With Spring and Summer activities ramping up in Michigan, outdoor enthusiasts and general backyard lovers should be aware of a pest that often goes unseen, but could bring deadly results if not paid attention to. The Michigan Tick season is upon us.
There are over 20 known tick species in Michigan. Most often, they survive by feeding on wildlife. Several species of ticks are known to bite people and pets and may harbor dangerous bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Not all ticks carry diseases, but tick-related diseases such as Lyme disease do occur in Michigan and can be serious or fatal if not properly diagnosed and treated.
List of Common Types of Ticks in Michigan
Out of more than 20 different tick species identified in Michigan, there are four in particular that state residents should look out for:
When is Michigan Tick Season?
Michigan tick season generally runs from April to September when the weather is warm, but Ticks are hardy and can survive in colder weather.
According to Pest.org, Michigan will see a higher than normal Tick population this year due to warmer weather and above-average precipitation.
2021 Tick Forecast for the Midwest
The Midwest has some of the most abundant and diverse populations of ticks across the whole country. And because its natural areas so strongly resemble those of the northeast in terms of climate, the midwest is also a center for Lyme disease: apart from New England, the states around the great lakes see more cases of Lyme disease than any other region. Still, when it comes to ticks, there’s some good news for most of the Midwest. This winter and spring will likely see temperatures stay around normal, so tick season won’t begin any earlier than its usual late April start. Summer heat, however, is expected to linger, pushing September and October temperatures above average and extending tick season into the fall. In the lower midwest, however, a wetter than usual spring, coupled with a lot of severe flooding, is going to extend the habitats of many tick species, and make those areas habitable for longer than usual. So there could be a significant increase in tick activity in places like Missouri and the Ohio River valley.
Protect yourself and your family from Ticks
Avoid areas with ticks
- Ticks generally prefer shady, moist areas in wooded and grassy locations.
- Be extra vigilant in warmer months (April – September) when ticks are most active. However, ticks can be active anytime the temperature outside is warmer than 40⁰ F.
- Stay on well-groomed trails and avoid high grass, brush, and fallen leaves.
- Learn ways to keep your home and yard tick-free.
For more prevention information, visit MDHHS – Ticks and Your Health: Preventing tick-borne illness in Michigan.
Check skin and clothes for ticks after being outdoors
- Wear light-colored clothing to make ticks easier to see
- Perform daily tick checks, including your armpits, scalp, and groin
- Shower soon after coming indoors
- Remove ticks from your clothes before going indoors.
- Don’t forget to check your pets for ticks. Talk with your veterinarian about how to prevent ticks on your pet.
Use insect repellents
Insect repellents have been shown to be effective for repelling ticks. Repellents can be applied to clothing and skin. Whenever using an insect repellent, always read and follow the label use directions for proper application and safety concerns, and store away from pets and children.
For more prevention information, visit MDHHS – Ticks and your health: preventing tick-borne illness in Michigan.
What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Tick
If you do happen to find a tick on yourself, a family member, or a pet, you can follow a few simple steps to successfully remove it:
- First, gently pull back any hair from around the tick to expose the skin near the bite.
- Locate the head of the tick, grasp it as close to the skin as possible using fine-tipped tweezers, and gently squeeze. Don’t grab the tick’s body, as this can increase the chance of injecting the tick’s blood into the skin.
- Next, pull outward in a straight motion until the head comes out of the skin. Don’t twist or wiggle the tick, as that could tear the head off and leave it embedded in the skin.
- Once removed, clean the bite area and your hands with soap and water. Flush the tick down the toilet or wrap it tightly in a tissue before disposing in a closed receptacle.
See your doctor when necessary
If you develop a rash or fever within a month of removing a tick, see your doctor as soon as possible. Be sure to tell your doctor about your recent tick bite and when the bite occurred.
To learn more about Lyme Disease signs and symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment, visit CDC – Lyme Disease: What You Need to Know.