Wherever you fall on the political spectrum, I think we can all agree on one thing. The temps have definitely been getting toastier. I remember as a kid, it was nothing to walk to school in 6+ inches of snow and think nothing of it. Here in the north, there was constant snow on the ground from November to April (sometimes May.) Not anymore. The past few winters, we’ve had big patches of green in our yard in January and February.
Don’t get me wrong…I love the warm weather. There’s nothing like golfing on a 70-degree day in early April. But there’s a reality to this…bugs love the warm weather too. Just like the temps, their numbers are on the rise. I’m not just talking mosquitos. Ticks, chiggers and other ankle biters are out in force. And if you think their bites are bad, consider the diseases they carry.
All the more reason to take care before you head out for a hike. Follow these simple, tick-prevention tips so you can step safely.
- Ticks become active around 45 degrees, so it you think cool weather keeps them dormant, think again. Apply your bug dope just to be safe.
- Know where ticks hang out. A tick will climb to the end of a long blade of grass or similar ground cover and wait for a host—that’s you!—to walk by and brush up against it.
- Dress appropriately. Eliminate openings where ticks can access skin. Tuck your pants into your boots. Wear long sleeves. Dress in light-colored clothing.
- Use bug dope, preferably one with DEET, permethrin or picaridin. Apply liberally and everywhere.
- When you’re out of the woods, check yourself…CAREFULLY. Check companions, children and pets too. If you find a tick and it hasn’t attached, don’t panic. Remove it like you would any other little bugger. If it has attached, remove it carefully with a set of fine-tipped tweezers. If you develop a rash or fever, consult your doctor immediately.
One last tip…don’t let the bugs keep you from enjoying the wonders of nature. With a few simple, sensible precautions, you’ll be able to enjoy the great outdoors, worry free and tick-free.