American dog ticks, black-legged ticks and lone star ticks can all pose a threat to outdoorsmen and women during the fall hunting seasons.
Unlike pets and humans, wild animals such as deer are not affected by the black-legged tick and suffer no ill effects from Lyme disease. Additionally, Lyme disease cannot be transmitted by the consumption of venison. Hunters should keep in mind, however, that hunting and dressing deer may bring them into close contact with infected ticks.
Take the time to learn about Ohio's tick species and how to protect yourself. You may be able to identify a tick you found using the diagram below. If you believe the tick is a lone star or black-legged tick, or if you are unable to identify the tick, you may send the tick to your local health department for identification.
To have the tick identified, it should be saved in a hard container such as a pill bottle or film canister. Place a few blades of grass in the container with the tick. Containers should be mailed as soon as possible. If needed, the ticks may be safely refrigerated for several days until mailed. Be sure to include the following contact information: name, address and phone number; date tick was collected; Ohio county where it was collected, and indicate whether or not the tick was attached to a person or animal.
Lyme Disease & Activity of Blacklegged Ticks in Ohio
Blacklegged ticks are active throughout the year in Ohio. The adults are active in the spring, fall and winter. The nymphs are active in the spring and summer and the larvae are active late summer. The onset of human Lyme disease cases occurs year-round in Ohio but peaks in summer following the emergence of nymphs. (Source: ODH, Zoonotic Disease Program).
Tick Bite Prevention
A few simple measures can decrease your chances of being bitten by a harmful tick while out in the field:
- Know when and where to expect ticks. (Blacklegged ticks are found in the woods; dog ticks are in grassy areas and road edges.)
- Use repellents according to labels.
- Tuck your pants into your socks and boots and tuck your shirt into your pants.
- Check yourself, family and pets regularly and remove ticks immediately.
- Use anti-tick products on pets.
- Ask your veterinarian about Lyme vaccines for pets where black-legged ticks are found.
- Create a tick-safe zone in your yard.
To use tick repellent properly follow these steps:
- First, purchase an insect repellent containing permethrin.
- Apply the permethrin to your pants and boots and allow them to dry.
- When heading to the field, tuck your pants into your boots to prevent tick access to your skin.
Once the permethrin is dry, it has no odor and leaves no stain. The repellent should remain effective throughout the hunting season, even with exposure to moisture or hot-water washing.
If you are bitten by a tick, do not panic. Carefully remove the tick, including its mouthparts, from your skin using tweezers. Monitor your health the following days. While the CDC recognizes a 36-48 hr. window is needed for disease transmission, there is evidence that transmission can occur sooner.