Sunday, May 31, 2009


Yup, you read that correctly ... NO TICK SEASON IN FLORIDA!
That's because they are present and hungry year 'round in my experience.
A "tick season" implies there is some beginning and end to their activity, and thus, some period of time where they are not an issue when walking in the woods.


This one was enjoying a bite just behind my knee. She needs the protein so she can make more.

This was the result of an brief dog walk in my woods where I skipped any insect repellent. These little arachnids aren't usually a problem if I stay to the path and don't dally too long amongst the brush. On this day, "usually" lived up to it's unreliable reputation.

I know there is a whole litany of techniques to remove embedded ticks ranging from the application of flame to all manner of chemical coatings, but I find a steady "grip and pull" works just fine.

This girl came out and took a ride down the toilet.

I try and avoid tick bites for the obvious Lyme Disease connection, but my more immediate concern is the itchy skin reaction to their bite. My skin doesn't react much to bites and stings, but ticks leave an itchy bump that lasts for a week or so.

Behind your knee is not too big a deal if you get the itch while in public, but ticks have a reputation for seeking out less acceptable public scratching areas, so I always keep some insect repellent in my JEEP for these woodsy adventures I share with you.

I usually spray socks and sneakers, jeans too if it's winter, but I keep the stuff off my skin as much as possible.

This seems to work well, since despite the photo above, I rarely get ticketed.


Miz S said...

I suppose ticks have their place in God's grand scheme, but DAMN they give me the heebie-jeebies.

robin andrea said...

Great photo of that little bugger embedded in your skin there, fc. We saw a few ticks out on a trail the other day. I took a nice closeup photo of one that was seriously leaning out off a leaf as far as it could with its two front legs extended just looking to hitch a ride. They are sneaky little things.

Florida Beach Basics said...

you do have a way with words! good pic - when I first looked at it, I thought you had the tick on a leash, which would be odd, even for you. :) marge

Nancy Ortiz said...

She looks just like some sort of faceted gem--an old-fashioned diamond. I've certainly met my share of ticks--Miami in the old days was not a tick-free zone. But, at least you can see 'em. Chiggers drive me wild--under the skin where you can't get at 'em itching away! Errrrgggghh!

Deb said...

Ughhh! It's the same with me, mosquitoes I can stand but tick bites make me itch. So far in our "tick season" we've had lots of wood ticks but very few deer ticks.

SophieMae said...

UGH! I HATE those things! I truly believe thay may just be the most loathsome creature on the planet. Warning: do NOT try those other methods! I found out the hard way... the tick will not back out. She'll just regurgitate under your skin and cause a much worse reaction. Ò¿Ó

Wordus aproposus: moleste

Cathy S. said...

Ugh! I hate ticks, especially ones on me! I picked up one in one of those unmentionable places when on vacation in coastal Georgia once. I was screeching so loud the hotel staff probably thought my husband was killing me as he pulled it off. Instead, he was laughing at me. Shame on him. We have found that giving our dogs Comfortis pills for fleas also gets rid of ticks not only on them, but it sterilizes the ones that they come in contact with as well. It is expensive, but I am willing to do it for a little peace of mind. Where there is one tick, there are many. Ick!

Sayre said...

I'm a firm believer in grip-n-pull. After living in Wakulla County for 11 years, I'm a pro at it. My husband came home covered in the little suckers one day - so tiny that I had to use magnifying classes and tweezers. Pulled out over 200. That's when I stopped counting.

Not so many anymore now that we're townies, but he still goes to the woods and comes home with one or two each time.

SwampAngel65 said...

Ticks just freak me out..I had one on me ONCE and screamed the loudest I think I've ever screamed in my life. Made my husband pull it off me. Now, I'm going to Pennsylvania on Friday and my friend there says they have LOTS of ticks up there...Lord, give me strength...

Amy said...

I've been following your blog for the past couple of months and really enjoy it. I finally had to comment on today's post because I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease this past Thursday.

I found the tiniest tick on me 2 days after hiking in San Felasco Hammock and when the raised, itchy bite did not go away for 2 months, I finally went to the doctor. The doctor gave me the same line as other doctors in the past about Florida not being an area of concern for Lyme disease but when he realized I wasn't going to stop asking questions he said he'd test for it "because you're just going to worry yourself sick over it."

I didn't get any of the rashes/fevers/etc but had never had an insect bite last for that long. I just wanted to let you and your readers know that lyme disease is in Florida and if they're concerned about it, they should insist their doctor test for it!

Carol said...

When ever we spend any time working in or around the bushes or clearing bits of the jungle (today we were cutting down Brazillian Pepper Trees) we strip on the back porch and the clothes go into the washer (also on the porch). None of those clothes come into the house. We dont want any ticks inside. Then you do a thorough body check, and hit the shower. Florida Living at it's best.

Floridacracker said...

Miz S,
I am so with you on that.

Wow, you must be a careful observer. I've never seen one waiting in ambush, only after the attack!

..."even for you."

Chiggers fall second on the itch factor for me, but I join you in hating the little monsters.

I get nothing from a mosquito, a momentary bump from wasp or bee, but let a tick bite me and it's a week of itch.

Loathsome says it all. They certainly qualify.

Cathy S,
Glad you survived. I know that med too. We use a heartworm pill "Sentinel" that protects against fleas and I think ticks also.

Whoa! He must have walked into a new hatch of babies. Ick! That is a lot of ticks.

Deepwoods off on shoes, socks, ankles, and pants.
Good luck!
The good news is Pennsylvania is a beautiful state.

Welcome to Pure Florida!!
Thanks for the thoughful and informational comment. My wife works in public health and yes, Lyme is here in FL. I'm glad you pushed the doc, and got the test and subsequent treatment.

Good technique! I left off the mandatory hot shower and check!
... And thank you for killing those invasive Brazillian Peppers!

swamp4me said...

Nice picture - mind if I borrow it for a program I'm doing on ticks?

I have some VERY disturbing pictures of a fawn with ticks -- haven't decided yet if I'm going to post them...

Felicia said...

Wow, I can't believe you let that thing hang on just so you could take that shot! That's suffering for your art!

Freste said...

Ticks are evil but surely can't equal the hideosity of fleas due to quantity and escapanisms. While sitting in a state park watching a youngster enjoy a late Spring birthday party, I sat under the trees, listening to the breeze waft the leaves here and there. The sound of the tide against the shore was relaxing. The sounds of he kids laughing and yelling was rejuvinating. All of that was a distant memory when I realized there was no breeze wafting the leaves but that I was sitting next to a critter who was no longer breathing and had been covered by brush and detrius. The sound of leaves rustling was actually 10 billion fleas jumping around on it and the leaves. I don't think I have ever dove into 40 degree water so fast in my life. Hate the nasty little buggers. Ack.

Floridacracker said...

Sure! Feel free to use it in your program. I'm thinking that foto must be REALLY bad.
No one likes bad things to happen to fawns.

Just long enough to take the picture and then it was gone.

Okay, that really creeped me out.

Robert V. Sobczak said...

I'm petrified of those things. It's the only reason I moved to Florida ... or one of its perks rather.

nfmgirl said...

Yep! I believe I had one in the same spot-- behind the knee. However I never even knew it. I noticed a little bump behind my knee in the shower, and I thought it was a new mole I'd never noticed. Didn't think too much about it. About a week later I was at work one day when that spot started itching like crazy. I found that the "mole" was now gone, and there was just a madly itching bite remaining. All I could figure was that I'd been an unwitting host to a tick for a week, before it dropped off and moved on. Ewwwwww!

Floridacracker said...

I'm confused.

That is an Ewwwwww.

Doug Taron said...

What a coincidence. I removed one about 15 minutes ago. I used the tweezers method. I
m lucky with tics- very little itching. Chiggers, on the other hand, pure evil.

Floridacracker said...

Evil incarnate.

S N B said...

Well, once again we are parallel.
I finally took my tick bite (from our May 21 field trip to Wakulla Springs) to the doctor today and I have an infection from it. The site redness is 6cm in diameter and has continued to spread. It is not likely that it is Lyme Disease, but another that is carried by ticks. Either way, the treatment is the same: antibiotic for 3 weeks.

Anonymous said...

Tick Season in Tampa Bay Area

I have been here 30 years and I have dogs. I know !

Tick season is usually, November and March. December, January and February, cold temps stop them dead in their tracks.

Last year, 2010, was the worst tick season I ever experienced in Fla. and it was the month of November.

This year, 2011, is starting off bad as the first tick on my dog was found 10/12.

I have found that they love mulch, pine needles, pine trees and wax myrtle trees which are a landscapers favorite in the part of Florida I live in. I am going to spray up 3 ft. on the wax myrtles and the mulch and grass beneath them and around them with Adams Plus Yard Spray [Bio Spot at Pet Smart is just as good]. Also, looks like time to start with Frontline Plus Flea & Tick or Pet Armor Plus from Wal*Mart [cheaper] is Oct. 1st, not Nov. 1st as I have done in the past. In the winter, I do not put anything on until March 1st, then I put on Frontline or Pet Armor for one month. From April to end of Sept., I put on Advantage II for fleas only, as the ticks are gone.

National Park Ranger told me years ago that the place were the ticks are is beneath Slash and Long-Leaf the needles ! I am now including Wax Myrtles !

Anonymous said...

Go here to learn about the two ticks we have in Florida. The American Brown Dog tick is the one I have to deal with in November and March !