Don’t be afraid of ticks, says Nancy Hinkle, a University of Georgia professor of entomology.
“We need to be aware, we need to be cautious,” she said. Here in the Southeast, you cannot get Lyme disease from a tick in the summer, she said. The carrier is a winter tick, a deer tick. “That’s the time of year when people are most likely to encounter the deer tick.”
The most common kind of tick you’re going to find on yourself or your dog is the lonestar tick. She has a white dot in the middle of her back, she said. All species of ticks carry pathogens. Most ticks are not infected but they have the potential to transmit diseases.
“We don’t need to fear them. Ticks are everywhere. They’re part of the ecology. They’re a natural part of our world."
Hinkle suggests three things for when you go hiking or out in the woods:
- Don’t sit down on the grass if you can avoid it.
- Before you go, treat your body with DEET and your clothing with Permethrin.
- When you get home from being in the woods, strip down and do a tick check.
“Ticks have to be attached for several hours before they can transmit disease organisms. So if you do a tick check immediately after getting back from hiking or outdoor activities, you really shouldn’t need to worry about ticks. You’ll find them before they do any damage,” she said.
For more advice on decreasing your chance of getting a tick on your body and for live tick footage, watch Hinkle in action at youtu.be/_dCBUjSkuRc .
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