(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Peak tick season in Missouri is between the months of April and September and already this year, local pest control experts say they have seen an above average season for ticks.
“We’ve been having all kinds of calls every single day on ticks," Perry Cooperider from Preferred Pest Control, LLC. said. "It’s been a lot busier this year than in year’s past.”
Ticks are most common to be found in the shade, like in wooded areas. This year, Cooperider says there could be more of them.
“We’ve had so much rain this year that is why ticks have been so much worse this year,” he said.
More ticks means more chances to be bitten by one. Dr. Scott Folk, the director of adult infectious diseases at Mosaic Life Care says that tick bites are hard to notice for many reasons.
“Many tick bites go unrecognized because they are so small and can be overlooked,” Folk said.
A tick bite can lead to some allergic reactions with people but the majority will not notice the bite. Ticks can carry a number of infections, which in some cases can be deadly.
“Many of the infections that can occur following a tick bite take a week or two sometimes three to become manifest,” Folk said.
Folk says that not all tick bites will lead to an infection but that the ticks that are found in northwest Missouri can lead to one. The most widespread tick in this part of the state is the lone star tick, which can be identified with a white spot on its back.
If you are bit by a tick, there are symptoms you should look out for that could mean you have an infection.
“Some kind of combination of fever, headache, rash, fatigue, fall off of appetite, nausea, chills sweats," Folk said. "Those kind of things.”
If you do experience any of these symptoms after a tick bite, you should contact your doctor.
For now, Cooperider says there are things you can be doing in your yard to prevent ticks from being around.
“Making sure their grass is cut low, they try to trim up the weeds," he said. "They want to make sure they have well kept woodpiles and try to have a spacing underneath those.”
People going outside can also wear bug spray with at least 20 percent DEET. It is also recommended that you check yourself, and your pets, for ticks any time you go outside.