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If you plan on walking in the woods this weekend, watch out for ticks

A Black Legged Tick
(Michael Levin, Centers for Disease Control)
A Black Legged Tick

Tens of thousands of Michiganders will spend this holiday weekend camping or just going for a long walk in the woods.   But state health officials are warning that you may come into contact with ticks.

The blood sucking pests are becoming a bigger problem in the Upper Peninsula and the western half of the Lower Peninsula.    Ticks often attach themselves to mice, chipmunks, raccoons and other woodland creatures.  And a mild winter means ticks are more numerous.

Eric Foster is the medical entomologist at the Department of Community Health. Foster says there’s been an increase in recent years of tick-borne illnesses in Michigan, including Lyme Disease.

“With the tick populations doing quite well in the environment right now…we may see an expansion or more cases of this,” says Foster.

Foster adds ticks are not just a problem in the backwoods.

“They will be in the woods. But if your home buts up or is adjacent to a wood lot, you may find ticks along that bordered edge,” says Foster. 

Foster suggests using insect repellents and checking for ticks frequently if you spend any time in a wooded environment.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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