It’s tick season, and researchers from Norway’s University of Agder are shedding light on myths and facts about these parasites.
Ticks are blood-sucking parasites. The good news is that a tick eats only three times in its lifetime.
They have a lifespan of 2-8 years and spend most of their time waiting.
After the first meal, wait for the larvae to turn into nymphs. After the second meal, wait until it becomes an adult.
The third meal is the last.
Tick larvae are tiny mites, not like elongated butterfly caterpillars, but as small as the smallest point you can make with a pencil. As soon as you eat a full stomach, it will fall to the ground. After a while it goes dormant and grows into a nymph.
Nymphs go through the same cycle, finding food and falling to the ground, hibernating and transforming into adults.
suck blood during mating
Ticks wait to mate between meals. Male ticks wait for a mate in the animal’s fur. And while the female tick feeds, the male takes advantage of the mating opportunity.
After mating, the female waits several days before laying about 1000 eggs. Then she dies, having completed her lifelong mission. Now new ticks are appearing.
Each spring and summer, these headlines appear in newspapers. The tick has grown. has become increasingly dangerous. And now I’m here to pick you up
Myths about ticks
UiA Associate Professors Randi Eikeland and Vivian Kjelland are experienced tick researchers.
Mr. Eikelund is a physician, neurologist, and expert in tick-borne diseases. Her research is specifically concerned with how Lyme disease affects the nervous system.
Kjelland is a molecular biologist and tick researcher, specifically studying what pathogens ticks carry.
The researchers assure us that
No, ticks are not getting bigger.
No, you can’t fly.
No you can’t jump. No, they won’t chase you.
Tick researchers say there’s something we should be aware of.
Yes, ticks can carry bacteria and viruses that can cause serious illness.
Yes, you have to grab it around and pull it out to remove it.
No, you can’t banish them like mosquitoes, ants, and flies.
No, you can’t wash it off in the shower.
No, you won’t die if you go swimming in the sea, and you won’t let go.
No, it doesn’t die from sucking blood, it just falls to the ground and turns into a nymph or adult if it’s not already an adult.
Yes, it’s safe to put it in the washing machine if you wash it below 40 degrees.
Yes, males also feed, but they do so less than females and roam more over their hosts as they seek out female ticks to mate with.
in the woods and gardens
Ticks live in the forest. It likes moist deciduous forests and tall grass, but also likes open meadows and heather.
You can easily find it in your garden as well. Ticks are particularly abundant along the coasts of eastern Norway, Agder and Rogaland. Tick season is from April to September.
Pets can burrow into bushes and bushes and bring them back.
Blood-eating headless spider
Ticks do not have eyes or noses. It has a bite tool where other arachnid heads are.
Kjelland points out that this belongs to the Arachnid family, not an insect, and is a parasite.
Ticks feed on the blood of mammals, birds and reptiles. You need blood in your gut to live and grow.
anesthetize before chewing
Ticks live on grass blades and shrubs. There, they try to catch people passing by.
If I could grab a man’s leg, I’d gladly step in. Or a woman’s leg. Mouse, toad. hare. roe deer. mousse. Blood is blood to ticks.
It grabs its prey with its front two claws out of its eight legs. It quickly crawls to the bite site, preferably where the skin is thin. Knees, inner thighs, neck, behind ears. It bites and sucks blood.
“When a tick crawls on your skin, you can often notice it, especially if it’s an adult tick. says Mr.
front leg sensation
Without eyes and noses, mites rely on sensing their surroundings. They sense it with a sensory organ called Haller’s organ on their forelegs.
Sensory organs help ticks detect odors and vibrations in the air. There are also a number of so-called photoreceptor areas on the back that help us distinguish between light and dark.
“Once attached to prey, it probably sucks day and night,” says Kelland.
It does not cause itching when bitten by a tick and prevents the tick from being scraped off. Therefore, it is important to collect blood while sitting on the prey before you notice it tickling.
Infection by ticks
Ticks feed on blood and regurgitate excess blood (plasma). As they vomit plasma and their own saliva, prey can become infected with Lyme disease, other bacteria, and the TBE virus (tick-borne encephalitis).
Bacteria and viruses that ticks ingest from mice and other animals can infect humans. Lyme disease affects between 4 and 500 people in Norway each year. The TBE virus usually causes about 40 to 50 cases of illness each year, but last year he had more than 80 cases.
“Both diseases can cause severe symptoms and long-term suffering, so it’s important to be aware of ticks and take necessary precautions,” says Eikelund.
attack the nervous system
Lyme disease attacks the peripheral nervous system and affects the arms, legs, skin and muscles. This disease can be cured with antibiotics.
The TBE virus attacks the central nervous system, brain and spinal cord. This virus cannot be treated with antibiotics or other drugs.
Randy Eikelund, Ph.D., who has been studying the effects of tick bites on humans since 2004, has found that people who have been exposed to repeated bites and live along the coast from Halden on the Swedish border to Fleckefjord have been infected with the TBE virus. vaccination is recommended.
Vaccines require a prescription from your doctor, but Eikelund says they don’t protect against ticks or Lyme disease, so daily checks for ticks are essential.
“Austria has had a vaccination program against TBE for several years in children aged 1-2 years, which has reduced infections with the TBE virus in Austria,” says Eikelund.
Here’s how to avoid ticks
Here are some sensible precautions to take if you live in an area where ticks are common.
- Be careful after entering grassy or bushy areas.
- If you’ve ever been to an area with a lot of mites, especially if you have thin skin, check your whole body.
- Comb your hair with a lice comb.
- Remove ticks as soon as you find them. Don’t wait until you buy tweezers, use your nails. It’s okay if some of the mites remain. The most important thing is to remove it immediately to prevent the transmission of bacteria from the tick.
- Clean the site of the tick bite with an ointment.
- Talk to your veterinarian, get a tick repellent for dogs and cats, and brush them regularly to remove ticks crawling on their fur.
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