Skip to main content

Hey, look who's here already: One of our least favorite summer critters

Warm weather gave ticks an early start in Minnesota this year.

There are lots of things to like about this time of year. But if we made a list of our favorite things about spring in Minnesota, probably none of us would put "The arrival of blacklegged ticks" anywhere on that list.

We're stuck with them, though.

A Health Department epidemiologist, Elizabeth Schiffman, tells MPR News ticks have come out earlier than usual this year, thanks to a warm spring. Schiffman says it looks like the tick population will be pretty typical but says the number of Minnesotans getting tick-borne diseases has been rising and now averages about 1,500 per year.

There are more than a dozen different kinds of ticks living in Minnesota, the U of M says. But only a few of them are likely to be seen by people. And only one of those – the blacklegged ones, which used to be called deer ticks – carries diseases.

Lyme disease is the best-known, but there are also other illnesses you can get from a tick.

Tick tips

Since the ticks aren't going away, how can Minnesotans coexist with them and not get sick?

The main things are to use insect repellent and to check your clothes and skin for ticks when you've been outside.

Ticks live in the woods or in grassy areas. So if you're hiking, staying on a trail is your best bet for avoiding them. Experts say when ticks get on people, it's usually below the knee and then they start crawling up. So putting repellent on your socks and pants is a good idea. And wearing light-colored clothes makes it easier to see any ticks that get on you.

Removing them

If you do find a tick on your skin, the Health Department says you should ignore various folk remedies about removing it with a burning match or some Vaseline. Instead, just grab ahold of it as close to your skin as you can and pull it straight out, maybe using a pair of tweezers or a tissue.

There's a video here that shows you how.

Lyme disease

If you develop a case of Lyme disease, early treatment is the best defense. The symptoms include a fever and headaches or muscle aches. But a tell-tale sign of Lyme disease is a rash in the shape of a bullseye.

The CDC says the rash occurs in about 70 to 80 percent of Lyme disease cases.

Minnesota's Health Department has mapped the parts of the state where the risk of contracting Lyme disease is highest.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-01-27 at 9.15.45 PM

Buckeyes crash the glass, fend off Gophers

E.J. Liddell dominated in the paint to help No. 16 Ohio State.

nicolas blouin flickr fire hose

Fire departments decry drivers running over hoses, endangering crews

It happened in two separate Northland cities this week.

All Energy Solar - Bringing Panels to Roof

All Energy Solar reaches growth milestones with higher goals yet for 2022

Minnesota solar company continues to thrive through building a strong workforce

Royal Canadian Mounted Police maintoba crossing crop

Authorities ID family found frozen to death at MN-Canada border

They're still trying to unravel how they got there and who might have helped them.

covid

Mayo Clinic specialist: 'The omicron surge is not over'

Experts expect a rapid decline over the next month followed a period of calm.

police lights

Charges: Man in stolen Jeep leads police on 110 mph chase

He crashed into a light post near the Capitol and then fled on foot, the complaint says.

kua dog go fund me

Puppy in back of stolen Audi found, reunited with owner

The 4 1/2-month-old bullmastiff had been missing more than a week.

Fuzzy Gerdes Flickr Franks Diner Kenosha

WI's best 'hole-in-the-wall' diner is Guy Fieri-approved

Come for the "garbage pile," stay for ... even more breakfast food.

FKISmwPWUAYZJW6

Minnesota's pre-pro women's soccer team unveils name, logo

The new name and look was unveiled after community owners voted on a winner.

fentanyl DEA

21 people charged in connection to drug trafficking in northern MN

Police say the organization sold more than 10 pounds of heroin and fentanyl in northern Minnesota.

Band Box Diner Courtney Mault Flickr

MN's 'best hole-in-the-wall diner' is, sadly, currently closed

MSN recently published its pick for best diner in each state.

Related

Hey, look who's here already: One of our least favorite summer critters

Warm weather gave ticks an early start in Minnesota this year.

Turkey in the straw? No, this one was on the couch

A Twin Cities couple came home to find a wild turkey had broken in.

Turkey in the straw? No, this one was on the couch

A Twin Cities couple came home to find a wild turkey had broken in.

Hiking instead of shopping? MN parks will be free again on Black Friday

The DNR wants you to show visitors from out of town the beauty of Minnesota's parks.

Hiking instead of shopping? MN parks will be free again on Black Friday

The DNR wants you to show visitors from out of town the beauty of Minnesota's parks.

The country's best botanical garden is right here in Minnesota

In your face New York! Minnesota is number one.