Tall grasses, large trees and farmland are some of a tick’s most favorite places to call home, and the number of ticks making their homes in the stateline this summer could be record breaking.
"It's been cool; it's been wet, and this us the kind of breeding ground that they like. They really do like to have these two things in order to do their damage," says University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener Robin Ashley.
The dog, or wood tick, is the most common in Illinois, and although they don't carry Lyme disease they can cause ehrlichiosis, an infection that can cause fever, headaches and nausea.
Ashley says when you venture into wooded areas, be prepared. Wear long sleeve shirts, long pants and enclosed shoes. Use a repellent that contains deet, keep long hair pulled back, and do a head to toe tick check at the end of the day.
"Make sure when you take your clothes off, your socks and shoes, that you don't have anything hanging in them. They have cuffs, they fall off the tall grass and get into the cuffs, or they'll stick on to your socks," says Ashley.
And one of the most susceptible victims is little Fido, so if you have a dog, check him regularly.
"Make sure you take a fine tooth comb and go over your dog, and that includes, please check the ears, because the first place the tick like to go to is that thin skin in a dog’s ears. And if you feel it behind your ankle, that think skin, that's another place they like to get to," says Ashley.
The number of people calling the Extension Office in Winnebago County with tick situations this season has doubled, so Ashley says taking a few precautions can go a long way.
If you find a tick attached to your body, remove it immediately by grasping the tick with tweezers where the head enters the skin. If you're not sure what kind it is, you can bring it to the Extension Office where they can analyze it.
The Winnebago office is open from 8 to 4:30, Monday through Friday.
It's located at 4311 West State Street in Rockford.