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Scientists say Ohio will see an increase in parasitic ticks this year

Image from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website depicting types of ticks.
Ohio Department of Natural Resources
There are also an abundance of hosts in Ohio, like deer for ticks to feed on.

Scientists say that we will see an increase in parasitic ticks in Ohio this year.

A news release by the Ohio State University warns that the number of parasitic ticks are on the rise this summer, and will continue to grow in the years to come. Experts say that this is largely due to climate change and an increase of hosts for the ticks.

As temperatures warm, ticks from southern and western states are able to migrate to Ohio. The conditions during summer months become more favorable to emerge earlier and to live longer.

It also allows for ticks to “overwinter” longer, or survive in the winter by going dormant. With winters becoming increasingly warmer, the conditions are easier for the ticks to survive.

Coupled with a large population of hosts, such as deer, to feed on, ticks have it made in Ohio according to experts.

“It’s like a perfect storm of events,” Dr. Don Cipollini, a professor of biological sciences at Wright State University, said. “Conducive environmental conditions coupled with plenty of hosts.”

With an increase in ticks comes an increase in diseases they carry, such as lyme disease. Additionally, some ticks, such as the Lone Star tick, can cause an allergy to red meat after a bite.

Despite the growing number of ticks carrying potentially harmful diseases, Dr. Cipollini says that people should not be discouraged from going outdoors.

“You can take precautions to enjoy nature even in the presence of these things, as long as you know what to look out for and you’re diligent about it,” he said. “Your education is your best weapon.”

Dr. Cipollini urged people to be aware of your surroundings while outside, especially in grassy or bushy areas. You can wear boots while hiking, tuck your pant legs into your shoes/boots while in brushy areas, and utilize insect and tick repellents.

The most important thing is to conduct a thorough check of yourself and your pets after being outside for an extended period of time. Dr. Cipollini said if you do find a tick on you or your pets, grab it between your thumb and forefinger and steadily pull until it comes off. You can also use tweezers.

You can then put the tick in a container or Ziploc bag and store it in a refrigerator or freezer before quickly being sent off to your local health department to check for diseases. Begin monitoring yourself for symptoms of illnesses, which you can learn more about at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources or Ohio Department of Health websites.