Ixodes scapularis deer tick.jpg

Hello, I am Deer Tick,

I belong to the order Ixodida. I am from the family Ixodes scapularis.

I have been around for about 145 millions years with most of my evolution and dispersal happening in the last 65 to 5 million years. So because I will not be going anywhere soon you should get to know me, especially if you like to go out into nature—-whether into the woods or your local city park.

I live all over the world thanks to migratory birds who I hop onto for a ride. They carry us everywhere they fly.

For us to thrive we need a dense population of hosts like deer and enough humidity for us to remain hydrated. I live for two years and I lay anywhere from 200 to 2000 eggs each spring. I am also very hardy.

I am the family you want to get to know (Ixodes scapularis). I am commonly known as the deer tick or black-legged tick and I can carry and transmit lyme disease. You do not want to get lyme disease as it is nasty, so prevention is better than cure.

It is much wiser for you to wear protective clothing in areas I am known to exist, and then remove all your clothes afterwards and preferably throw them in a hot dryer. Then check yourself very carefully for me as I can be as small as a poppy seed. And, if you find me crawling on you, remove me. If I am already embedded in your skin, then you need to remove me. It’s best to keep a living sample of me to get tested for lyme disease. Throw in a bit of grass to help keep me alive. 

I tell you this as I do not want to give you a disease. I am only doing what I am designed to do, which is suck blood. I am sorry that some of us do carry disease. If you do get bitten remove us within 24 hours.
To remove me use thin nosed tweezers and grab me as close to my head as you can and pull me straight out. Afterwards, wash the affected area with soap and water, or disinfect it with rubbing alcohol. Don suggests applying propolis tincture to the wound right after removal.

Sorry that I may spoil some of your joy of spending time in nature. That is why I am reaching out to you. I only infect a very small percentage of the people I bite, but that is still too much suffering, so please be mindful of my presence and tell your friends about me, too.