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Experts warn tick season in Michigan could be worse than normal

Posted at 11:25 PM, Mar 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-29 23:25:04-04

(WXYZ) — As we wait for the warmer temperatures to stay, experts say there is a high chance we will see an uptick in ticks this year.

“Michiganders are still getting used to ticks,” said Howard Russell, an entomologist at Michigan State University.

In many parts of the state, these eight-legged insects just started popping up less than 20 years ago.

“We’ve just been lucky here in the Lower Peninsula until the last 15 years. We’ve had very few ticks,” Russell said.

He says things are starting to change as it gets warmer outside. Other experts believe climate change is playing a huge role.

“We saw a dramatic increase in deer ticks, the one that causes Lyme disease over a period of time,” he said. “I’ve already had a few reports and photographers of people who have found ticks on their kids or on themselves.”

He told 7 Action News that prevention is the best way to protect your family and animals from these pests.

“We treat our dogs with medication that keeps the ticks off them or will kill them when they get on the dog,” he said.

Repellents for yourself and children are also a good idea before you step out.

Russell says make sure tick inspections are done often, especially after a day out.

“Conduct very thorough tick inspections at the end of the day. Check the kids out, check yourselves out and remove them when you find them. I recommend tweezers — grab it where it’s attached to the skin and pull it off,” he said.

Once a tick is removed and the area on your skin is cleaned with alcohol, Russell says people can take a picture of the tick before getting rid of it.

As reported, ticks in Michigan may carry diseases that cause illness in humans and animals. Sending in a picture of the tick can help the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services identify if it is carrying a disease.

For more on how to share a picture of a tick, visit the state’s website.