Friends of Kootenay Blog

Access stories and photos about the natural and human history of Kootenay National Park and Columbia Valley Includes highlights about the Friends of Kootenay National Park activities and programs.

 

So It Is Tick Season

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 Hungry Tick                                                                                  Full Tick
Photos by Mark Polnsky

 

Ticks are related to spiders and resemble tiny watermelon seeds with legs. They have sensory organs in their front legs that can detect carbon dioxide, odours & heat given off by hikers. So when the hiker passes within reach of the tick, it climbs on (ticks do not jump or fly onto their hosts).

The tick then crawls around the human body checking out likely drilling sites usually around the abdomen area and the back of the neck. Within a few hours the tick attaches itself with its mouth parts. Their salivary glands produce a cement-like substance that prevents them from being easily detached. If gone unnoticed, the female tick feasts on a blood meal for up to 7 days. Large folds in her skin allow her to blow up like a balloon, increasing her original weight by more than 100 times (in human terms this would be equivalent to an average woman sitting down to supper and leaving the table weighing 5 metric tons!). When she reaches the size of a small grape, she drops to the ground and after several weeks, lays a few thousand eggs and dies.

Protect yourself against Ticks
One trick the Friends of Kootenay suggest - is to put some dry ice into your hiking companion's pack. When the ice evaporates it gives off carbon dioxide so the ticks are then drawn more to your companion and leaving you alone. For other suggestions click HealthLink BC

There is also  Lyme Disease Information Session in Banff on Friday April 27, 2012.

Thanks Mark for use of your tick pics. To view more of Mark Polnsky’s excellent photos go to http://www.mplonsky.com/photo