The Daily Digital Photo
Chronicling the life of Clayton and Spenser, with memories of Scooter

May 30, 2007

In addition to mosquitoes and poison ivy, ticks can be found in abundance here in New Jersey. There are (at least) two kind of ticks: dog ticks and deer ticks. Dog ticks are larger, and when they attach themselves to skin (canine or human) and settle down for a nice meal, their bodies become engorged to almost the size of a pencil eraser. They are obviously easy to find, and because they inject a numbing agent prior to sucking out blood, you can pull them off without inflicting any pain. At least a couple times each season Phillip or I will wake up to an itch and discover an engorged tick. Way gross. Deer ticks, on the other hand, are tiny, not much larger than a poppy seed. And deer ticks carry Lyme disease. We had the boys vaccinated for Lyme but stopped after reading about anecdotal reports of side effects. Some vet schools recommend against the vaccine. Phillip and I were vaccinated many years ago but there was so little interest in it that it was removed from the market. Fortunately we have stayed healthy. A couple of years ago Phillip sprayed our woods and the perimeter of our yard for ticks with a chemical recommended by a tree surgeon friend. We only had to keep the boys away for a few days. Though a lot of work for Phillip, it pretty much decimated the tick population for that summer and the next. On the occasions when Spenser has escaped and spent an or hour or two in the woods, he has invariably come back covered with ticks, despite the Frontline he gets once a month. It's very difficult to kill a tick by smooshing it and they are too small to sever with a fingernail but one sure way to kill them is to mix some dish detergent with water and plop them in there. We've taken 20+ ticks off of Spenser after an escape. They are totally disgusting but it's the price we pay I guess for living in the woods.