Spring, unfortunately, means ticks
as well as morels. Tick bites are extremely unpleasant, and can
endure for months — to say nothing of the fact that ticks
can carry some serious human diseases, like Rocky Mountain spotted
fever and Lyme disease. Morel hunters should be extra careful,
since they spend so much time in the woods.
Ticks have amazing life cycles; some parasitize one host, while
others parasitize three different hosts over a span of three yers.
They see hosts by "questing".
Questing ticks crawl up the stems of grass or perch on the edges
of leaves on the ground in a typical posture with the front legs
extended, especially in response to a host passing by. Certain biochemicals
such as carbon dioxide as well as heat and movement serve as stimuli
for questing behavior. Subsequently, these ticks climb on to a potential
host which brushes against their extended front legs.
in short, they are out to get you!
- Check yourself thoroughly and regularly for ticks while mushrooming!
- Check yourself thoroughly for ticks before getting back into
- Remove your clothes when you return from the woods, and check
for ticks. Some people recommend setting your clothes in a white
bathtub, where ticks will be easier to spot.
- Tucking your pants cuffs into your boots and wearing light colored
clothing can make it easier to spot crawling ticks.
Ken Gilberg, of the Missouri
Mycological Society, writes:
"To keep ticks from crawling up your legs, tape your pants legs
and socks together with duct tape. Not only will this prevent some
from getting in, you'll have the tape to pick the ticks off later.
It's easier to get them stuck to the tape than to try to handle
them in attempts to kill them by burning or squishing. Another
tip that has changed my life, is to treat pants and socks with
Permanone. This insecticide must be sprayed on hours in advance
in order to dry and permeate the fabric, but then you are well
protected. The treatment will last a week or so even if the clothes
are laundered. Thoroughly read the instructions on the Permanone
label. It's sold at Wal-Mart, not with the Off! but in the sporting
Use tweezers, and grasp the tick by the head, near the
point where it is buried in the skin. Kill the tick after removal
by burning it, flushing it down the toilet, or dropping it in rubbing
alcohol. (If you are worried about the possibility of the tick carrying
a disease, you will need to keep the tick alive by putting it in
a sealed baggie with a damp paper towel; this way way your doctor
can figure things out better later.) Wash and
disinfect the bite thoroughly
Tick Home Page at Iowa State Entomology
Information on Tick Biology at UC Davis Entomology
Removal at Ohio State Acarology
of Commercial Tick Removal Tools at Ohio State Acarology
Fact Sheet at Ohio State
Cited Page: Vredevoe, L. (n.d.). Background information on the biology
of ticks. Retrieved December 21, 2002, from UC Davis Entomology Web
CMS Editor's note: The most commonly found ticks in Colorado are
Mountain wood tick and the American