/ Just pulled a tick out my leg
Bloody global warming
I guess it depends where you are. If in the UK then yes not great if they are surviving in the winter. Did you find them bad this year? I found a lot crawling on me at the end of this summer in Scotland.
Seems like much better awareness than a few years ago but still plenty to go.
I've still only ever seen one once in all my 39 years.
I guess count yourself lucky then.
I work outdoors so I'm exposed to them on a daily basis. Pulled off hundreds over the years and had a 4 week dose of drugs after a bite from one near a crag in the woods in Scotland.
I've had quite a few over the years...
One I'll always remember had found his way to a very...ahem... special area of mine, and after his removal (which involved a mirror and a popular exercise position), I had him (her?) sat on a piece of tissue with me for nearly an hour while I had a well deserved beer. Just couldn't bring myself to finish it off, we'd shared things.... Eventually sent him to the big sheep in the sky.
Another, after a few days camping in the pyrenees, in the tent, I felt something on my neck while idly rubbing my face. When I asked my mate if I had something on my neck, he replied it's just your mole. I did I didn't have any moles on my neck, to which he laughed and said he'd been looking at it for a couple of days wondering how I shaved around it!
This is a worry.
We need a really solid frost.
Where abouts do you think you picked him / her up?
It's getting quite bad in the UK now, I've seen them all over the place, even in suburban parks in England. I spray my outdoor clothes with this stuff which apparantly kills them on contact. https://www.lifesystems.co.uk/products/insect-repellents/ex4-anti-mosquito-spray
Probably Quayfoot butress, Borrowdale
Jeez - this week ! ?? There's a lupin in full flower in a field at my work ! ?¿
Definitely global warming :-/
I don't know where my cat sleeps at night but I have removed 12 of them from him in the last 10 days.
> ... I've seen them all over the place, even in suburban parks in England...
Tick risk areas as previously defined were later found to be where people put themselves at risk doing outdoorsy things not particularly where there were massive numbers of 'predator ticks' - matching your observation.
Our dog's flea treatment is also a tick treatment. Do they not do the same for cats? Works really well we find
Ticks do last all year. I previously thought different until my dog got a couple in January. I got a ring rash from a bite on the Isle of Arran last April. The hospital sent me away saying it was just a bruise. Fortunately my local GP was better informed and got me on medication immediately.
There are quite a few good tick products for cats now. Look for products in the isoxazoline class which have transformed tick based disease in some parts of the world where ticks like the paralysis tick used to cause severe morbidity and death in pets.
Funny how relaxed we are about global warming. Seems most people just see it as annoying....
But some elements of Global Warming are just irritating, like my tick, my post didn't attempt to address the big stuff, just my tick.
It's quite difficult to relate to giga tonnes of ice and CO2 ppm and dont get me started on pH in the ocean
I think it's useful to think about the little stuff as well.
anyway I've got some serious leg scratching to do
Lymes disease is more than annoying!
> Probably Quayfoot butress, Borrowdale
Likely to be from the red deer that frequent that area and Black crag/Bowderstone - I wonder where they lurk when the bracken has died down - anyone know?
Was party to a discussion recently about increased number of ticks. Which included themes of global warming but also the discussion of conservation. The reduction in sheep grazing in the uplands due to over grazing as well as changes in practices/chemicals used in sheep dipping, combined with increases of deer leading to increased ticks.
I work in the outdoors and feel myself very lucky to have never had a tick whilst at work, although know many who have.
Did get a tick this year in Italy. I’m quite a moley person so didn’t notice it visually but a couple days later felt it in the shower on my thigh.
is there evidence that ticks have increased??
Good question. Probably not. Just increased incidence of them due to an increase in outdoor usage?
Yes, there are a few monitoring groups who have seen numbers increase such as these people http://www.bigtickproject.co.uk/tick-risk/the-risk-of-ticks-to-pets/
Number have been found to be on the up, see this paper Scharlemann JPW, Johnson PJ, Smith A A, Macdonald DW, Randolph SE: 2008. Trends in Ixodid tick abundance and distribution in Great Britain. Med Vet Entomol, 2 2 : 2 3 8 – 47
I picked up 3 once around 1965 in Kerry Ireland, Never had 1 here but my mate who bivved beside me on the Skye Ridge around 2000 was covered in them. We got 20 off him until he said "enough" I will get the rest out in private with the use of the above mentioned mirror. Don't sleep in holes that sheep or deer use is the moral of this story.
So I guess then it's whether land management or warming is at root of reported 17% expansion according Scharlemann JP et al
Yeah it’s an interesting discussion. People are often quick to pin global warming on things with out looking at a more localised and detailed picture. Another example would be the reduction in snow/ice coverage on mt Kilimanjaro but not looking at regional deforestation and increased monoculture farming changing the microclimate. (I use this as an example cause I heard bit about it on the radio few weeks ago) That’s not to say global warming isn’t also a factor.
Yes, global warming done deal but it's daft to ascribe all changes to that one issue, other major anthropogenic ' difficulties ' population growth, nitrification, deforestation and some natural change should also be considered.
It's complex but we like simple.
Ah! I'll have some extra carefulcchecks and warn people I know. Thanks..
Husband had a tick crawl off the dog onto his hand this evening. The dog is fully up to date with his bravecto so it obviously hadn't managed to bite on to the dog. We live in Snowdonia.
Dog was walked through an over grazed field of sheep, no deers anywhere nearby.
Absolutely. In my case it has been life-changing. I was bitten, in Switzerland, in 2013. I didn't notice at the time - no bull's eye rash. The first I knew was a couple of weeks later: flu-like fever, night sweats, delirium. The G.P. misdiagnosed it as an enlarged prostrate! I went untreated for two years, during which time my immune system kept breaking down and I started to suffer from severe joint pain. I was tested positive for Lyme in 2015. The antibiotics only work if you get an early diagnosis. The joint pain is slightly better but my immune system still crashes regulary without any notice - totally listless, I'm confined to bed until it slowly lifts: the Borrelia bacteria find their way into your lymph glands and cause havoc. The worse case scenario is if the Borrelia get into your heart or central nervous system. If you suspect you've been bitten, and if there's a chance the tick could have been attached to you for some time (they start to regurgitate into you after 24 hours), get yourself to a doctor, get treated quickly.
I was quite surprised to hear from a park ranger in Cardiff that they have an increasing problem with ticks. I'd always associated ticks with wild places not city parks. And then I'd have thought that most people would be treating their pets to minimise transfer from them.
There has been an increase in visits to the outdoor environment (MENE data 2016-18 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/monitor-of-engagement-with-the-natural-environment-headline-reports-and-technical-reports-2016-2017-to-2017-2018) but this includes all outdoor spaces eg urban parks so whether there's been an increase in numbers visiting places where ticks are abundant is hard to determine. It would be useful to know.
There has also ben an increase in the actual numbers of ticks, see this paper here https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18816272
It seems that the increase in visits to the outdoors combined with an increase in actual tick numbers have both combined to make it a much bigger problem than it used to be. I dont think were getting the cold winters that used to kill them off either.
> And then I'd have thought that most people would be treating their pets to minimise transfer from them.
Interestingly, many mainstream flea products do not have a good action against ticks (and so do not have marketing authorisation [aka drug licensing]), but in common with many people in this thread, pet holders not living in a rural environment consider this OK.
The lack of knowledge within the NHS is quite frightening. I went straight to hospital when the bullseye rash appeared a week after been bitten. They guy dismissed it as bruising but went off for a second opinion after I insisted what it was. The second guy just stormed in and grabbed my arm and said it was bruise. I left feeling in a bit of a panic because nobody would listen. I booked an appointment with my local GP and explained where I was, etc. She looked at me and asked "do you know what this is". I explained what the hospital said and what I thought it was. She replied we better get you onto the anti biopics straight away. She couldn't believe that they dismissed this as a bruise. Thankfully I got GP in the know. I have since read many dismissive remarks from GPs on the Internet regarding this. One shocking one from a GP was "have you ever been to Scotland. No. It's not lymme disease then"
It does scare me how little they know. How do you get the antibiotics if they just wont believe you? Is there a private lymes specialist or something?
In the mountains on a US trip it was getting dark and I felt a scratch on my ankle putting up my tarp, and then another scratch; I thought I was rasping my ankle bone on a rock. A bit later I felt it again and then had time to check and saw a tick in my ankle. I did not have a tick lifter then and wrongly swiped it off leaving the head in (don't do that). However painful it was going to be I dug the head out with penknife. I was days from any settlement so was bit nervous of any sniffle for a few days. The advice over there is to keep the tick so it can be identified which I did till I considered myself okay.
Slightly off topic, but does any one know why some people seem immune to the little blighters? I've walked all over uplands wearing very little, often barefoot (including the Rhinogydd Badlands, Peak, and areas with loads of deer) and have never seen one. In fact the last time was on our dog in the early 80s in the days where the discredited cigarette method was still in vogue. Not tasty enough? Thick skin? And no one I personally know has ever had one. Just intrigued.
No answer to your question but
Sat on bright yellow karrimat in Torridon with then girlfriend now wife, became aware of movement on the mat, maybe 20+ tiny ticks vectoring straight at me, nothing aiming at my partner. Same with midges, take chunks out of me very rarely bother my wife.
> maybe 20+ tiny ticks vectoring straight at me,
I don't want to go to scotland now!
Greg, I was recommended a book on a course of herbal treatment by Microbiologist Dr Mathew Dryden, who was running a Lyme clinic in Winchester a few years ago. It is "Healing Lyme" by Stephen Harrod Buhner, ISBN 0-9708696-3-0.
I was not treated initially and by the time I got antibiotics it was too late to be useful, but the treatment recommended in the book has helped quite a bit.
I'd recommend getting a copy and trying the protocol. Hope this helps you.
I got a tick every time I climbed in Borrowdale last Summer - at the Shepherds Cafe there was much comment about the ticks being worse
Where was this?
So true that, If i'm cutting the grass the horse flies always bite me and i just splat them with no sign of a lump afterwards. My partner only has to see one and she comes up in lumps and sores.
See my previous post on Skye Ridge, Mate next to me covered and not 1 on me.
Also the net info means that this problem gets more airtime than just 5 years back. Warm winters not helping either
I did a day with trees for life this year and the guy that took us has loads of tick bites over the course of a year and has had Lyme disease several times. He waits for the flu symptoms and aches then goes to the gp to get it sorted. Prevention is better than cure though, long sleeved top and bottoms all year round in highlands and tuck your socks in. At a crag near mallaig I picked off 78 on their way up my trousers, 4 still got me though...
Isle of Arran. Not even on a hill but at Brodick castle gardens sitting on the grass. I was lifting a outboard off a dinghy a week later and spotted what I thought at the time to be an oil stain on my arm. This changed to a bulls eye rash within hours. There is a picture on my UKC gallery of the rash.
> Prevention is better than cure though
Absolutely right there
My son is a teacher in west London. Picked up tick on school premises (probably in tiny environmental area). I think the young stages live on small mammals eg rats, mice etc.
Son often gets them but I've never knowingly picked one up. Last year on Skye for few days and scrambling up Dorset hillsides crisscrossed by deer tracks. Wear ordinary trousers or Ron Hills, not tucked in socks, and shirt often not tucked in either. Obviously very lucky or very obnoxious.
Warm dry summer polished off the midges last summer, great.
Still never been bitten by one.
I wonder if they seek out targets by smell and some of us don't make a nice niff?
Midges like the taste of me, though...
Cheers Mate!!!! Thought it was the alcohol myself.
Have taken a few off the cat, but then our house backs onto woodland.
Hadn't had any on me until I got one on my arse last summer - scratched what I first thought was a spot in the shower and ended up at walk in clinic to have last bit removed!
Buy the Lifeventure tick tweezers - they're great
They're a BIG problem here in Sydney, and especially as they are paralysis ticks.
They can kill your cat or dog within a couple of days if left untreated. Repeated bites by them cause mammalian meat allergy.
There's a lot of bad medical advice out there. But the accepted correct way is to use 'Wartner' or some other freeze spray to kill the tick and then wait for it to fall off. If you use a tick twister or tweezers then the little bugger will inject you with nasties which will cause a reaction.
I've had at least fifty ticks in the last ten years - our local crag is infested. I almost lost my cat to one about ten years ago when I was uneducated about them. My wife is a vet nurse and in tick season they see tens of cases a week..
Don't pull them out, use a freeze spray.
This is not the advice given by the NHS or the veterinary profession in the UK. Freezing with ethyl chloride spray was common in vets 30 years ago, but stopped when the product became very difficult to get and a recent systematic review concluded we haven't got good evidence for any technique. Are we sure that freezing a tick doesn't cause regurgitation? - I don't think we know.
Huygelen V, Borra V, De Buck E, et al. Effective methods for tick removal: A systematic review. J Evid Based Med 2017;10:177-188.
Freezing is the preferred way to remove a tick in Australia, but only for people who suffer with severe tick allergies (ie me, anaphylaxis). An ether based spray will kill a tick instantly before it can regurgitate anything. It will then eventually drop off or if large enough can be carefully removed with a tick twister, never tweezers as they can be squeezers. Severe tick allergy is apparently uncommon outside of Australia.
I have a good friend that live in Germany and we were chatting to him on a recent visit about ticks and he has had an inoculation against the little buggers (apparently it is an acknowledged problem in Germany?).
We checked if something similar was available in the UK and no such luck.
Vaccination protects against a different tick borne disease, Spring/Summer tick borne meningoencephalitis, a viral disease that is rather common in central Europe and Scandinavia (in some regions 90% of forestry workers are seropositive).
This disease is in most cases asymptomatic or very mild, so patients barely notice. However, it can in some cases also be much more severe with inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, and can even be fatal or lead to permanent neurological damage, hence the recommendation to vaccinate in some areas or Germany.
Unfortunately, nothing working yet on the Borrelia front...
Thanks for that info - whereas becoming allergic to meat proteins through tick bites is becoming mainstream knowledge - there is very little in the literature about the direct allergenicity. I am now going on a PubMed crawl!
In countries with endemic TBE (Tick-borne encephalitis), mainly continental Europe, personally I would get the TBE vaccination for any outdoor activity. The little vermin are everywhere, and TBE can be pretty debilitating, if it develops into full blown meningoencephalitis (rare, but ugly). Fortunately for the UK, so far it's not been reported. Lyme disease (borreliosis) is, though, and while there had been talks of a vaccine against it for years, the only one developed so far was later withdrawn amid some health concerns. And borreliosis can, if left untreated properly, stay dormant but cause trouble for the rest of your life as well.
We once found some ticks in winter, bivouacing in the snow in -10C. I don't know how the little beast survived there, if it was hibernating in firewood and got warmed up by the fire or what. Quite a surprise!
I just hate those critters...
There was news last year of a possible lymes vaccine being developed. Fingers crossed!
I've had the TBE vaccine for a couple of different trips, and would get a lymes one if it came available. Would happily pay for it if it wasn't available on NHS.
I am a real tick magnet. I find it incredible that some people never get them! I get loads of them every year. Trousers don't stop them, they just climb to my waist band and then find skin!
As you mentioned Ether containing sprays will kill the tick instantly. Here's a commercial version that is sold here in Aus, but Wartner, or 'Start you b.stard' and others will work too.
I live in the 'tick capital' of Australia (Northern Beaches), and the huge amount of anecdotal evidence here shows that ether sprays are the most effective at preventing follow on symptoms. .
At my daughters school, ticks on the kids are a daily occurrence, and this way works well. As the article above states there hasn't been any medical studies into the best way to remove them, but this is the way the local Doctors in A&E have found works best.
I've removed ticks in many different ways, and freeze spray is the way that leaves me with least reaction after the incident. Other ways I've had massively itchy bite marks and inflammation.
Do whatever you feel comfortable doing, but I don't really see what the downside of trying this is at it instantly kills the tick, and freezes its inside, and it then just falls off!
Good article thanks. I've been using the freeze method for quite a few years now. It's the only way to guarantee they die instantly without disturbing them. The only time I would let anyone near me with tweezers of any sort would be on a tiny dead larval tick in a medical facility. At home I have a large can of "start you b*strd". I went to Chemist Warehouse a few ages ago but they didn't have that in stock and ended up buying some wart-off freeze spray from local pharmacy at about 3 times the cost.
I live in very dense bush area in Sunny Coast hinterland; it's probably not much better than tick city and I always get dressed up and Bushmanned when going out. Also carry freeze spray, tick twisters, nit comb and some powerful cortisteroid pills. Debating whether or not to start carrying some needles and adrenaline that I keep in the fridge at home for emergencies.
Bite prevention seems the way to go. Any bite I get involves about 5/6 days of severe "local" inflammation. All hell breaks out only if I accidentally disturb one. I've chatted with a couple of people on allergy forums who have treated all their clothing and even bed linen with permethrin solution. Commercial treated clothing is expensive but home-brew methods work well and last a long time through many washes. Pyrethrum spray (natural permethrin) is a good and easy alternative that's been recommended to me - just spray on clothing/fabrics. Not sure, but think it might remain effective for a wash or 2, but nowhere near as good as the permethrin soak/dry.
That's right. I spend quite a bit of time in the Black Forest, Germany. A friend of mine was bitten by a tick, went to the local doctor, in Freiburg, and was given an injection against Spring/Summer tick borne meningoencephalitis, followed by a booster jab a week or so later. You are correct in stating that there is no vaccination against Borrelia (Lyme). In the Black Forest it is common to see groups of walkers, after a day in the hills, checking each other all over for ticks. They tend towards the soft skin - around the groin, behind the knees. Always carry tick tweezers.
I'd never heard of the freeze spray approach until reading these posts, and it looks very sensible, so thanks for that folks. Now, does anyone know what UK options there are here? Just looked on Amazon so I see there are pet products which may be ok for human use but I'm not sure about that. It also occurs to me that the sprays you get for muscle/joint problems might work but if anyone knows more about these things it would be useful.
I have pretty good experience so far with permethrin spray on clothes and deet on skin combo.
Spray the clothes especially in the places where ticks jump on you (legs, top of shoes and top of socks , arms, shoulders) and then also deet in the places where they first would try to crawl into your clothing to find a good spot (lower legs, arms/hands, neck/face, around the waist.).
The inside floor of my tent and the matras also gets a layer of permethrin in case they crawl off my backpack or clothing and want to make their way to me in my sleep.
Before this method with permethrin always had some ticks with every trip in scotland, but this last trip (6 weeks in september and october) didn't find one the whole time.
This is the brand i used:
I live in a Borrelia and TBE endemic area, and have to remove several hundreds of ticks each year. IMO, tick tweezers, tick cards (with a V shaped slot), extractor pens, and sprays are all widely overrated.
Just use your fingernails or the back of a knife and quickly scrape the tick off. Worst that can happen is that a tiny fragment of the capitulum (the modified mouth parts forming the stinging/sucking feeding apparatus) remains stuck in the outer parts of your skin. Don't forget to crunch the tick out of revenge afterwards!
As you say, unlike moskitos ticks will usually take their time to first find a suitable spot with soft skin and then drill through it, so a quick tick hunt after hiking through tick country is sensible and normal practise.
By the way, if you think the lower reaches of the Black Forest are bad, try your luck in the Mooswald in the Rhine valley just to the west of Freiburg.... Many years ago I helped my wife inspect beetle traps in the dense undergrowth in this area, and we were covered in the beasts within minutes despite wearing wellies and tightly closing plastic overtrousers!
I wear shorts as soon as it gets warm anywhere in the world, and I always go walking wherever I go. If I walk through long grass or bushes I am in the habit of checking my footwear, ankles and legs about every five minutes for nasties, including ticks. Only takes a couple of seconds. I find it hard to believe that there are people who have only encountered ticks once or twice in a lifetime, although I suppose it has to be admitted that the UK is one of the most benign places in the world with regard to nasties. (I am not talking the human species!)
Haha yes John. I'm a UK ex-pat, who now lives in a Sydney 'suburb'. In my garden we have;
trap door spiders, mouse spiders, red backs, funnel webs, golden orb, ticks, red belly black snakes, small eyed snakes.
My cat has brought a few of the latter into the house. Then if you go to the beach you can surf with bull sharks, bronze whalers, white pointers and blue bottles.
In reality you have to be very unlucky to get bitten by any of this. I've had at least half a dozen benign shark encounters over the last ten years.
IMHO Ticks fall into the category of seeming benign but actually being pretty nasty here..
Not even once or twice. Either they don't like me or I've somehow never noticed them (is that possible?)
Can't believe that I've just been lucky all this time.
Yes, I lived in Australia for three years and encountered lots of nasties there - in fact most of the species are nasty IIRC - unlike neighbouring NZ.
And I whine about getting a cobweb in the face when walking down the side of the garage from time to time!
In 39 years, as I said, I've never either had one or seen one apart from once. And I wear shorts pretty much all the time.
I do wonder if they indeed don't like the taste/smell of some people, just as some people seem to be left alone by midges.
> In 39 years, as I said, I've never either had one or seen one apart from once. And I wear shorts pretty much all the time.
How often do you get out in the hills in Scotland?
Near enough never, but they're not exclusive to Scotland.
The one I did see was picked up in the New Forest, which is about as far from Scotland you can get in the UK.
> ... they're not exclusive to Scotland.
Yes of course.
However my point was that they are now very common in Scotland: if you walk in areas of heather, long grass or bracken in any season other than Winter you will almost certainly pick some up.
> How often do you get out in the hills in Scotland?
I play in the Scottish Highlands (weather permitting) every week throughout the year. I've been doing so for over 30 years. I can count on the fingers of one hand the ticks I've had to remove. I have no scientific explanation why I appear so unpalatable to ticks, just very grateful for having inherited some bad taste.
They found a snake in Australia that had 500 ticks on it! The pictures are grim https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-46833426
Oh no. You should have added a sterner warning, I did click through No way I am ever going hiking the outback Down Under without a full-on NBC suit :D
A python covered in 500 ticks is like the ultimate monster. If it doesnt strangle you it will give you lymes disease.
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