LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The Lone Star Tick has been in Michigan for years, but now it’s turning heads because it may be causing an allergic reaction to meat consumption. And with nice weather, you could find yourself the target of a dietary overhaul.
“Apparently when they… they’ll bite an animal and then they’ll consume something from that animal that later they can pass onto a person,” explains MSU Professor Ned Walker, an expert in entomology and microbiology.
He says the Lone Star Tick is unique because of this ability to retain and spread blood components from one host to another. Walker thinks the Lone Star Tick may become a permanent resident around the Great Lakes.
“It could be introduced every year, or we could have local populations. We need to get out and look some more.”
And you can check for yourself with what Walker calls “flagging.” Just drag a white cloth across vegetation and grass in your backyard. If there are ticks out there, they’ll latch on.
Michigan’s State Parks and Recreation team knows that’s where bugs like to hang out. Stewardship Unit Manager Ray Fahlsing says the Department of Natural Resources division is always working to keep the critters away.
“We try to keep the grass short and that helps keep the tick numbers down and also helps a little bit with mosquitoes.”
Experts also say long, light colored clothing can keep ticks visible and off your skin. Tucking your pant legs inside your boots and spraying bug repellents with DEET can also help. And when enjoying a summer BBQ is on the line, it may be worth it.