Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Deer Ticks are a hateful thing. Southern Maine and much of New England has a problem with them and the horrible diseases they carry.

Two days ago I saw one that someone trapped, for my information. Yesterday, after walking in a grassy field, I felt an itch and upon inspection, found it to be one of these horrible arachnids crawling proprietorially on my abdomen. I quickly removed it and now it’s flattened carapace adorns the rear bumper of a nearby Volvo. They’re not easy to crush, you see, they’re like fleas in that respect and need squishing between hard surfaces to finish them off.

Their M.O is to lurk in vegetation and await for a warm body to pass. When one does, usually an animal, they crawl up its leg, look for a square of epidermis and tuck in! When they do, they stay there for many hours and ‘engorge’ themselves. After three feedings they drop off, over-winter, and lay their eggs in the spring.

Here’s a picture of one:


Their body is about the size of a sesame seed, and once they’re in they’re pretty hard to remove cleanly. Apparently you need tweezers, a steady hand so as to not freak out and try to swat them off you skin. If you do that, you leave behind their mouth-parts and that’s no good.

They also carry many diseases included the dreaded Lyme disease which causes skin rash, fatigue, headaches, and later problems with the central nervous system, and heart. No fun

They’re to be avoided by tucking in your clothing, wearing bug spray and checking your skin when you get home. Horrible creatures…

1 comment:

  1. It's a problem in old England too. I know someone who was bitten at Attenbrough Nature Reserve, got Lyme Disease, and is losing feeling in his fingers and toes.
    Horrible little sods!