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Health, Science and Environment

Warm weather means ticks in Michigan

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As temperatures rise, the number of ticks people encounter increases.

 

Ticks can be found all over Michigan, a document from The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services shows, and the bugs can carry diseases like lyme disease. Officials said counties with the highest lyme disease risk are in the southern and western parts of the state.

According to Xavier Gagné, a sanitarian at the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department, ticks are usually found in dense natural areas.

“They tend to like forests; they like to hide under leaf cover,” Gagné said. “They also tend to be in grassy prairies — so anywhere where they can have shelter and shade.”

According to a document from the Health Department of Northwest Michigan, people should use insect repellent with at least 20% Deet while outdoors. Taking a shower and putting clothes in the dryer on high heat for 60 minutes after coming inside will also help reduce chances of a tick bite.

 

Those with pets should check them regularly for ticks and remove any immediately.

 

Gagné says if you find ticks on yourself or a pet, you should kill the bug. 

 

“If you just have it and you want to dispose of it you can just mechanically destroy them if you like,” Gagné said. “Just take a knife or fingernail and squish ‘em, don’t just put them in the trash, or even outside. You don’t want them in your backyard.”

 

According to Gagné, ticks will likely be active in Michigan until early November.