Tick ID Sheet - Putnam Sentinel

PUTNAM COUNTY — The extension office has received numerous visits, calls and questions regarding ticks in the past several weeks. Yes, ticks are out and about the county now – and sometimes in large numbers. You are most likely to encounter the American dog tick (aka wood tick), the blacklegged tick (aka deer tick), or the Lone star tick, three different types of ticks commonly found in Ohio.

Why should we be concerned about ticks? Well, each of these ticks can carry harmful bacteria that cause disease in humans and animals. Not all ticks carry disease, but those that do can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever (from the American dog tick), Lyme disease (from the blacklegged tick), and other illnesses.

Let’s look at the American dog tick. It is the most commonly found tick in Ohio from mid-April through July. American dog ticks like grassy areas along roads and paths, especially near woods and shrubby areas. An adult tick positions itself on grasses and weeds waiting to latch onto the fur or clothing of humans, dogs, groundhogs, raccoons, or other large mammals passing by. The tick then attaches to the host and feeds. In humans, this is often on the scalp or along the hairline. If attached for more than 24 hours, the American dog tick has the potential to transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever. However, less than two percent of American dog ticks in Ohio actually carry the bacteria that causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever, so few people are infected each year. While the likelihood of being bitten by a tick that carries a disease-causing bacteria is fairly low, it is a good idea to take precautions and prevent tick bites on yourself, family members, pets and livestock. It is equally important to remove attached ticks as soon as possible to limit possible infection. Follow these practical tips to help keep you, your loved ones and your pets tick-free this summer. First, avoid tick-infested wooded and grassy areas when possible. If you will be outdoors in areas where ticks are likely to occur, make sure to:

• wear light-colored clothing including tall socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Make sure to tuck your pants into your socks and your shirt into your pants. Light-colored clothing allows you to see insects crawling on your clothing.

• treat clothing, boots, and camping gear with a tick repellant such as permethrin according to manufacturer instructions. Products containing permethrin should not be applied directly to your skin.

• use insect repellent products that contain at least 25 percent DEET on exposed skin. Repellants wear off over time and should be reapplied according to product instructions. Adults should apply repellants to children.

Use anti-tick products on dogs. Keep dogs close to home and prevent them from freely roaming in grassy and wooded areas. • frequently check your body and pets for ticks and immediately remove them when found. To remove an attached tick, use a pair of tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and firmly pull away. Place the tick in a plastic bag or other container for correct identification. Thoroughly wash the bite site with soap and water.

If you have been bitten by a tick, it is important to correctly identify the type of tick and monitor the location of the bite over the next several weeks. If the bite area becomes swollen or develops a rash, consult your physician immediately. There are numerous online resources for for tick identification and information, including www.tickencounter.org. The American dog, blacklegged, and Lone star ticks have a hard plate on their back that enable identification between the different types, as well as between males and females. You can bring the tick to the Putnam County Extension office for identification or to the local health department. OSU Extension also has handy, pocket-sized tick id cards to identify ticks when outdoors or at home. To obtain a tick id card, or for more information, contact the Putnam County Extenstion office at 419-523-6294, by email at scheckelhoff.11@osu.edu, or stop in at 1206 East Second Street in Ottawa. You can now find us on Facebook by searching for OSU Extension Putnam County.