Beckmann, The Real McCoy Contributor
warming temperatures have us all excited to finally remove the coats,
gloves and boots of winter and reach for much more comfortable short-sleeve T-shirts and shorts.
diligently have awaited the arrival of spring, and now once again
watch as Mother Nature brings on the plants and animals that are
synonymous with it. But as much as we enjoy watching spring transform
the landscape, not all that comes out of hiding brings on a joyous
spirit; it is once again time to be on high alert for ticks.
spring progresses, Fort McCoy begins to see increased training
activity, campground recreationists, anglers and spring turkey
this time of the year, any outside activity can increase the risk of
humans and pets picking up ticks and the potential harmful diseases
they may carry.
McCoy is known to have two species of ticks, the American Dog tick
(commonly known as a wood tick) and the Black Legged tick (commonly
known as the deer or bear tick).
ticks are much smaller in size than wood ticks. Female deer ticks are
typically up to one-eighth inch in length and one-sixteenth inch wide.
Female deer ticks have a black head and mouth part (known as the
shield area) and a dark red body (note head and body are all in one
A view of a female deer tick (not
to actual size) on a human thumb. Deer ticks can be infected
with a number of diseases, including Lyme disease. (Contributed
Photo) (An Extra to The Real McCoy Online)
deer ticks are all black and smaller in size than females, usually
about the size of the female black shield area and up to one-sixteenth
inch in length.
ticks in the nymph stage are even smaller and very difficult to see.
Deer ticks can be found in large numbers on Fort McCoy.
ticks are noticeably larger in size than deer ticks. Wood ticks
average three-sixteenths inch in length and one-eighth inch in width.
wood ticks have silvery grey chalk-like markings on their shield. Male
wood ticks have silvery markings down the entire back.
and wood ticks typically hang on the lower outer branches or stems of
shrubs and plants waiting to hitch a ride on their host.
grass fields, thick brush areas and game trails tend to be magnets for
ticks, but they can be picked up almost anywhere.
should be known that not all ticks carry harmful diseases. They
themselves must first become infected before they become a carrier of
disease. Both species found on Fort McCoy have the potential to
transmit harmful diseases to humans and pets. Typically, an infected
tick must be attached for 24-48 hours for transmission to take place.
The most common disease spread by ticks is Lyme disease, which is only
spread by the deer tick.
the past few years other tick-borne diseases have been on the rise and
becoming more commonly found through sampling and testing. The deer
tick is notorious for carrying multiple disease types and for
transmission of these to their host.
from Lyme disease, other tick-borne diseases of concern in the Fort
McCoy area are Babesiosis and Anaplasmosis. All can be extremely
harmful to humans and pets if not treated.
in individual cases may vary, but usually are similar to those
associated with the flu, such as fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, and
rashes, such as the "bull’s-eye" rash that is mostly
associated in Lyme disease cases, may occur.
skin rashes may not develop for all people and if they do, not all
rashes will be a distinctive "bull’s-eye" shape.
may be odd shaped, single or in multiple numbers and sizes on any part
of the body.
a general rule, if you notice you have been bit by a tick, are
developing an unusual rash or have been feeling symptoms that may be
associated with tick-borne diseases it is a good idea to go to your
local medical health center and get tested.
proactive! Waiting to seek treatment will only allow the disease to
advance, prolonging the healing process.
outdoors is a wonderful place to be during the spring and summer
months and by no means should anyone avoid spending time outdoors.
Just make sure to take the proper precautions when outside by
following these helpful tips to minimize your chances of being bitten
pants into socks and shirts into pants.
insect repellent containing DEET as directed to skin and or permethrin
repellent products to clothes (only clothes) as directed.
to avoid areas with dense brush and grass.
clothes and skin frequently for ticks.
your body after outdoor activities, especially in areas with hair and
that hold heat.
pets, use a tick repellant and check them closely after being
Fort McCoy Wildlife program has brochures published by the Lyme
Disease Foundation with quality photos and descriptions of deer and
wood ticks at all stages of life and detailed information on all
brochures are available at the Fort McCoy Permit Sales Office,
building 2168 (608-388-3337), Installation Safety Office, building
1678 (608-388-3403), and the Troop Medical Clinic, building 2669
addition to these brochures, make sure to check out the following Web
site developed by the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and
Preventive Medicine (http://chppm-www.apgea.army.mil/ento/TickEd.htm).
with the proper precautions you can still freely enjoy the wonders
that spring and summer have to offer. Just make sure to take that
extra time to follow the tips to keep tick free.
is the Fort McCoy Wildlife Biologist.)