Ticks in the Beaufort & Hilton Head Island Area
Ticks are a common parasite in the Beaufort area. The "Lone Star" tick is the most common, next to Deer and Wood ticks. Most ticks are about 1/10th of an inch in size and range in color from dull brown to reddish-brown. They have 8 legs and belong to the spider family.
Ticks begin their life from eggs laid on brush piles, leaf piles or decaying vegetation. Sometimes more than 45,000 eggs can be in one egg colony. The eggs hatch into larvae that have 6 legs and feed on small rodents. After molting two times, the adult tick emerges.
Ticks make contact with their victims either by the victim brushing against an object the tick is on or by dropping onto the victim from a low tree branch or moss. Ticks are often discovered crawling on clothing. If not discovered, the tick will find a feeding spot and attach itself using its powerful beak. It will then pierce the skin and begin feasting on blood. The victim will often have an itch, and when scratching will feel a bump and upon inspection, discovers the tick. At this point, you want to properly remove the tick.
Safe Tick Removal
Using tweezers, grasp the tick as close to its head as possible. Gently lift the tick away from your skin until your skin puckers. Hold the tick in this position until the tick lets go. This may take a few seconds to one minute. Make sure the head has been removed from the wound. Clean the wound with soap and water. Always save the tick for several weeks by placing it into a ziplock bag with a few drops of water and a few blades of grass to prevent it from drying out. The tick can be checked for microbes or disease if the victim later becomes sick. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease is rare here, but is possible. Seek medical attention if victim develops stiff neck, intense headache, fatigue, muscle aches, chills, joint pain, fever or a bull's-eye rash around the wound area.