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Tick time: Creepy, crawly bloodsuckers

Submitted Photo The American dog tick, or wood tick, is known for causing diseases in its host.

This is the time of year for you and your pets to harvest wood ticks. It seems there are more and more of them every year, and this year is no exception.

Go outside, almost anywhere outdoors, and you’ll likely pick up a tick or two or twenty. You don’t even have to try. Those creepy, crawly, bloodsucking, disease carrying critters know how to find you.

The most common tick in North Dakota is the American dog tick, usually referred to as the wood tick, but you can call it by any name you wish. Ticks don’t care. They just want to latch on to you or your pet and draw blood. Give them time, 24 hours or so, and they’ll probably share Lyme disease with you too. Or maybe Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Pets are particularly adept at aquiring ticks, sometimes lots of them. The more ticks that latch on to a dog, the more likely that dog is to pick up a disease. Fortunately, there are prevention measures for pets. Ask your veterinarian for advice.

Removing a tick imbedded on your skin, or on your dog, isn’t difficult but there are recommended ways to do it. Here’s a list of tick removal tips courtesy of the National Pest Management Association.

1-Stay calm and gently pull back any hair from around the tick, exposing the skin near the tick/bite.

2-Locate the head of the tick, grasp it as close to the skin as possible using fine-tipped tweezers and gently squeeze. Do not grab the tick’s body, as this can increase the chance of injecting the tick’s blood into the skin.

3-Pull outward in a straight motion until the pressure pulls out the head of the tick. Do not twist or wiggle the tick, as that may tear the head off, leaving it lodged in the skin.

4-Once removed, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with soap and water. You can also use rubbing alcohol or an iodine scrub.

5-Ticks should then be flushed down a toilet or wrapped tightly in tissue before disposing in a closed receptacle. Do not try and crush them.

6-If you develop a rash or fever after removing a tick, see your doctor.

7-For added protection, contact a licensed pest control professional to inquire about tick control services for your yard.

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