Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Time for a tick

I found my first tick yesterday. On me. I daresay that they’re all around us, floating like tiny little spiders over the East Devon heathland, but the ones that count are those that you spot suddenly after feeling that familiar little itch just when you’ve had a good day’s gardening. A tiny black spot, sometimes in a very awkward place on your body and you know that it’s time to get out the tick hook.

It’s been ages since I first wrote some warning words about ticks at and that was in connection with our sister town in Brewster, Massachusetts, where Lyme disease can be a serious problem.

Having extracted my tick I put it on a window sill and watched it. For such tiny creatures they move fast; this one seemed to be showing off, performing the occasional somersault. I wondered whether they might have been used in circuses, like fleas. Finally I called time on it.

My little tick bite yesterday came just after I’d read about rabies on Cape Cod at  Now that’s a really scary subject and puts our Devon ticks into perspective.  Rabies deaths are rare,  and the US Department of Agriculture is intent on eliminating them altogether by distributing fish baits containing anti-rabies vaccine in an area which includes Brewster among other Cape Cod towns. But it was disconcerting to read that a 63-year-old man from the area had died from rabies two years ago after being bitten by a bat. 

Well, there have to be some drawbacks to living in Paradise, whether it’s Cape Cod or East Devon.  Those annoying ticks have started to appear with the warm damp weather of late spring, and the bats will soon be swooping over the garden to herald the arrival of summer.  In their way they’re both messengers of good things to come.  

Photo: There's the tick, between the two tick hooks. I do recommend these useful gadgets which you can get at your local vets. They're more effective than tweezers. When you twist the hook you should be able to hear a tiny click as the tick releases its hold on your body. That should mean that the whole head of the beast has been removed. I then rub TCP or similar into the bite and keep an eye on it. But see  for official advice.

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