Watch Out for Uptick in Tick Population

 The bug that gets everyone itching is making a big comeback this year.

As the weather gets warmer, the tick population in Michigan begins to explode.

We’re already seeing that trend here in Northern Michigan which has many experts amazed by the tick uptick.

“Even though we had some pretty cold winter weather this year, this humid spring weather really is advantageous for the tick population,” says Erin Lizotte, educator at the Wexford County MSU Extension. 

Ticks are common in Northern Michigan. But this season is starting off as an extreme one. “Even in areas where you wouldn’t suspect ticks to be, even in our mowed front yards we’re finding that people are finding ticks on them after they’ve come in the house,” says Emily Barger, veterinary technician at the Airport Animal Clinic. 

Deer ticks are the ones to look out for. They carry Lyme disease and are usually found along the lakeshore. But any kind of tick can be dangerous to your health. Lizotte says, “In this area what we’re primarily seeing are American Dog ticks, and American Dog ticks don’t carry Lyme disease but they can carry this Rocky Mountain Yellow Fever, which is also not very fun.”

And with the increase in ticks this year, the threat of Lyme disease also goes up. “It’s much easier to prevent Lyme disease than it is to treat Lyme disease if you’re dog should happen to get Lyme,” says Barger.

The Airport Animal Clinic in Cadillac has been warning people about the tick season, making sure people know to pat their animals down when they come in the house and what to do if you find a tick. Barger says, “If you do see a tick attached to your dog, you do want to try to remove it right away, you can use a pair of tweezers and grasp the body of the tick.”

And if you or your dog do get bit, save the tick and bring it to your doctor for evaluation. “I think it’s important to check yourself for ticks, so sometimes we can’t avoid getting ticks on us but if we can catch it early before they bite or within 24 to 48 hours then the prognosis is a lot better if it is a tick that’s carrying Lyme disease,” says Lizotte.

You can also bring the tick to your vet, or local MSU Extension to be tested for Lyme disease.