Blood-sucking fiends

I've had some too-close encounters with wood ticks lately. (None were feasting, however. Thank goodness!) And not while hiking around in brushy places, either. Some of them were right out in the open.

Tick2: aka wood tick, or American dog tick. Yuck.

I wondered if this meant that Minnesota was experiencing a tick population boom? And if there was a corresponding increase in tick-borne disease?

So I asked around. David Neitzel, an epidemiologist with the Minnesota Department of Health's Acute Disease Investigation and Control Division, told me:

"This is the time of year that wood ticks are really abundant in Minnesota. They can be found in a wide variety of habitats from wooded areas to grassy areas, and sometimes very open areas (i.e., lawns). Wood ticks don't transmit disease in Minnesota, but deer ticks (also called blacklegged ticks) transmit Lyme disease and a couple other diseases. Deer ticks are only found in wooded or brushy areas.

Please check out our website and click on 'diseases and conditions' then 'Lyme disease' for more information."

Science Buzz also did a feature on ticks and tick-borne disease. We want to hear your gross tick stories!

Ick. Just thinking about it makes me feel all itchy, like one is crawling on me.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Joe's picture
Joe says:

Some crafty blogger also wrote a blog entry on Lyme Disease, if you are interested in learning more, check it out!

posted on Fri, 06/02/2006 - 8:28am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

weird but okay then

posted on Fri, 06/02/2006 - 10:53am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

'Wood ticks don't transmit disease '

I don't agree with this since Dermacentor variabilis were suspected to be one of the main vector for rickettsiae from the spotted fever group.
N Engl J Med. 1988 May 26;318(21):1345-8
Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 1991 Jan;21(1):27-44.

If you want to know more about ticks check the tick database at this site: http://www.icttd.nl/

posted on Wed, 06/07/2006 - 3:43am
Liza's picture
Liza says:

It's true that wood ticks are a vector for Rocky Mountain spotted fever, but wood ticks are very, very common in Minnesota (especially right now) and the illness is very rare. Only a few isolated cases have been reported in southern Minnesota.

Check out the CDC's epidemiology page for Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

The Minnesota Department of Health lists all the tick-borne diseases that are of concern in Minnesota, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever is the only one on the list that is transmitted by the wood tick.

600-1200 cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever are reported each year in the United States. Half of those cases occur in the South-Atlantic region of the country (Delaware, Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida). The CDC also reports cases in Washington, Oregon, and California, and in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. North Carolina and Oklahoma alone account for 35% of cases. By contrast, Lyme disease affects some 12,000 people annually, and 90% of those cases occur in the Northeast (Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island), the Upper Midwest (Minnesota and Wisconsin), or the Northwest (California). In 2004, there were 1023 Lyme disease cases in Minnesota alone.

posted on Wed, 06/07/2006 - 9:15am
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Eeeewww! Here's information about the life cycle of the wood tick, plus bonus super-icky video of the wood tick feeding, and a shot, taken through a microscope, of a wood tick head.

posted on Wed, 06/07/2006 - 9:24am
Adriana's picture
Adriana says:

this page is very cool.

posted on Wed, 06/07/2006 - 10:46am
Dina's picture
Dina says:

this is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

posted on Wed, 06/07/2006 - 12:12pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

ticks are really wierd and they all come to my pets and my little puppy just had a tick on her today

posted on Sun, 06/18/2006 - 8:27pm
tami's picture
tami says:

this one is very interesting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Why do ticks put their head into your body? What is the best way to get one out of your skin? Where is their favorite place on your body to go and why?

posted on Mon, 06/19/2006 - 4:40pm
Tammy's picture
Tammy says:

As a child I had 3 ticks "stuck" to me... recently my children have been bombarded with ticks. Both boys have had 2 wood ticks stuck to them just in the last week. We have never had such a huge problem (here in Wisconsin) with them as we have recently. They are even on my elderly grandmother, who just walked in from the car. I was glad to learn the wood tick usually doesn't carry lyme disease.... Just keep checking... Another thing, I read it takes 24 hours for the disease to transmit... good news! So check often.

posted on Tue, 05/01/2007 - 12:48pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

hi i have had 2 ticks stuck on me.

posted on Mon, 06/18/2007 - 10:40am
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

For God's sake, pull them off before it's too late!

posted on Mon, 06/18/2007 - 11:30am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:


posted on Sun, 06/03/2007 - 1:44pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

kool dude that is awesome

posted on Sun, 06/03/2007 - 1:45pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I am outdoors person and I am always out in the woods. Yeah I pick ticks off of me but its a normal thing here in minnesota. Just take a shower after and check yourself for ticks its really not that bad

posted on Mon, 06/18/2007 - 12:15am
julia's picture
julia says:

my aunt nancy had a tick and my sister. my cousin maybe had one but I don't know

posted on Mon, 06/18/2007 - 12:03pm
marlee's picture
marlee says:

this year I had one tick. I got it at a farm. It was a birthday party. My dad had checked me but we didn't see it. Then when I got home I was getting on my pajamas and getting ready for bed and I saw some food in my room, but then when I was walking downstairs to get mommy I saw a black spot on me but I didn't know what it was. So I showed my mommy and she said "You got a tick". So daddy was going to take a stick and get it warm and try to get the tick out and I started to cry. So mommy got the tweezers and got it out. My sister was also crying. Her name is Julia.

posted on Mon, 06/18/2007 - 12:10pm
blookleblookle's picture
blookleblookle says:

When I get a wood tick, I always put it on a piece of tape, then fold the tape over so it can't get away. Then I squoosh it really hard. It works. Then throw it away.


posted on Sat, 06/30/2007 - 3:57pm

this is really disgusting

posted on Thu, 11/15/2007 - 1:51pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I live in NW Missouri on a small place with about 80 acres of woods, and some farm land. We have pasture, but no grazers and lots of deer, so the grass and buck brush gets tall. This Spring, we decided to plant a few nut trees in open areas, and a couple of new fruit trees in the yard.

Yesterday I sprayed insect repellent on my boots and pants, which usually works pretty good at keeping the ticks off. But it apparently didn't work yesterday. After planting four trees and building T-post and wire cages for them (so the deer don't eat them) I came in and showered. I pulled 18 embedded ticks off of me, and didn't bother counting the ticks that were going for the gold up my legs and on my socks. (My clothes go directly into the washing machine on my way to the shower.)

We classify ticks as being of three sizes. There are the new-hatches which we call "pepper ticks" - there are the ticks that have had one blood meal and grown some - we call them the mid-sized ticks or Tweeners, and of course, there are the fully engorged ready-to-pop adult ticks with about 3,000 eggs in them. The pepper ticks are the worst because they are about the size of a grain of pepper and are often mistaken for dirt, and they can get inside your clothing anywhere..

posted on Tue, 05/06/2008 - 7:40pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Please do not pop the ticks. My father died May of 2006 from Rocky Mountain Spotted fever in SW Missouri. I see it as a preventable disease and wished we would have knew more before. By popping the ticks diseases can be spread. Please beware!

posted on Wed, 05/14/2008 - 9:23am

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