Most insects are harmless creatures that could never hurt you. Then again, there are some bugs that you just don’t want to disregard. One of those bugs is the mosquito, and the other bug is the tick. The tick causes more vector-borne diseases than the mosquito here in the United States, but the tick need not be feared if you live in a region where the disease carrying tick is rare or does not exist.

Ticks are arachnids, not insects despite what many people believe. Obviously ticks cause Lyme disease, but ticks can also cause another illness known as spotted fever. Spotted fever is a rare disease that behaves like malaria. But that is not all, as the ticks that dwell in the United States have been shown to carry more than a dozen different types of viruses that are rare, but deadly. For example, some of these viruses include the heartland virus and powassan.

Lyme disease is infecting more and more people in the United States each year. The increase in Lyme cases is unmistakable and significant. During the past thirty years, the number of Lyme disease victims has tripled. The fact that disease-carrying ticks reached states as far north as Minnesota and Maine demonstrates that global warming played a role in this northward migration. Fifty years ago, ticks were not a problem in America, because they did not exist in the cold north, and the ones that did were too cold to move. Eventually, the ticks had to move north in order to save their lives. Perhaps in another fifty years, ticks will be all over Canada. It is good to keep in mind that ticks do not like dry environments, so even though the weather may be more tolerable for the ticks in the north, they cannot survive if the spring months are too dry. So keep your fingers crossed for a dry spring next year.

Have you ever found a tick embedded in your skin? Were you tested?