Johnson County Government reminds residents to take precautions in warm weather to avoid exposure to ticks and other disease-carrying insects.
K-State Research and Extension and the Department of Health and Environment offer basic information and prevention tips for tick exposure.
“We’re expecting tick exposure to rise this season after noticing an increase in early tick activity and in the aftermath of mild winter conditions,” said agriculture and natural resources extension agent Rick Miller. “We’re asking residents to take precautions when spending time outdoors to avoid exposure to tick-borne illnesses.”
Ticks can be difficult to detect because the insects develop in four stages: egg, larva, nymph and adult. The American Dog tick, the Lone Star tick and the Brown Dog tick are the most common tick species in Johnson County.
Ticks typically feed on native wildlife or domestic livestock to meet their need for a blood host. Once they have fed, they drop to the ground and molt into their next stage. Ticks repeat the process three times as they move from the larva to the nymph to the adult stage. Blood hosts are typically a mouse, small rodent, a bird or a deer.
Ticks do not jump or drop from trees. Ticks crawl onto blades of grass, weeds or low bushes and wait for a host to brush against the vegetation. The tick immediately releases from the vegetation and crawls onto the host.
The Department of Health and Environment suggests the following ways to avoid exposure to ticks.
Extension professionals suggest that if you need help identifying ticks, take them to the county extension office and staff should be able to identify them or send them to state entomologists for testing.
Residents can send a close-up photo to Rick Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org and they can bring a sample to the K-State Extension Office, 11811 S. Sunset Drive, in Olathe.