Ticks are those pesky bugs that no one wants. However, ticks are not a bug, but are classified as?arachnids,?or relatives of spiders, scorpions, and mites. Most people fear ticks and once you come in from the woods you might be constantly checking yourself to see if one has gotten on you. Did you know that ticks need moisture and shade? Ticks are commonly found at the bottom of trees, in leaf litter or on blades of grass. Ticks typically do not climb higher than three feet. They do not fly or jump. They crawl and clasp onto their animal or human with their legs.  

Unlike most other insects and arachnids that bite, ticks feed for long periods of time. They bury their teeth deep into the skin of their host. It is crucial that you remove a tick within 24-48 hours to prevent the transmission of infection like Lyme disease.  

Ticks in Pennsylvania as of July 27, 2021: 

Ticks are most active during warmer months, which is why we typically see more instances of tick bites and cases of tick-borne diseases this time of year,” Pennsylvania?Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson said. “This year in particular, we are seeing increases in the number of Lyme disease reports across the state, and clinicians are reporting that they are seeing more cases of other tick-borne diseases, such as anaplasmosis. As Pennsylvanians continue to spend more time outdoors, we are urging everyone to take steps to prevent tick bites, such as wearing insect repellent, putting permethrin on their shoes, gear and clothing, and doing frequent tick checks.” 

If you plan on doing any hiking, make sure to cover your bare skin the best way possible. Simple precautions like making sure your pants are tucked into your socks and wearing lighter colors so you will be able to spot a tick, are important. Be sure to use a tick repellent or an EPA approved insect repellant. Take a shower immediately to help wash away any tick that may be crawling on your body. Put all clothing into the dryer and turn it on to kill them. Avoid any tick infested habitat such as areas dense with shrubbery or tall grass.   

If you find a tick, always use tweezers and or a tick remover. Do not twist or turn, pull it directly out and then flush it, put it into alcohol or wrap it in tape to properly dispose of it. If you feel it has been longer than 24-48 hours, seek medical attention. 

“It is always important to take preventative measures so you can enjoy the mental and physical health benefits of being in the outdoors, especially with regard to ticks,” Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “As tick-borne diseases are becoming more prevalent in Pennsylvania, it is critical to be aware of the risks and be prepared when spending time outdoors year-round, whether that is visiting one of our 121 state parks, hiking our more than 2.2 million acres of state forestland, or enjoying your own backyard.”   

Always protect yourself and enjoy your Pennsylvania camping experience. Do not let those pesky little ticks ruin the fun!