URI tick information resource

This is an image of ticks in a tube. (WLNE)

Ticks in Southern New England have a rather notorious reputation, spreading germs and giving us something to worry about in the summertime. Kelly Bates shows us how actually interesting ticks are.

Ticks are fascinating creatures. Like spiders, they are arachnids with eight legs — not insects with six. Engorged female ticks can have up to 3,000 eggs! Ticks don’t have eyes! Ticks also make it through the winters in a very unique way.

Dr. Thomas Mather, director of URI TickEncounter, explained that some ticks make antifreeze to survive the winter while others actually remove the water from their cells, so they don’t burst when the temperature drops below freezing.

As fascinating as these creatures are, they don’t really serve an ecological purpose beyond reproducing. To accomplish this, they need to feed at the three stages of their lives. The big issue is what they pass along from feeding to feeding.

Mather said a tick is essentially a sack of germs, and keeping the tick from transmitting those germs makes the tick removal technique very important. You need a very pointy tweezer to pinch where the mouth parts meet the skin then pull it out.

Once you remove the tick, put it in a zip top baggie, take a picture of it and send it to TickSpotters for identification. Through this site, you will find resources and information to help protect against getting a tick borne disease. That’s what TickSPotters is all about — protecting you through information. Check it out here.

Categories: News, Scientifically Speaking