Coloradans are being encouraged to take preventative action and be on the lookout for ticks on their pets or even on themselves.

According to a new study published in Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, more and more counties in Colorado are discovering ticks that had not been reported previously.

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What Are Ticks?

Ticks are commonly mistaken as bugs or insects, but in reality, these pesky creatures are actually members of the arachnid family according to PestWorld. Members of the arachnid family include mites, spiders, and scorpions, AKA all those creepy crawlies you most often try to avoid.

Ticks are real-life blood-suckers than can transmit harmful diseases to pets and people.

What Kind of Ticks Are Found in Colorado?

There are two prominent types of ticks found in Colorado:

  1. Rocky Mountain Wood Ticks
  2. American Dog Ticks

The study found that American dog ticks were discovered in an additional 16 Colorado counties than before. Even more startling is the discovery of Rocky Mountain wood ticks in 38 of the 64 Colorado counties.

Previously Rocky Mountain wood ticks had only been reported in 33 counties.

Colorado Ticks Have Preferences on Hosts + Locations

The study also found that ticks in Colorado know exactly who they want as a host. 58% of Rocky Mountain ticks chose humans as their host, while 92% of American dog ticks chose dogs.

Also as the name would suggest, Rocky Mountain ticks prefer counties with higher elevations.

"This study is a red flag that, on the county level, it is necessary to increase tick surveillance locally, and, on an individual level, to take precautions and know the symptoms of tick-borne diseases," stated co-author Daniel Salkeld, Ph.D., Colorado State University.

What to Do to Avoid Ticks in Colorado

If you are going outdoors be sure to avoid areas that are very wooded or have high grass and brush. You should also use insect repellant containing DEET according to MedicalExpress.

When returning indoors check your clothes and body for ticks and take a shower. Remember to do the same search and bath routine with your pets as well.

"The critical takeaway from this study is that Coloradans need to take preventative measures against ticks when outdoors, such as tick checks, and doctors should be more vigilant for symptoms of tick-borne diseases including those carried by Rocky Mountain wood ticks and American dog ticks," said Linda Giampa, executive director, Bay Area Lyme Foundation.

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