Thursday, November 13, 2008

Nature's Pests-Not for the queesy

Before I engage you in the gross details, I wanted to send out a TIVO alert. Nature is doing an episode on eagles this Sunday. Click here for details.
You can see a review of it here from someone who was lucky enough to get a sneak peek. Thanks for the heads up Kate (from Outside my Window)

The woods are my refuge. I go there every chance I get. It's a chance for me to get away from the kids, the pets and the endless housework to just be me.

I discovered these woods last fall. I was looking for bittersweet to make wreaths but wound up finding so much more. Oh yes, I found the wonderful things like a pond with geese, hidden marshes and all sorts of wildlife but I was also introduced to ticks.

Now being an amateur woods explorer I had never given ticks much thought. Oblivious to tick precaution I would leave the woods, come home and go about my business. To my horror I found a tick under my arm and ran to google to find out how to remove them. I was shaky and disgusted while doing this but in the end I did remove it and that was that.

This year I am using more preventative measures but I am obviously not doing enough. Over the course of the past three weeks I have been bitten twice by ticks. I removed one last weekend and thought I got the whole thing but just realized this evening that the head was still there and my son had to remove it because I was too freaked out to do it myself.

You see, I didn't think ticks could still be alive at this point so I was lax in wearing proper clothing or taking a shower when I got home. I did more google research today and this is what I found.

General Information

The most wide spread opinion is that ticks drop down from trees when they detect a possible host passing by, but this assumption is not true. Ticks actually tend to lurk on low lying vegetation such as twigs or the ends of leaves. They climb onto blades of grass or underbrush up to 1.5 m high and wait for a host to pass by.

Ticks prefer to live in areas of the forest bordering on meadows, clearings, stream- or river flood plains. plantations with underbrush and hedges, areas between deciduous and coniferous-, timber and coppice forests.

Ticks are very resistant creatures. Tests show that they can survive temperatures of more than 45°C. What is more they can also survive being frozen at a temperature as low as -18°C and then being thawed out again. This means that ticks could even in some cases strike in winter. One method of prevention is to wash one's cloths at a temperature of at least 50°C. When taking a hike in the woods it is advisable to keep pant legs tucked into the socks so that they cannot climb up underneath. Furthermore, every walk in the outdoors should be followed by a thorough tick-check and a shower. Tick repellent is another way to prevent being bitten.


Yes I know this isn't a poetic topic to blog about but decided to put it on here as a reminder that the ticks are still out there and to use precaution.



nina said...

I love that photo of the woods.

I'm lke you in that I would not think this to be tick season. Our worst time is April-June. I know they must be around in smaller numbers at other times, but I rarely encounter them.
Thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post. I enjoyed it and your links

Jayne said...

Shivers.... I've only ever had one on me. They are stealthy little buggers.

Anonymous said...

Shivers here, too. Ticks show up on me in the spring but I haven't had a bite in years. Thanks for the information! I don't think it ever gets cold enough here...

Kallen, I've been trying to comment on your posts at work without success. Now I know there is something wrong at the office. I'm at home now :o)


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