ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The tick population is on the rise this summer in the St. Louis area. Rob Lawrence, forest entomologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, says it’s a problem that has been in the making for years.
He says it has been caused by the changing of the climate and people moving their homes into more natural areas, along with other reasons. He says ticks also like to hitch a ride on animals to help spread their numbers.
For instance, as the white-tail deer population continues to grow, so does the spread of ticks.
Lawrence tells KMOX one way to keep the disease-carrying pests at bay is to create a dry moat around your home.
“It’s helpful to have a bare buffer, some kind of gravel path or something separating the woods and your mowed lawn,” he says.
A mowed lawn also helps keep the ticks away.
Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Alfred Lea at the University of Texas says the ticks in Missouri carry diseases such as Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Ehrliciosis.
Lea says thorough body checks after leaving wooded areas help track down the pests.
“If one finds a tick, then if it’s not attached it’s usually not much of a problem, but any attached tick is a problem,” Lea says.
Lea says if someone finds a tick on their body, it is best to remove it completely. In most cases, he says, tick bites can be successfully treated if caught early enough.