ticks 300MUHLENBERG COUNTY, KY (5/21/12) – Typically ticks begin to appear in late spring and early summer as warm weather sets in, but this year, cases of the annual pest were reported three to four weeks earlier than normal, said agents with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.
 
“I’ve been receiving calls about ticks for well over a month already from homeowners, farmers and hunters,” said Kenny Perry, Graves County agriculture and natural resources extension agent.
 
“I’m seeing them earlier than before and expect them to be a problem this year,” said Charles May, Perry County agriculture and natural resources extension agent.
 
The early appearance of ticks is likely due to the weather earlier this year.
 
“Winter survival was probably higher due to the mild winter, and the tick season started earlier because of the warm spring,” said Lee Townsend, extension entomologist with the UK College of Agriculture.
 
Townsend said the two most common ticks in Kentucky are the lone star tick and the American dog tick. The adult female lone star tick has a white spot on its back. The male is entirely reddish-brown. The American dog tick is reddish brown with mottled white markings on its back. Both tick species are most active during April through September throughout much of Kentucky. All developmental stages of the lone star tick feed on humans, but only the adult stage of the America dog tick does.
 
Neither tick carries Lyme disease. Infected American dog ticks can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Fortunately, the incidence of disease is very low in this state. Researchers are studying a possible link between the lone star tick and Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness (STARI) and human ehrlichiosis. Individuals who experience flu-like symptoms within two weeks of a bite or exposure to a tick should see a doctor and report any exposure to ticks.
 
Like Perry and May, Richard Whitis, Pulaski County agriculture and natural resources extension agent, received some very early questions about ticks and tick identification. They were due to the blacklegged tick, a species only occasionally found in Eastern Kentucky before this past winter. Unlike the other two ticks, adult blacklegged ticks are most active in November through April. The blacklegged tick is most commonly found in the Northeast and north central states.
 
Blacklegged ticks look very different than American dog ticks and lone star ticks. Blacklegged ticks have a reddish-brown body, dark head, long mouthparts and dark legs. Males have a dark plate that covers their whole body while females have a dark plate that only covers half of their body.
 
The blacklegged tick is the main vector of Lyme disease in the Northeastern and north central United States. While this tick also occurs in the Southeast, the risk of Lyme disease is very low across the region. This appears to be due to a major difference in feeding activity by immature stages of the tick. The tiny nymphs, which are the important stage for transmission of Lyme disease in the North and Northeast, do not appear to feed on humans in the South, Townsend said. Only adults have been found on humans in Kentucky. Since it is a new tick to the state and has potential human health implications, individuals who suspect they’ve found a blacklegged tick or nymph, should send a sample to their local office of the UK Cooperative Extension Service for identification.
 
Individuals can take several precautions to protect themselves from ticks. Wear light-colored clothing so ticks are easier to see. Use repellents containing DEET or Picaradin or clothing sprays with the ingredient permethrin. Please note the Environmental Protection Agency warns not to put DEET containing products on children's’ hands or near their eyes or mouth and to never put them on infants younger than two months. Keep lawns next to woods or bushy areas mowed. When individuals are working outdoors, hunting or hiking, they should inspect clothing, themselves and pets regularly for ticks. Ticks generally crawl around the body for an hour before attaching to feed so careful inspection is important, Townsend said. Avoid common tick habitats including tall grass, weeds, brush and forested areas as much as possible.
 
Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.
 
SurfKY News
Information provided by Darrell Simpson

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

In Other News...

Hume, Smithhart among Coach of the Year Honorees

WINCHESTER, Ky. (2/27/15) — Henderson County's Tyler Smithhart (Region 2) and Daviess County's Pat Hume (Region 3) are… Read More

Daviess County Traffic Advisory

DAVIESS COUNTY, Ky. (2/28/15) — A contractor for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet plans to ramp up work zone… Read More

Most Read This Week

February 21, 2015 7128

Traffic Advisory for Western Kentucky

in Top News For All Sites by KTC
February 25, 2015 6270

Multi-Agency Investigation Nets Large-Scale Meth…

in Top News For All Sites by Trooper Stu Recke
February 24, 2015 6162

Two Charged in Central City Meth Bust

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
February 22, 2015 5948

Easter Cuties Pageant in Memory of Shanice Bean

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
February 25, 2015 5899

New Asian Restaurant Coming to Madisonville

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
February 21, 2015 5691

Local Administrators Warn Employees to Watch for…

in Top News For All Sites by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

February 12, 2015

UPDATE: Name of Pennyrile Fatality Officially…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
February 09, 2015

Police Pursue Man after Fight at Taco Bell

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center

Stories Trending Today

February 28, 2015 1994

City's Parking Ordinances to be Strictly Enforced…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
February 27, 2015 1475

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Feb. 27, 2015

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
February 27, 2015 1275

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

in Hopkins News by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office
February 27, 2015 1177

Tim Thomas to Speak at Rescheduled Black History…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
February 27, 2015 1135

AIRPLAY: Travis Dukes Makes Stop for Jam Session

in Top News For All Sites by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
February 27, 2015 967

Mustangs Fall to McLean County in Three Overtime…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Steve LeMaster
February 27, 2015 959

Tips for Travelers Considering a Cruise

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
February 27, 2015 956

How to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions at Home

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
February 27, 2015 936

Whitfield Presses Health Secretary on Obamacare…

in General News For All Sites by Marty Irby
February 27, 2015 888

The Potentially Harmful Effects of Mold in Your…

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News