Colorado spring time brings beautiful flowers, budding trees,  refreshing rains, warmer temperatures - and, the dreaded tick season. There's a downside to everything, even spring,  and here's what you need to know.

The list of things in life I hate is small. Creamed corn, icy roads, and ticks. The list is small but the hate is great.I can pretty much avoid the creamed corn with sheer determination, icy roads aren't much of a problem right now, but the tick season is here -- ready or not.

These tiny creatures get on your skin, burrow their heads in, and fill up on your blood. Gradually they become so full of blood they puff up like a creature from a bad science fiction movie. There is something extremely creepy about these tiny critters.


Here is some good news and some bad news about ticks. The bad news is that ticks can transmit various diseases like Colorado tick fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, relapsing fever, and lyme disease. The good news is Rocky Mountain spotted fever is extremely rare in Colorado, and there have been no confirmed cases of lyme disease originating in the state.


According to Colorado State Extension, there are about 30 species of ticks in Colorado and it's a good idea to avoid contact if at all possible. Ticks are most commonly found in early spring and summer, so here is some good advice for avoiding a tick encounter.

  • Ticks thrive in brushy areas along fields, in the woods, grassy areas and shrub lands so if you sojourn through this type of terrain be on the look out for ticks and be sure and check yourself thoroughly
  • Don't expect miracles, but an insect repellent with DEET is a good precaution
  • If you are going into tick country wear pants and a long -sleeved shirt, and tucking your pants inside your socks can be helpful.
  • It usually takes ticks 12-24 hours to start feeding, so you generally should have time to wait until you get home to do a thorough tick inspection, and it's a good idea to have someone help you check those hard-to-see areas
  • Pets can transport ticks inside your house so keep your pets treated with flea and tick repellents and do regular tick checks on your pets


They tell us the best method for removing a tick that has burrowed into your skin is to use blunt tweezers to grab the tick as close the skin as possible. Pull slowly on the tick, being careful not to crush it. Once the tick is out, treat the area with disinfectant. THEN crush the tick!

The experts say using the hot tip of a blown out match is an ineffective method for removing ticks, but I have actually had some success with this method on myself and on my dog.

If you're lucky, you won't have to engage in tick removal, but if you do, don't freak out. It's actually a pretty common thing, and you can be assured it won't be the worst thing that happens in your life.

[CSU Extension]