Sunday, September 5, 2010

Seed Ticks

Why haven't I been blogging?  What have I been doing?

Oh, you know, just picking THOUSANDS of ticks out of my girl's long hair!!!!  (I'm an exaggerator - I admit - but this is for real.)

If you've never heard of these beauties, consider yourself VERY lucky!  I didn't either, up until about a week ago when we returned from our camping trip in the Shenandoah National Park.  And now, our little family has officially lived through a nightmare on the bug kind!

Let me explain... (Information from Associated Content [dot] com)

Seed ticks are not a separate species of tick, but rather the larval stage all tick species. Seed ticks are exceedingly small, in most cases no bigger than the period at the end of this sentence. It's not the size of the seed ticks that make them a nuisance, though; it's the numbers. Because seed ticks are newly hatched from eggs, they don't travel and disperse as much as adult ticks do. They tend to stay where the eggs are laid. This wouldn't be such a big problem if ticks didn't typically lay eggs in the thousands.
 
Though it may seem like an exaggeration, a person can easily wander into a cache of seed ticks and end up crawling with literally hundreds, if not thousands, of tiny ticks. The sheer number of seed ticks is what makes them such a nuisance.

Even though they are much smaller than adults, seed ticks can still bite and cause the same sort of itchy bumps as full grown ticks. After biting, larval ticks will fill themselves up with blood and detach. Once they've done this, the ticks will molt and transform into their next developmental stage on the way to becoming fully adult. If you are unlucky enough to be bitten, I guess you can feel good about becoming part of a tick's coming-of-age story.

Last weekend, Jeff and I took Addy camping with some good friends of ours - Amanda and Jake (and their new puppy Tank).  I was SO excited to take Addy --- especially after our big camping trip this summer without our girl, I couldn't WAIT to take her along!  Anyways, on the way down, I made a comment to Jeff about how worried I was about Tank. Addy, I proclaimed, was older and so well behaved.  But, a puppy might be difficult to handle in a tent etc.  (Ohhh, did I ever learn my lesson!!)

Addy was horrible!  She is much more of a sofa and down comforter kind-of girl.  She proved that last weekend as she kept us awake ALL night stirring around the tent, etc.  And, in case we had forgotten how NOT well-behaved she was by the time we got home on Sunday, Addy reminded us by bringing home SEED TICKS.

Needless to say, after a trip to the groomer, a new dose of FrontLine (I admit that we were behind on her dosage -- DO NOT do this!!), several combing operations, and A LOT of vacuuming... We are TICK FREE!!!  But, it's been a long - and tedious/disgusting - road.

Dear Addy, I don't think you will be camping again for a while!  As it turns out, your mom is more of an outdoorsy girl than you are!

5 comments:

  1. oh gross! I have never heard of seed ticks before but after looking at your picture I can't stop itching!

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  2. I so feel your pain! Miss Raven had two rounds of fleas this summer. Oh, how I loathe them! And shame on me for being behind in my girl's frontline, also. :(

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  3. Yuuck! Glad you got 'em all off Addy girl!

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  4. I'm with Addy, sofa and comforter! I can't believe you went camping after your huge trip! That'd be enough for me for a year. Did you color code stuff this time?

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  5. They have discovered a new spirochete that is passed through the tick eggs to the larvae - B. miyamotoi - unlike Lyme, which very rarely passes to this stage. Larvae are very vulnerable to permethrin sprays - if they walk on treated fabric, they die. I spray all my outdoor clothing, especially socks and pants. You can also find pretreated clothing on the internet, as well as treated leg warmers and gaiters.

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