snow melting is that the deer ticks are waking up.  Ticks are picky when it comes to the weather and up here in the Northland, they prefer the spring and fall months. Ben Clarke works at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Duluth and spends his time studying tick biology and behavior.  He tells us why this year could be bad when it comes to ticks.

“It’s also been kind of a wet spring. And ticks like humidity. They don’t like, they don’t like to be drenched in water, but they cannot tolerate arid, or very dry, or high temperatures. So this is the ideal temperature for them and ideal conditions,” said Dr. Ben Clarke, professor of biomedical science.

Like most creatures, ticks are hungry after sleeping through a long winter and they know the most efficient way to get a meal from an unsuspecting host.

“The ticks come out of their sleep, and they’re out and they’re voraciously hungry. And they’re gonna crawl up on the, on low, low stems and bushes, and they’ll go out and perch themselves at the edge of a leaf.  And they actually hold onto it with their hind legs and stick their front legs out like this and they do what’s called questing. And so they’re actually an ambush predator,” said Professor Clarke.

Professor Clarke goes on to say that simple things we can do to prevent tick bites is to wear mosquito repellent and tuck your pants into your socks. He also says if you think you might have a tick on you, in addition to examining your body, taking a warm shower with an aromatic soap will help.

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