Nasty and disgusting. Tiny and insidious. And purveyors of various diseases, a few of which can be debilitating and, in worse case scenarios, fatal.

All this in a minute bug, actually a relative of the spider. Meet New Jersey’s tick family which has been out and about for a couple of weeks, and with the warming pattern the remainder of this week and into the weekend, these bloodsuckers will be out in a spring bloom magnum force.

Starting to scout for turkeys? Walking through brush to get to a fishing spot? Just out for a hike? Beware.

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The players include the black legged “deer” tick (a reddish rear end), the Lone Star tick (a white splotch on its back) and the dog tick (a whitish collar). A relative newcomer, the Asian Longhorned tick, found in Hunterdon and Mercer counties and now pretty much statewide like the others, spreads diseases that are still being identified.

The aforementioned trio spread the likes of Lymes Disease, Babesiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, and the Powassan Virus, none of which you would ever want to deal with.

Tom Pagliaroli
Tom Pagliaroli

The “Ounce of prevention...” adage is never more apropos than when dealing with ticks. Spraying clothing, including socks and footwear, with a Permethrin, or Permanone (a trade name) based repellent such as those manufactured by Sawyer and REPEL and also Sawyer (do not apply to bare skin), will afford protection (Permetherin is fatal to ticks) for up to two weeks and a couple of rounds in the laundry. When it comes to skin applications, Sawyer makes a spray, and reliable performer for me has been the REPEL 100 that is 98.11% DEET. While DEET may have a bad rap among the “all natural repellent” crowd, it works for yours truly. Hey, I’m from the Sixties and will drink DDT if it will keep the blood suckers off.

Information about the New Jersey tick scene is available by googling ticks at NJ Fish and Wildlife.

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