Experts offer tips to stay safe from ticks in Montana this summer

Posted at 3:09 PM, Jun 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-12 17:09:56-04

BILLINGS – Summertime means spending time outside, which also means ticks. Yellowstone County Extension Horitculture Assistant, Amy Grandpre shared some tips for dealing with these pests. 

The mobile stage of most ticks takes place during the spring and summer months. 

Ticks have serrated parts in their mouths that puncture the skin and attach.

Tick’s saliva contains anesthetic properties, explaining why it’s easy to not know they’re there.

So how do you get them off of you?

"Normally what you want to do is grab as close to the head of the tick as you can with the tweezers, just pull gently up until it releases, then of course put the rubbing alcohol on before and afterward to make sure you keep the infection down," Grandpre said.

One danger of ticks is irritation to the area of the bite, and the spreading of pathogens from the blood of several hosts.

"A lot of these old wives’ tales, you know put the vasoline on them, burn them with a match, probably isn’t that effective. The important thing that you don’t want to do is encourage that insect to push liquids into you, because then that’s a little more trouble," Grandpre said.

If you’re going to be in the country where ticks may be, Grandpre advises wearing light-colored clothing to make them easier to spot, as well as pulling up long hair.

"I personally love to tuck my pants into my socks. One of the fastest ways and the sneakiest ways for a tick to get in is they get on your shoe and go up inside of your pants leg. And of course you don’t know about it until several hours later." Grandpre said. 

Ticks detect vibrations, heat, and odor to find a host.

"Do check your animals for ticks and stuff like that because they do get on them as well. You do want to be careful too, especially with the ticks to try to eliminate any spots around your yard, if you’ve got some thickets and stuff like that and you’re prone to get ticks." Grandpre said. 

Tick bites can lead to bacterial diseases in animals, including fever and pain in their joints to paralysis and death if treated too late.

And always check yourself after you’re out, and your furry friends, too, Grandpre said.

She added that keeping the tick in a container with alcohol can be very helpful to medical professionals should you start showing symptoms of illness. She recommends to keep it in rubbing alcohol.