Nature Bulletin No. 25 July 28, 1945
Forest Preserve District of Cook County
Clayton F. Smith, President
Roberts Mann, Superintendent of Conservation
Ticks seem to be unusually plentiful this year. Many persons walking
through the upland woods of the forest preserves have found these
insects on their clothing, on their bodies, even in their hair. In the
pinewoods of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan it is not uncommon
to find a hundred or more ticks crawling up your clothing, and there it is
necessary to carefully search every inch of your body for ticks, every
Never try to pull one off after it has firmly attached itself to the skin.
Otherwise the head may remain. Touch the body of the tick with a
lighted cigarette, or a wad of cotton soaked in alcohol or gasoline, and
the insect will drop off.
Ticks are large mites, They have a needle-like, toothed probe on their
heads, with which they pierce and attach themselves to the skin, and
through which they suck the blood of their host. They have four pairs of
legs and can move quite rapidly. The common wood-tick has a flat,
reddish-brown body about 1/8 inch in diameter before feeding. Left
alone, the females gorge themselves until four times their unfed size,
after which they drop off to lay their eggs.
There are many kinds of ticks parasitic on mammals, birds and reptiles.
Many carry organisms that infect their hosts with dangerous diseases
such as biliary fever in dogs, spirillosis in fowls, heart-water sickness in
sheep, and Texas fever in cattle. Orgy two species are known to be
dangerous to humans. One is the African tick carrying a spirochete
causing relapsing fever. The other is the Rocky Mountain spotted fever
which occurs in our western states, but not in Illinois. Tularemia, or
rabbit-fever, is transmitted from rabbit to rabbit -- or occasionally from
birds to rabbits -- by a species of ticks, but ticks do not transmit this
dangerous disease directly to man.
To return to the Nature Bulletins Click Here!
Update: June 2012