(Here’s the little critter that can wreak so much misery. Note their distinct markings and the characteristic ringed bite. They hang out in leaves, on grass, in the woods, and they’re waiting to bite you or ones you love…..)
“Alert!…Alert!…Alert!!! This is a public service message.”
They’re tiny but they pack a punch. In some cases, those who’ve been bitten never recover in that they’re forever affected by as peculiar malady called Lyme Disease. What am I talking about? The deer tick. And they live abundantly in some of the most pristine (appearing) places, the woodlands, the fields, anywhere deer roam (and that could mean your back yard.) In recent years, their numbers have exploded and their hunting grounds increased. Why? Changing climate and an over-abundance of their favorite host, the white-tailed deer.
But the specific region that they were identified with initially was the lovely region of Lyme, Connecticut (hence the name, Lyme Disease.) But don’t fool yourselves into believing you’re safe if you don’t live in or near this region…The deer tick has infested thousands of miles around its original region, carried on the backs of the animals it plagues. They’re pretty much equal-opportunity ravagers who only seek a blood source, and once they penetrate and infect, they’ve left an indelible mark on their victims.
They love humidity but they’re resilient, and when summer ends, don’t think for a minute your precautions can end. For these creatures can keep infecting right into really cold weather. Another known fact? They enjoy moist regions of high humidity and are out in all the more force if the spring’s been wet (which is has, almost everywhere) and they’ll hop onto your clothes (and eventually you), if you’re not careful.
How have I been affected personally? Years ago, I used to send my young daughter for a week-long camp in western Rhode Island, but then the deer tick invasion came, and I could no longer take the chance she’d be bitten (this camp was in the thick of it, meaning the territory identified for high deer tick infestation). Oh, they allegedly performed a tick search each time they went on a woodland jaunt, and they used precautions, but I feared someone would slip just one time, and Lyme Disease is just too dangerous to risk.
You see, I know people who’ve gotten it. They’ve been wracked with pain for years; their mobility’s affected; they’re no longer capable of doing what they once did.
So, what does one do if he/she is an avowed woodlands lover, one who lives in the ever-widening swath of territory affected? Prepare beforehand and check afterwards (your pets, too). Now, there are sprays that are effective deterrents (but you still need to be vigilant.)
Wear socks and closed shoes on woodland walks (not sandals); do a head search by checking your partner’s hair and running fingers through it (and he yours). Especially note where underwear binds (ticks love moist, warm places and they seek those on the host body, so under underwear is prime.) Their targets are “hosts” because they’re vampires.
Now, here’s one of our favorite woodland retreats that offer beautiful trails and vistas. The Devil’s Hopyard in Lyme, Connecticut, geographic “home” to the deer tick, offers delights too beautiful to avoid, but going there mandates you be extra-vigilant, and be forewarned: If you’re bitten by a deer tick and not treated immediately, you will suffer Hell.
At Devil’s Hopyard, you’ll see scenes like this, a visual panoply to delight the senses. But just remember: Prepare and be vigilant, and do your friends a favor and send this BiddyBytes piece to them. The buttons are below. And then check out the website suite101.com and the article by Mary King on deer ticks. Their territorial regions? A huge swath of territory in the United States, far beyond the territory showcased in these photos.
Now that you’re forewarned and armed (with information), go out and enjoy the woodlands. And in the Comment section below, please share your experience or that of another, so we can know first-hand, how Lyme Disease affects.