The warmer weather has definitely arrived here in Upstate, NY. With warmer weather comes an increased risk for you to pick up a tick while out and about metal detecting. There are currently about eight hundred and fifty documented tick species that are know to exist. There are several tick species in the northeast. Some of the most common ticks in the northeast area are pictured below. The cover photo image, pictured above, is courtesy of Dave Wise.
Did you know that ticks don't have any eyes? They can't see us but still manage to do an excellent job of finding us. They have these amazing sensors on their two front legs. They say that they can detect body heat, odors, the carbon dioxide in an animal’s breath, or moisture and vibrations. Some research suggests that ticks are even able to recognize shadows. In order for ticks to survive they need to find a host or blood source so they are quite talented when it comes to finding one, even without eyes to see us.
Have you ever found a tick on your head or in your hair and wondered how it got there? Ticks don’t just fall down out of trees. They like to hang out in forests on leaf litter and low lying vegetation. They just wait for you to simply pass on by and then latch on to you when you do. They may wander about your body for some time before attaching. They crawl around looking for a good spot to attach that is ideal for feeding. If they end up in your hair well that means they climbed all the way up there starting from the bottom of your leg, somehow unnoticed by you. Now that's not the most pleasant of thoughts. No one in their right mind wants tiny, blood sucking bugs crawling around on them.
Ticks suck, literally. The way ticks suck blood from humans can be well terrifying. It's important to find them and remove them as quickly as possible from your body. The risk to humans is from the diseases that they may carry. In a ticks lifetime, they may have multiple hosts. Their first host let's say might just have been a rat, their second host a deer, and then their third host ends up being you. The tick sucks up bacteria (pathogens) from the Rats' and deer's blood and then delivers it to you through their saliva. That’s where diseases come in to play. Ticks are known for spreading several diseases such as ehrlichiosis, tularemia, and of course Lyme Disease. Not all ticks spread disease, some just suck your blood for food. The Lone Star Tick is also known to cause alpha-gal syndrome which is when someone develops an allergy to the sugar found in red meat and some medications.
After you finish up metal detecting you should always check yourself thoroughly for ticks. Take a shower when you get home that helps to wash them off of you before they may have a chance to latch on. It also makes sense to take preventative measures against exposure to ticks. Use bug spray or insect repellent! Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs. Also, treat your clothes with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Permethrin can be used to treat boots and clothing and still remain protective through several washings. Ticks are easier to spot on lighter colored clothing. You can also tuck the legs of your pants into your socks. You may look like a total dork now when you do, but it does help to keep the ticks from crawling up under your clothes.
When out metal detecting don't forget to watch out for those tiny suckers who spread diseases and only want to use you for your blood. Have a great week and happy hunting!