MADISON, Wisconsin – An unusual species of ticks found in this part of the country was discovered in northern Wisconsin near Eau Claire County state.
According to Professor Susan Paskewitz, head of the department of entomology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the lone star ticks in Wisconsin are not indigenous. Rather, the beetle will make a trip to the north every year by attaching itself to a bird or other animal.
Paskewitz said June and July are the most common months for tick bites. These are also the months when Lone Star Ticks are most common in Wisconsin. In recent years, they have been mainly seen in southern Wisconsin, including the counties of Dane and Rock.
"This is the time of the year when people are on the move and very active and most likely encounter ticks in our state," she said.
According to Paskewitz, the lonely star tick is unique because there is a clear white spot on the body of female ticks. Still, she said it was still difficult to tell if you were bitten by one.
"You do not necessarily have a warning that you are dealing with a tick that is preparing to crawl onto your body and join in," she said.
Side effects of Lone Star tick bites may be discoloration, redness, hives or other skin irritation. However, some people may develop an allergy to certain types of red meat after being bitten by the tick.
"There have been some cases of people being bitten by lonely star ticks, and if they have beef, they can have life-threatening reactions for a long time or possibly for a short time, sometimes a shock," said Paskewitz.
She said that the best way to avoid being bitten by a tick is to use a suitable insect repellent and cover as much skin as possible while hiking or camping.
Paskewitz said that anyone coming in contact with a lone star tick is told to report this on the UW Madison Entomology Web site.
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