September 2015 – Lone Star Tick Bites or Chiggers?

Larry Dapsis – Cape Cod Cooperative Extension 508-375-6642

Lone Star tick was found to be established on the Cape two years ago in Sandy Neck Beach Park.  Lone Star tick eggs are laid in a mass by the female tick and hatch in August and remain active into late September.

Recently, people visiting the park have reported to have received many bites by “something” that left red welt all over their feet and ankles…lone star tick larvae down at ground level swarm onto anyone unfortunate to have walked into a group of them.

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People have questioned whether these are chigger bites.  Well no…chiggers are not found this far north and are active during the summer.  This misdiagnosis continues to be a problem on Long Island where lone star ticks have been established for some time.  By the time people see the red welts the ticks have already dropped off so there is no hard evidence.  http://riverheadnewsreview.timesreview.com/2012/09/39687/forget-chiggers-folks-those-are-lone-star-tick-larvae-making-you-itch/

These bites can be prevented…wearing shoes and socks treated with the repellent containing permethrin is probably the most effective thing we can do right now.  One significant note is that the tick larvae do not transmit disease, however it is known that the bite of lone star ticks can trigger an allergy to red meat consumption.

For more information please contact Larry Dapsis.  I will also be on WXTK Sunday, October 4th at 10 AM with Pat Desmarais to talk all things ticks.

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