Spring is Ticking into Summer

  • Deer Ticks (Blacklegged Ticks  – Ixodes Scapularis) can carry Lyme Disease and are VERY TINY in physical size. 
  • Protect yourself by becoming aware of their size and available repellents (Picaridin & Permethrin) that can work to keep ticks off of you and your loved ones.
  • Learn what to do if you find an embedded tick on your body.

Deer Ticks (Blacklegged Ticks – Ixodes Scapularis) can carry Lyme Disease and are VERY TINY. CDC photo. 


By Forrest Fisher

It’s time to fish, hike, camp, and bird-watch, and it’s time to sit on a quiet park bench anyplace you like. Right now is also an excellent time to take 5 minutes to learn more about deer ticks and Lyme disease. Read this article. Remember it. Please share it. It could save you or your loved ones from a life of medical care and unwanted jeopardy.

According to the CDC, Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and, rarely, Borrelia mayonii. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, the infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks.  Laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. Steps to prevent Lyme disease include using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tickborne diseases as well.

Several years back, but not that long ago, three of my seven grandkids were bitten by a tiny little critter that many of us would have passed off as a speck of dirt and not thought twice about it. But, the little sliver of dirt was hard to brush off. It was embedded into the skin and looked like a tiny, little beauty spot. At first notice, the thought is that it’ll go away. It’s just a beauty post or a piece of dirt. Get some soap. That was just the beginning. After a shower and a few days of baths, good old Mom noticed that the little brand-new beauty spot had grown in size. She did not know there was a little critter in there, and it had filled its holding tanks with her child’s blood. It was a juvenile deer tick—less than the size of a dark sesame seed on your morning bagel.

Picaridin is an insect repellent for BARE SKIN USE, suggested for Deer Tick bite prevention. Cost: about $12.

In the old days, most of us would say, so what? You got bit by a tick, grow up, be a big boy and take a shower more often. Today, science has educated us. The concern today is that deer ticks carry Lyme disease and many other pathogens that cause diseases that are hard to diagnose and harder to treat. In many cases, if initially left untreated, the best prognosis for the more than 400 other Lyme-related diseases is front and center.

Back to the grandchild. Two days later, that little beauty spot was suddenly about 25 times larger. It was easy to see now. Trying to brush off that little spot directly caused a gush of blood from the embedded deer tick. The blood ran and stained the skin. So much so that the blood was running like when you have a small cut on your skin surface. Deer ticks are hungry little, suction-prone, disease-exchanging little critters. Not a disaster, but you might need a few tissues and a small band-aid. That’s not the end. The actual deer tick was still embedded. You or a medical person with skilled tweezers must remove the tick and wait a few weeks to see if you develop Lyme symptoms or get it tested to identify if it carries Lyme disease. Visit Ticknology at https://www.ticknology.org/tick-testing. Lyme and tick-borne disease is often misdiagnosed. As a result, the opportunity for early treatment is missed. Ticknology is one of several lab services that offer tick testing to identify early detection of Lyme or related disease exposure. Many folks prefer to order a Universal Tick Test from Ticknology and receive a comprehensive evaluation of Lyme-related infection risk.

The truth of the deer tick world is that many of these little critters are so small right now – in their nymph stage (just born) – they are hungry and looking for a host. Like their deer tick parents who used up all their energy delivering hundreds of young deer ticks. The deer ticks get Lyme disease from the mice, not vice versa. The ticks cuddle close to the mouse as they are trying to stay warm in the coldest of winter. Then the deer ticks find warm weather, and they leave the mouse. The mommy deer ticks are looking to bear their young on a flower, a weed, a horse, a dog, a backyard plant, a rose, you, me, or somewhere on a bristle of green weeds in your garden and many other places. The point is, beware of these little disease carriers and killers of human health. Why the sudden increase in deer tick numbers and Lyme cases? That’s a mystery.

About 15 years ago, many doctors misdiagnosed Lyme disease for about 400 other conditions. Many folks today still suffer from that lack of early medical awareness. Times have changed, the blood testing process is better, and the medical world has recognized this mysterious disease’s seriousness. About 40 percent of deer ticks tested today are carrying Lyme. Be aware.

Permethrin is an insect repellent for GEAR, SHOES and CLOTHING, suggested for Deer Tick bite prevention. Cost: about $12.

What to do if you like to enjoy the outdoors:  Stay aware. Understand that tick season is year-round, and spring and summer are their peak activity periods. Be careful if you hike in wooded areas or venture forth in places with high grass. Walk in the center of the trails. Wear long sleeves and, while it may look stupid, tuck your pants into your socks or shoes top. Use tick-repellent products registered by the US EPA. According to reports, DEET is effective, but the go-to for most folks is to use Picaridin on your exposed skin outside your clothing and treat your exterior clothing, shoes, socks, and other gear with Permethrin. The Permethrin (0.5 percent strength) can last several washings (about four to six weeks). Once your hike, bike, camp or outdoor adventure trip is over and you are back inside at home, toss all your clothes into the dryer on high heat for 10-15 minutes. Heat kills deer ticks. Then do a full body check. Use a mirror. Be extra sure in difficult-to-see areas such as under your arms, around your hair, ears, back of knees, between your legs and especially here: inside your belly button. This is serious; no laughing. To further reduce risk, shower immediately after coming in and after your initial inspection. Why shower immediately? There may still be ticks on you that went unnoticed and are not yet attached. A shower will wash them away.

Uh-oh. During your look-see, you find a deer tick on you. It’s embedded. Not to worry, but remove it. The CDC says to use tweezers to remove the tick. Grip the tick and apply a steady outward pressure across the entire diameter of the embedded tick. It may take a few seconds or a minute, but it will eventually come out. Do not twist the tick with the tweezers. We don’t want to break off the mouth. Then save the tick. Wrap it in a tissue and place it into an old prescription container. Then clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap/water, and wash your hands thoroughly. You can watch for symptoms for the next few weeks or visit your doctor. Show him your tick. Depending on his diagnosis, he may send it for testing or provide antibiotics. About eight out of 10 people immediately treated are cured when bitten by a Lyme-carrying tick. The numbers show that about 10 to 20 percent develop Lyme disease syndrome with lingering symptoms, including fatigue, joint pain, mental confusion, and much more. Deer ticks carry Lyme and many other diseases. It can be nasty.

If you were bit and developed a “bulls-eye” rash near the bite location, about one-third of folks display this condition – the typical treatment is Doxycycline or a similar antibiotic for as long as the first 30 days. That is up to the doctor. If you have no bulls-eye rash but are developing a fever, rash or headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or other unusual symptoms, or any uncommon illness, see a doctor ASAP.

Stay aware of Lyme disease and deer ticks. AND get rid of your mice! They infect the ticks.

Ticks the Season! It’s Turkey Time

Olympus Digital Camera, from the late Joe Forma photo collection

YES, that’s a dime! Blacklegged ticks are much smaller than common dog ticks. In their larval and nymphal stages, they are no bigger than a pinhead. Adult black-legged ticks are larger, about the size of a sesame seed (left to right: larva, nymph, adult male, adult female). Courtesy of CDC

By Bob Holzhei

With tick season just a few weeks away, outdoor folks – especially turkey hunters, are preparing to sit their butts down in the woods. It might be good to know about the tick prevention safety guide that has been developed by Brian Anderson, who is from Iron Mountain, MI., known as the Tick Terminator.

“The guide has been used by hundreds of safety directors, outdoor workers and enthusiasts across the country to help them learn and share new prevention ideas in the battle with ticks,” says Anderson.

A follow-up bulletin titled “The Hidden Cost of Lyme Disease” assists readers of the tick season which runs from March through November each year.

What is Lyme Disease? 

“Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdolferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of black-legged ticks (deer ticks).  Symptoms include headache, brain fog, chills, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, neck stiffness, achy joints, bulls-eye rash including other rashes, facial palsy, heart palpitations, dizziness, vision changes, and sensitivity to light,” stated Anderson.

If left untreated the disease can spread to joints, heart and the nervous system.  It is estimated that the disease results in 300-400,000 new cases each year.

Early detection and treatment are important.  If diagnosed soon enough, within a few weeks of a bite, antibiotic treatment by an MD will be sufficient to combat the disease.  Allowing the disease to go untreated for months will lead to a chronic condition.  Many doctors treat patients early with antibiotics to be safe.  Lyme disease can take months in the body to show up positive on a test.

Where Does Lyme Disease Come From?

Ticks get Lyme disease by feeding on an infected animal, often a mouse or rodent, which is then passed on to the next host.  Using good repellants and checking for tick bites during the season is advised.

The Hidden Costs of Lyme Disease

The person infected with Lyme disease enjoys a normal active life.  Then suddenly overnight they become exhausted, can barely make it through a day of work, and can’t wait to get home to rest.  Often folks feel it’s just a temporary bug, which will pass.  Lyme disease is nicknamed, “the great imitator,” and the medical costs continue to rise.

“Unfortunately, many insurance companies do not recognize the disease, and therefore will not pay for it,” added Anderson.

Where Are Ticks Found?

Ticks are found in tall grasses and low-lying shrubs, preferring moist shaded areas.  They don’t jump, fly or fall out of trees.  They wait patiently to smell the odor of an animal or human walking by.  They then latch on and enjoy a 2–4-day, blood meal.  When temperatures rise above 32 degrees or warmer, the tick season has begun.  Ticks do not die off during the winter.  The small younger nymph ticks are the size of a poppy seed and are responsible for most Lyme disease cases. See the photo.

Preventing Lyme Disease

The use of Deet on the skin and Permethrin on clothes and gear was suggested by Anderson.

  1. Tuck in your pants into the socks!
  2. Wear light-colored pants to easily spot ticks!
  3. Walk on well-used paths and stay away from vegetation!
  4. Use 25-34% Deet on the skin.
  5. Treat shoes, socks, pants, and shirts with Permethrin.

After the Bite

Quick medical attention is advised by a physician that knows about tick-borne diseases.  The disease can be treated with antibiotics.  Early detection and treatment are stressed!

“If you keep the ticks off of you, you won’t get bit,” concluded Anderson.

For more information:

TOTAL INSECT PROTECTION for Hunters and Everyone Else

  • Total Protection from Mosquitoes, Deer Ticks, Chiggers
  • Total Protection from No-See-Ums, Black Flies, Sand Fleas, Ants, Gnats
  • Prevent Zika, Malaria, West Nile, Dengue, Lyme disease, others
  • Made in the USA
Photo Courtesy of RYNOSKIN® TOTAL

By Forrest Fisher

This article is not an ad, but I suppose it could be.  I just want all of my friends and neighbors of the outdoors to know about this for only one selfish reason that I have, Lyme disease prevention.  In New York State, a recent study shows 1 out of every 2 deer ticks have Lyme disease.  Period.  You must protect yourself from this beast of a disease, and the affected deer tick population is  increasing logarithmically as it spreads across the country. 

For the record, deer ticks get Lyme disease from white-footed mice.  Mice are where Lyme disease comes from, but it is the deer ticks that can give Lyme disease to us humans when they bite us because they are so small, their bite is nearly painless and we simply cannot see them most of the time.

When two of my grandkids came down with Lyme disease last year, we researched so many products to help find protection.  Most of the protections are chemically based and work well, but there was always a concern about the chemicals and possible effects years down the road.  Then one day in our research, we discovered Rynoskin Total. It’s chemical free, is comfortable, does not retain heat (in summer, this is important), and is impervious to Mosquitoes, Deer Ticks, other Ticks, Chiggers, No-See-Ums, Black Flies, Sand Fleas, Ants, Gnats and many other biting insects.  It is a positive measure toward preventing Zika, Malaria, West Nile, Dengue, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis and other vector borne illnesses.

Could there be anything better?  Not for me.  At least not yet in our world of technology.  This suit brings total comfort and peace of mind to me as an outdoorsman and to my family. 

My first question was, why didn’t I know about this sooner? I’m a turkey hunter, deer hunter, walk-in-high-grass trout angler, and if you get the picture, I’m outdoors a lot in the places where deer ticks that carry Lyme disease like to be too.

Rynoskin Total is specifically designed to be worn underneath your clothing.  This unique concept provides for comfort, breathability, stealth movement and eliminates snags against brush.  The Rynoskin is stretchable and it fits snuggly and comfortably on your body over your under-garments, but under your exterior clothing.

It provides insect protection in a form that will stretch to accommodate all different body sizes.  Many over-garment insect protection suits are hot, make noise when you move and snag against the brush as you sneak about the woods stalking that next trophy deer. I tried this suit. It does it all.  Rynoskin Total is ultra-lightweight, body-forming, cool, and comfortable.

My entire body suit – which is comprised of socks, bottoms, tops, glove and face mask/hood – weighs under 6 ounces!

For my grandkids, the best part about Rynoskin Total is the chemical free nature of this product.  They have a future to live.  It is completely safe to use and it is effective no matter how many times you wash it over time. The suit protects the user by the unique weave of the fabric and the form fitting elastic cuffs that create the ultimate barrier against biting insects.  This body suit is so comfortable that you forget you have it on.

Photo Courtesy of RYNOSKIN® TOTAL

If it matters to you, the suits come in various colors, but a lighter color will allow you to find ticks on your suit more easily, the whole time knowing that they cannot penetrate your Rynoskin.  That’s comfort.

Here is a video with a hands-on, eyes-on, narrative to see: https://youtu.be/wENkNvNPEKA.

The Rynoskin Total suits are scientifically tested and made in the USA.  I’m sold. A little over $100 for the whole thing. Cheap at 1,000 times the cost if you have been affected by Lyme disease and understand you might be taking 32 pills and one injection every day for years while you moan in pain. That all makes it really affordable for my way of thinking.

Wish they made one for my dog!  How good is it?  It’s guaranteed.  If you are not satisfied with your Rynoskin, just call (866) 934-7546 within thirty (30) days of purchase for a full refund with proof of purchase.

Check it out on line at: http://rynoskin.com/. 

Hunters! It’s Deer Tick Protection Time

deerticks2There is this nasty pest of a disease called Lyme. This is becoming a breakout year for deer tick numbers in the northeast, especially New York, and the infested percentage of deer ticks with Lyme is increasing rapidly. Be cautious, here is more about what to know and what to do.

Beautiful and majestic deer are a joy to watch, though any size deer could be a deer tick infested Lyme disease carrier. Forrest Fisher Photo

Hunters, hikers, campers, bird watchers, dog walkers and everyone else, please listen up and heed this friendly outdoor notice of information to be safe while you are outdoors.

For most hunters, it would be unusual to say you have never been bitten by a tick – many of us don’t even know we have. If you have hunted long hours in the last few decades, you have probably been bit or have picked off a blood-sucking tick that was burrowing into your body somewhere and without prior knowledge, thought it was a pesky, tiny, black fly because you had blood there when you finished. It was possibly a tick.

Ticks can carry Lyme disease, Babesiosis, Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis, all related sorts of really nasty long word disease stuff, and even dog ticks (these are much larger than deer ticks) can carry Rocky Mountain Spotted fever and other disease.

Yes, it’s scary. We all go outdoors, but if we are educated and aware, we do at least know more about things. That’s the key, to be aware. So read on and please be sure to go protected from deer ticks. It’s not advice, this is simply a request to intelligent outdoor folks, especially deer hunters – archery season is open in many parts of the USA, to coat their camo, outerwear and gear with a spray coat of Permethrin (Sawyer Products) the day before heading out, then let it dry (https://sawyer.com). This applies to everyone who may go outdoors anywhere in WNY, not just hunters. The coating on your clothes will last for about six or seven washings.

This coating will help protect you from the nearly invisible (very tiny) crawling anthropods (like a spider) and reduce the likelihood of you becoming bit – it is a painless bite, you may never know you were bit. The protective clothing spray will potentially prevent you from being stricken with serious Lyme disease and never finding out you have it until after the disease is imbedded in your system. This simple spray product is only about $12-$14 in most local stores. Do it and be safe.

The deer ticks are spread by mice, but the mice also drop them off on deer when they bed, so deer can have them too – hence the name, deer ticks. Dogs, cats, squirrels, chipmunks, birds – all warm blooded creatures can carry the ticks too.  So can your wood pile! You might find nests of deer ticks from mice in your wood pile, be observant, you can see them visually.

Dogs and cats are the number one carrier of ticks from the outdoors to inside your home and to you, so extra caution is required if you have a pet. Pets (mostly dogs) are the number one reason for people bitten by deer ticks inside their home (and never finding out until years later).

deerticks3If you are a lucky hunter, maybe you don’t believe me and want to see how many ticks your harvested deer is carrying. Drop a patch of dry ice on the floor after you hang your deer. The ticks will fall out like ball bearings. You’ll be impressed and hopefully encouraged to protect yourself.

The ticks find us humans by detecting our carbon dioxide output when we breathe, since they cannot see or hear. The dry ice is made of carbon dioxide, as it evaporates, they sense it and seek it. Be sure to shower thoroughly after field dressing your fresh deer. Lyme disease is a killer when it is not noticed because these are really small bugs and “they can’t hurt me” thoughts are common among us big, small and husky hunters.

Adult deer ticks are most prevalent from October through December seeking a final blood meal before hibernating for the winter. Hunters beware.

If you’re out at hunting camp and there are no showers, strip down and inspect yourself for ticks. You must do this to be sure. Look very carefully at your armpits, groin, the nape of your neck and back of your knees. If you find a tick, remove it with tweezers and save it for your doctor. Then see your doctor, pronto.

deerticks4If you are bit and can see the burrowed, blood-sucking tick in you, or see a circular rash that can result for every one of three folks that are bitten, get to a doctor and demand 30 days of Doxycycline antibiotic (the same treatment used to treat Bubonic Plague). Do not wait for the blood test results, if you do, it’ll likely be too late to kill it and, once established, Lyme disease is a life-long affliction that you can only hope to put into remission later. That can be tough. That is, if you survive the unending flu symptoms, brain fog, arthritis symptoms, paralyzing fibromyalgia, organ and bone pain, testicular pain and dozens of other possible Lyme disease effects that doctors in New York and elsewhere admit they do not understand well. Most insurance plans pay for only 8 days of “doxy”, you may have to pay for the rest.

Early diagnosis and immediate treatment are key to controlling this disease. Depending on your type of system, we are all unique in many ways, even late treatments of “doxy” can cure the affliction, but most folks that learn about the disease they have contracted weeks and months and years later, can only hope for remission.

Trust me when I share with you that these insidious little bugs can bring all of us to our knees and our end of life as we know it. Be cautious, go protected. Get the Permethrin for your clothes and another product, Picaridin, for your exposed skin. These products not only repel the ticks, they kill them upon contact. This applies to just sitting in your tree stand, hiking the field trails or woods, and the rest of things we and friends all do outside too, that includes fishing from a boat.

Take it from someone who has learned the best about surviving this affliction from the worst form of experience. Be aware, be protected and be safe. It’s a start to staying healthy because most of us love the outdoors, play and sleep in the outdoors and want to do it for all time.

The Permethrin clothing spray is odorless for concerns from archery hunters (not all tick protection spray is odorless). If you are going outdoors hunting or just going outdoors, just do the spray your clothes thing. Just do it and rest easy.

Deer tick sign notices with Lyme disease warnings are posted in many areas these days. The signs are there for good reason, to help you be aware and help you understand that you need to protect yourself from this invasive little critter we now know as the deer tick. Now you know how!

Lastly, during autumn each year, mosquitoes and black flies can be plentiful too, and they are a distracting bother if you hunt much. To prevent flying critter disturbance, clip on a Thermacell unit to your backpack or camo layer (https://www.thermacell.com/). The scent emitted from this device is from a flower that is also an attractant to deer (chrysanthemums), but flying insects hate it and won’t come near it. Go figure. Cost is only about $20 and these units last for many years.

Share life with others, make new friends in the outdoors, lead by example. Please email me with any questions at dbarus35@yahoo.com.