|Deer ticks are beginning to make their presence known,
said David Beckmann, Fort McCoy wildlife biologist.
The numbers likely will continue to rise as the weather becomes more
spring-like, with temperatures consistently topping the 50-degree mark,
Personnel from the Fort McCoy
Directorate of Public Works Natural Resources Branch and the
Directorate of Emergency Services Fire Department conducted a
controlled burn near the South Post Housing Area May 10 to
reduce the tick population in that area.
(Photo by Rob Schuette)
Chances for encounters between ticks and humans also increase as more
people in the Fort McCoy community are outdoors to train, do outdoor
work, or relax and enjoy the spring and summer weather, he said.
People who encounter these pests may contract diseases, such as Lyme
disease or Babesiosis and Anaplasmosis, he said.
Usually, ticks can be controlled by taking the proper precautions, he
One of the most important pieces of knowledge is how to prevent tick
“If you can avoid the areas where ticks reside, you can substantially
reduce your risk of coming in contact with deer or wood ticks,” Beckmann
said. “Even if you come into contact with a tick, you can reduce the
chance of having them attach to you if you are wearing the proper
Beckmann said deer and wood ticks typically hang on the lower, outer
branches or stems of shrubs and plants waiting to hitch a ride on an
Tall grassy fields, thick brush areas and game trails also tend to be
tick magnets. In addition to avoiding areas where ticks may congregate,
people can protect themselves against ticks by:
• Wearing clothes that cover their bodies, including their arms and
legs, and tucking pants into socks and shirts into pants;
• Applying insect repellent containing DEET or permethrin to clothes as
directed in the product instructions;
• Examining clothes and skin frequently for ticks, especially in body
areas that retain heat; such as body hair, and
• Using a tick-repellent collar for pets and checking them closely after
People who do encounter ticks can greatly reduce the odds of contracting
a disease by knowing how to safely remove ticks as soon as possible
after they have become attached.
The first thing to do is to keep a level head and develop a game plan,
he said. Many of the ticks do not carry or transmit diseases.
Medically, it has been shown that brief encounters with ticks do not
generally lead to people contracting diseases. A tick generally must be
in contact with its host for 24 to 48 hours for the transmission of the
disease(s) to take place, Beckmann said.
Disease symptoms for humans may vary, but often are similar to those
associated with the flu, such as fatigue, headaches, muscle aches and
Skin rashes may occur. The rashes may be odd shaped, may be bull’s-eye
shaped, may be single or in multiple numbers and sizes and may appear
anywhere on the body. Skin rashes may not occur on all people.
Beckmann said as a general rule, anyone bitten by a tick who develops an
unusual rash or experiences symptoms associated with tick-borne diseases
should promptly see their local medical provider and get tested.
Tick-borne diseases can be extremely harmful to humans and animals if
left untreated, he added.
The Fort McCoy Natural Resources Branch Wildlife Program, in conjunction
with Michigan State University, is developing a brochure with photos and
descriptions of deer and wood ticks at all stages of life and detailed
information on tick-borne diseases. For more information, call the
Permit Sales Office, building 2168, at 608-388-3337. The brochure also
will be available by calling the Safety Office, building 1678, at
608-388-3403 and the Troop Medical Clinic, building 2669, at
Beckmann said the U.S. Army Health Command (Provisional) also has
information about the topic at the website