Worried about tick-borne illnesses? Get ticks tested for free!

Many of you know that I am not a big fan of ticks. They have literally prevented me from enjoying outings in the woods. I rarely venture out of my chicken patrolled yard.

I hate ticks. I think we should use DDT for a number of years to reduce ticks, and many other insects that are growing immune to current pesticides.

I have had two ticks embedded in me this year, and my son has had one embedded on his chin. I can’t even begin to imagine how many ticks we have pulled off our three cats.

We are keeping an eye out for the symptoms of tick-borne illnesses, but seriously you can have any number of those symptoms, for any number of reasons. If we ran to the doctor for every little thing we’d spend a big chunk of our lives there!

But now, if you find a tick on you, there is a way to tell if the little parasite is packing any worrisome toxins. Some folks out in California, called Bay Area Lyme Foundation, are conducting “a citizen science project… to compare past and potential future distributions of ticks and tick-borne disease.”

If you would like to learn more about Bay Area Lyme Foundation, and their free tick test, go to http://www.bayarealyme.org/

In the meantime, do what you can to keep the ticks of you when venturing off your front lawn… Wear long pants, and tuck them into your boots, or stockings. Tuck your shirt into the waist of your pants. A long-sleeved shirt with elastic cuffs will help keep them off your arms.

The best defense is an insect repellent with a high concentration of D.E.E.T. or clothing treated with Permethrin.

After coming in from outdoors, check carefully for ticks. It supposedly takes a tick several hours to embed once they are on you, but I don’t buy it. My son’s tick was the smallest I had ever seen, and was embedded on his chin. It hadn’t been there when he left for school in the morning. His tick also went against the norm in that it wasn’t in a hidden location like the belly button, or under the arms.

Another option is that you can do like I do, and stay out of the woods. So far that has gotten ticks embedded on me twice this year. That is a tie for the number of ticks I have ever found embedded in my whole life!  The first was in the 1980’s, with the second in the 1990’s.

So now when you find ticks on you, your family, or your pets,  you can send those ticks away for free testing! Then when you get the report emailed to you, and find out the tick WAS carrying Lyme, or something worse, you can obsess about it like I will!

Have fun out there!

Doug Alley

About Doug Alley

I grew up in Bath, Maine in an upper lower class family with 3 step sisters, a step brother, and a little sister. After high school I spent 3 years serving in the USAF at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage AK. I've competed in, and won, demolition derbies. I've competed in, and never won, stock car races. I am the 47-year-old father of an 11-year-old boy who is pretty sure he is smarter than I ever was. We live on a little less than an acre of land in a 1973 mobile home in Stetson with my wife Jen, some cats, a few chickens, and rabbits, and a couple of goats. I hunt, fish, camp out, dabble in photography, gardening, and I cook in variable degrees of near success.