The title of this column is not a joke. At this moment, ticks are hanging on to leaves and blades of grass in your yard and mine, waiting for us or an unsuspecting pet or other human to pass by. Ticks hang on to surfaces with their back legs, leaving their front legs free to hitch a ride on the shoes or clothing of anyone who brushes against the leaves or grass. Ticks don’t stalk you or lie in wait for you to pass; they don’t jump like fleas, or fly, and they don’t drop from trees. They are opportunistic, rather than deliberate, predators. Ticks are active year-round, as long as the temperature is above freezing, so we are never truly free from their grasp.
Ticks are not insects; they are arachnids, related to spiders and mites, but unlike those creatures, ticks are blood-sucking parasites that require three blood meals during their four-stage lifecycle of egg, larva, nymph, and adult. Right now, you are probably asking yourself, “Do I really need to know this information?”
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