MSU Extension Reports Increase In Ticks, Warns Of Campground Encounters Over Holiday Weekend

"We all know they are there, it’s just being cautious and smart and using your head,” says Monica Wentz, a staff member at Camp Cadillac.

It’s the creepy-crawly that tries to latch on to you when you are enjoying the outdoors.

And they’re out in full force.

Researchers at MSU say tick populations have gone up considerably this year, alone because of the mild winter.

And the chances of coming across one this holiday weekend is likely.

9&10 News / Fox 32’s Cody Boyer delves into the dangers of ticks and what campgrounds are warning as you enjoy your holiday.

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“They hang out on the edges of grasses and plants and things, just waiting for any mammal to pass by,” says Duke Elsner, MSU Educator of Small Fruits & Crop Horticulture in Grand Traverse County.

MSUE educators like Elsner say there is an uptick of ticks.

“Ticks are pretty much everywhere in the environment,” Elsner says. “The numbers come and go and, the last few months, I’ve had more calls about them.

Most large insects are pretty easy to see when you are out camping, but ticks and other things like them, are a little bit different and Elsner says you may need a closer eye to see them.

“The black-legged tick, also called the deer tick, is known to transmit Lyme disease fairly efficiently,” Elsner says. “It’s important to keep an eye on the bite site and look for possible symptoms.

Campgrounds like Camp Cadillac say stay vigilant — use bug spray when you can.

“It’s like mosquitoes. You know they are there,” Wentz says. “Some bite some people. Some bite others. Ticks are the same thing. Make sure that you check your clothes before you go inside your tent or camper real well and when you are showering.”

If you do find a tick on you, Duke says to remove it with tweezers, unlike the viral idea of using peppermint oil.

And to always keep an eye on tick bites.

“Research has shown that it takes quite a few hours of feeding for an effective transmission so I guess it would be possible in a short time, but normally it takes a long time,” Elsner says.

“Get out. Get a hot dog,” Wentz says. “Ticks are going to be fine, just be cautious and smart about it.”