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Ticks, ticks, ticks, there’s loads of them about

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 jezb1 02 Apr 2021

I’m just back from a couple of nights working in the mountains and the tick numbers seem to be next level, be on the look out!


https://www.facebook.com/484572948324828/posts/3868511646597591/?d=n

 girlymonkey 02 Apr 2021
In reply to jezb1:

I am usually the first to get them, but so far I have been lucky this year. Here's hoping we don't have the same levels as you! Maybe I have just been lucky so far.

In reply to jezb1:

Cheers for the heads-up.

I did a first aid course on Dartmoor this week and caught a tick wriggling across my calf before it bit me. It's definitely going to be a busy tick season!

 Frank R. 02 Apr 2021
In reply to jezb1:

Well, thank you for upping my anxiety levels about yet another disease ;)

Thanks for the warning, though!

In reply to jezb1:

Anywhere specific?

Still never had one and only ever seen one once.  I get the impression they don't like me!

 jezb1 02 Apr 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Anywhere specific?

> Still never had one and only ever seen one once.  I get the impression they don't like me!

You're lucky! They love me

We were in the Snowdon & South side of the Glyders area and I saw lots all over there, but Cwm Tregallen was especially bad.

 jezb1 02 Apr 2021
In reply to Frank R.:

> Well, thank you for upping my anxiety levels about yet another disease ;)

Haha, sorry!

 Frank R. 02 Apr 2021
In reply to jezb1:

No problem! Wait, did I tell you yet about the Hyalomma hunter ticks invading the Continent thanks to climate change? :D 

 SouthernSteve 02 Apr 2021
In reply to Frank R.:

> No problem! Wait, did I tell you yet about the Hyalomma hunter ticks invading the Continent thanks to climate change? :D 

You didn't mention Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) virus for the full effect!

 PaulJepson 02 Apr 2021
In reply to jezb1:

Got one in Leigh Woods last week. They're out!

 rgold 02 Apr 2021
In reply to jezb1:

Treat your clothes with permethrin!

 Gav_92 03 Apr 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

Iv so far managed to get a couple of ticks in the North of scotland too, so assuming uk wide 

In reply to Neil Williams:

> Still never had one and only ever seen one once.  I get the impression they don't like me! ,

Never had one either. On another thread it was suggested that people like me simply don't notice they have them. My son often picks them up, even in the small "eco" area of the school he teaches at in London.

In summer I frequently scramble up vegetated slopes frequented by deer. I always wear long Craghopper style trousers or tracksuit type bottoms but don't tuck them into socks. Usually move quite quickly. Probably not relevant. Conversely in one thread someone said they wore shorts so they could quickly spot the ticks.

 Trangia 03 Apr 2021
In reply to jezb1:

Yes, I found one on me whilst walking on Romney Marsh yesterday. Unsurprising as the lambing season is in full swing. Keep safe everyone and check your skin regularly, particularly if you are wearing shorts.

In reply to jezb1:

Found one on my left calf on Thursday morning. Little bigger was well attached.😡

 Fat Bumbly2 04 Apr 2021
In reply to Deleated bagger:

Got one today. Saltoun Big Wood.

 BuzyG 04 Apr 2021
In reply to jezb1:

Hate the blighters. I pick up a few most years on Dartmoor. Not likely to cause a problem, as long as you find them quickly and remove them carefully.  Just got to be pedantic about checking after any time out on the moors.

 Frank R. 04 Apr 2021

I just go permethrin all the way nowadays, trousers and shoes (although be very careful with it if you have cats at home, they can't metabolise it so it's quite toxic for them!). Probably not the best for environment, but what else? I have seen the long term damage from some tick-borne diseases with friends, and I fervently wish for the Lyme vaccine that's currently in trials (one that might have been available ten years ago and saved a few people I know from severe complications, weren't it for rabid US anti-vaxxers).

It seems that removing one ASAP does help with the risk of long term lingering Lyme (the bacteria might need a bit of time to adjust to the immune system to hide from it after a bite), but that doesn't help that much with the nymphs and larvae, which are harder to spot. And could be possibly infected as well, according to some sources.

Post edited at 23:06
 rgold 05 Apr 2021
In reply to Frank R.:

I want to second the claim that just checking for ticks isn't very effective.  The nymphs are tiny and easily missed, and the bigger ones can get places you might not notice.  Shorts are just asking for trouble, long pants with some ability to seal at the bottom or with gaitors are a much better bet.  Rab used to make some trail-running tights that had abrasion patches on the knees and seat and seal snugly around the ankles and so are pretty tick-proof as well as decently robust, but I don't see them in their current online offerings.  Tights might not be a look everyone wants to rock though.

In any case, treatment with permethrin is the way to go.

Do not minimize the effects of long-term Lyme.  It can happen pretty easily that you get a bite you aren't aware of (the bulls-eye rash is not a reliable symptom), and by the time you and the docs figure out what's wrong with you, months can have gone by and everything is potentially much more serious. Speaking from personal experience here.  I'm fine, but it can be life-changing in the worst possible way.

 David Myatt 05 Apr 2021
In reply to rgold:

Hi, Yes, but permethrin is expensive and not easy to find over here. Next time I’m your way I’ll be bringing some back. Dog had his first tick of the season yesterday.

cheers, David

 felt 05 Apr 2021
In reply to jezb1:

Does a warm spell to bring them out, then a short sharp shock (tomorrow morning is -3C) do anything to thwart them?

In reply to jezb1:

In the last 10 years or so that I've been in this country I've never managed to get a tick, but last summer I managed to get two on me and that was even with the general lack of outdoorsy adventures due to all the Covid-19 restrictions. Not having gotten any in the UK for such a long time has certainly made me complacent, and the two I got last year were only found due to itching whilst sleeping. Certainly not the ideal way to discover you've got a tick.

So thank you for bringing this up, I've personally been more thorough in checking this year since I saw your post. Good reminder!

(Offtopic but also thanks for your awesome instructional videos, they've been very helpful during all the lockdowns.)

Post edited at 12:04
 tew 05 Apr 2021
In reply to jezb1:

Having never caught a tick on me, I have had Lyme's. Fortunately caught early from the bullseye rash.

I can honestly say that it was the worse month of my life dealing with Lyme's. It then took at least another month or 2 before I was kinda back to normal. Feeling really lucky that I don't have any long term affects.

Be careful and can't wait for a vaccine against Lyme's.

 coldfell 05 Apr 2021
In reply to jezb1:

It seems you either do, or you don't get them biting, my husband is a good indicator! The latest, 2 weeks ago, was an attached tick following a visit to Christmas crag, Borrowdale. Armathwaite is also a hot spot - both with a healthy deer population.

 alan moore 05 Apr 2021
In reply to NullPointerEx17:

> In the last 10 years or so that I've been in this country I've never managed to get a tick, but last summer I managed to get two

I very rarely go walking in the Scottish hills without bring a few ticks home! It has always been this way.

I usually find them a day or two later when then start to itch and are beginning to bite in.

I'd guess I have a 50/50 success rate for clean removal of the whole thing. Often itch for a few days afterward.

Judging by the chat on here, I guess I should be a lot more concerned.???

In reply to jezb1:

Thanks for the warning Jez, I've seen lots of ticks on land that deer graze but until recently much less so on sheep country like Glyders. Owning a dog you'll seem the first, you're our early warning system!!

I do wear long trousers and spray near boots at start of each day but pretty half heartedly. Will start to take it more seriously now.

Thank you!

 Spottywot 05 Apr 2021
In reply to jezb1:

       The risk from illness due to a tick bite shouldn't be taken lightly. I was bitten by one last year when in Austria where I live for part of the year and and got encephalitis. It's not really known about in the UK and the chances of getting it here are very small but it can be very very serious if you do. I was in hospital for a month and part of that time was in intensive care. It is a virus that attacks the brain through the spinal cord. It can cause various degrees of paralysis and my arms were paralyzed. Through constant exercise I have got a lot of movement back but they are still very very weak and I can still only lift around a kilo above my head with each arm and even just pushing a door open can be hard and painful. It's going to be a long time before I can get back to climbing. It can also cause mental health problems and I now carry a card in my wallet that indicates I have had a brain injury in case I find myself getting into trouble due to irrational behavior. You can get a vaccination and it's something I would seriously recommend especially if you are going to be spending any time in southern Europe where it's more common. 

In reply to alan moore:

Yeah, 50/50 for a clean removal has been my personal experience. But that is only from a recent sample size of 2, so not really significant. I'd expect the more of them you need to remove the easier it should get. Practice makes perfect, as they say.

Probably not worth worrying over it too much as it's only a small proportion of ticks carrying Lyme, but applying DEET before heading out and more importantly having a check after changing clothes at the earliest convenience (and/or while having a shower at the end of the day, etc) doesn't take much time so definitely worth doing! Gaiters should also help.

Post edited at 12:34
 Andy Manthorpe 06 Apr 2021
In reply to David Myatt:

Lifesystems EX4 spray, for instance, has Permetrin in it. I have seen it on sale for £9 per bottle.

That price is equivalent to 7.5 litres of Petrol at my local supermarket or approximately two and a half pints. If you avoid a Lyme infection, that is probably not too expensive !

 Jack Frost 06 Apr 2021
In reply to jezb1:

Removed my first tick of the season this morning after detecting something itchy on the back of my knee. I was running in the Pentlands on Saturday (3days earlier) and was the last time I can think of being exposed to them. It was having a right good meal - engorged with blood. In over thirty years of the Scottish hills, I've come to expect them as passengers after every outing (Apr-Sep/Oct). I once found 20+ on one leg after doing the LAMM in Harris. 

In reply to Andy Manthorpe:

Sawyers Permethrin

 Rob Parsons 06 Apr 2021
In reply to jezb1:

I was hoping that this year's cold Winter might have knocked the bastards back a bit - but evidently not.

 Donotello 07 Apr 2021
In reply to jezb1:

Interestingly as with a huge range of skin based issues, the majority of guidelines for finding ticks or diagnosing Lyme disease doesn’t work, or is much harder on Black skin. I think a few doctors are working on changing it thankfully. 
 

‘look for yellowing, look for redness, bullseye rash’ etc. Unfortunately the percentage of serious issues for those with Black skin is much higher due to the general guidance for what to look out for. It often doesn’t really work unless you’re white. 

Post edited at 00:15
 Andy Manthorpe 07 Apr 2021
In reply to timparkin:

Thanks Tim. I wasn't aware the Sawyer Permethrin was available in the UK.

I haven't picked up a single tick while wearing shorts, since I've started putting Chrysanthemum aromatherapy oil into my sun cream. Using a dropper bottle, I put ten drops per 100ml of sun cream, into a partially used bottle. You need to be able to shake it so it mixes well.

If you try this mix a small amount and test it on a small area of skin first, to make sure you don't get any reaction.

In reply to NullPointerEx17:

> Probably not worth worrying over it too much as it's only a small proportion of ticks carrying Lyme <

I've seen the maximum % of ticks infected quoted as 20 to 50 and varies regionally. Even with the lower value Jack Frost, who found 20+ ticks on them in a reply in this thread, could easily have had 4 ticks with Lyme.

In reply to oldie:

> I've seen the maximum % of ticks infected quoted as 20 to 50 and varies regionally. Even with the lower value Jack Frost, who found 20+ ticks on them in a reply in this thread, could easily have had 4 ticks with Lyme.

Assuming the probability of an infected tick is independent from tick to tick of course. Is this the case? Naively, I would have thought that it's not. You're likely to have entire populations of infected ticks in one area and hardly any infections in ticks from another area.

 JimR 07 Apr 2021
In reply to duncan b:

I'm another who caught Lyme's. Got it at Cheddar where the place is infested. Ended up on heavy dose of antibiotics for 2 years and even then I occasionally get flare ups. Best avoided by taking as many precautions as you can.

In reply to duncan b:

> Assuming the probability of an infected tick is independent from tick to tick of course. Is this the case? Naively, I would have thought that it's not. You're likely to have entire populations of infected ticks in one area and hardly any infections in ticks from another area.

It seems that way. Anecdotally I've heard Glen Nevis is Lyme free and Glen Finnan there is loads. Forestry works are probably good sources of info

 CMcBain 07 Apr 2021
In reply to timparkin:

Not really sure the basis of a claim like that? The only real way to know would be to catch loads of ticks in a given area and test them, which isn’t really possible in any meaningful way.

Given mice are the main reservoir of the bacteria I would assume that anywhere with mice and other small rodents has a decent chance of having Lyme infected ticks? I’m also guessing that pretty much everywhere in Scotland has loads of mice and other small rodents.

Probably best to always be wary of symptoms after a tick bite than assuming some areas don’t have it.

 Red Rover 07 Apr 2021
In reply to timparkin:

I've heard anecdotally that there are ticks in glen nevis.

 peppermill 08 Apr 2021
In reply to jezb1:

Since I've been living in Scotland I flatly refuse to wear shorts in summer when walking or climbing (It's rare that a lightweight pair of walking trousers becomes unbearable for me in the highlands), all clothes go straight in the washer when I get home, and I often keep a spare set in the car with a bin liner so I can change /seal the clothes and then chuck them in the washer when I get in if we've been to a crag that is particularly bad.

Rucksacks seem to be the worst offenders for picking up ticks and them finding their way into various crevices (Yes, found them there....) a couple of days later especially if we've been at a sport crag or whatever leaving bags at the bottom.

I appreciate how batshit crazy this sounds but friends and I have had far too many near misses with the nasties ticks carry it's not worth being complacent!

Edit to add: I've never really had much of a problem when just walking. As with all of Scotland's nasties like midges or worse, the fcking cleggs, staying in one place for a few minutes belaying/bouldering or leaving kit somewhere seems to be the problem or when camping obviously

Post edited at 07:35
In reply to CMcBain:

> Not really sure the basis of a claim like that? The only real way to know would be to catch loads of ticks in a given area and test them, which isn’t really possible in any meaningful way.... Probably best to always be wary of symptoms after a tick bite than assuming some areas don’t have it. <

Agree totally that all areas may have infected ticks. I'm SW London suburbia and two neighbours  have had it: one probably from walking dog in park (he's internet geek, looked it up, insisted his doctor take it seriously, and got early antibiotic treatmen); the other was a non-outdoorsy lady, suffered badly and ages before it was diagnosed.

There have been various surveys of % ticks infected presumably from samples in various areas....I think some figures for various areas may have been bandied about in other threads but my memory may be at fault. Lyme Disease Action website states "Not all ticks are infected – infection rate in any place in the UK varies from zero to about 20% ....it gives some refs where they use eg PCR to check samples of tick populations for Lyme bacteria. I've seen the figure of 50% somewhere, but possibly on USA website

 lboutside 09 Apr 2021
In reply to jezb1:

Been lucky enough to never have had one get me or even see one. My old dear got Lymes Disease a couple years back and it floored her though so since then I've always carried a Lifesystems card style tick tweezer in my wallet just to be on the safe side. Only cost a couple quid.

Post edited at 11:22
 ollie1 09 Apr 2021
In reply to jezb1:

https://valneva.com/press-release/valneva-and-pfizer-announce-initiation-of-phase-2-study-for-lyme-disease-vaccine-candidate/

Not one for the anti vaxxers, but of interest for the rest of us, especially hairy tick magnets like me.

In reply to CMcBain:

> Not really sure the basis of a claim like that? The only real way to know would be to catch loads of ticks in a given area and test them, which isn’t really possible in any meaningful way.

> Given mice are the main reservoir of the bacteria I would assume that anywhere with mice and other small rodents has a decent chance of having Lyme infected ticks? I’m also guessing that pretty much everywhere in Scotland has loads of mice and other small rodents.

> Probably best to always be wary of symptoms after a tick bite than assuming some areas don’t have it.

Pureley anecdotal from members of the forestry through the numbers of people who have got infected while working in what locations.. 

I wouldn't use the data as "I'm safe in Glen Nevis" more of contradicting the thinking that "I've been bit loads and never got it so must be immune..." No. You might just live somewhere with a low incidence of Lyme, babesiosis, etc.. 

 

 Frank R. 22:33 Sat
In reply to timparkin:

As far as I heard from some friends doing tick research in the academia, that's one of the way it's done - flagging ticks en masse (most un-enviable field job!) and testing them (you can even mail your removed tick to the uni to have it tested for a small fee here). Another less accurate way is collating data from doctors (obviously only the diagnosed cases).

I think both are used, but in any case, I wouldn't count on the Lyme maps to see if your area is "safe" or not. They are certainly helpful for policy and research, but it's a nasty disease (not only the Lyme, the other diseases you mentioned as well!).

You can't always count on the telltale bullseye mark if infected (it doesn't always show even on caucasian skin) and it can have quite bad consequences if left untreated. The bacteria are quite expert on messing with the immune system, remaining hidden for years, with associated health problems later.

And don't get me started on tick-borne encephalitis that we have here, UK is so lucky that it's so rare there - while there is a vaccine to it, I have seen a few cases of of people catching it, and it can be quite a life-changing experience, unfortunately. Any Lyme map is bound to have some inaccuracies, and you don't want to be in the unlucky percentile.

All the worse for permethrin being a generic (and somewhat persistent) insecticide toxic to aquatic animals as well. I do use it, but I am really looking forward to the Lyme vaccine currently in development and trials! 

Post edited at 22:36
In reply to jezb1:

Despite the current extreme cold and the early nature of the season, perhaps incidence of ticks is related to the massive number of dogs currently in the UK compared to the past??

DC

 MisterPiggy 23:05 Sat
In reply to jezb1:

Reading through this thread is just horrendous!

As a youngster in England I romped through heather and bracken, shorts and t-shirt. As an adult, I wore shorts May to October, still romping; also bivvying or just siesta in the hills. Never a tick.

I haven't romped in the UK since the 90s and this thread makes for disheartening reading indeed.

Stay safe everyone!

In reply to MisterPiggy:

Although Lyme's disease and encephalitis are very serious, I don't think you need to be unduly concerned about walking in the UK. I walk almost every day of the year, and in the summer months still wear shorts. One only picks up ticks by walking through vegetation (e.g., long grass) or from things one has put down in the grass. I check the top of my shoes or boots, and my legs every few minutes if I am walking through grass. (Ticks like to work their way up your body, so you have to check the whole way up your legs including behind the knees.) This only takes a few seconds and I do this without stopping. This way I have been able to field every tick that has got onto me before it has got stuck in. I got very good practice at this in Texas, where the tick problem was very bad some years. I had two Golder Retrievers and they would pick up multiple tick every time I went walking through grass with them. Combing out the ticks from their hair, when I got home, was pretty tedious. 

When the tick problem is very bad, one can often spot the ticks hanging on blades of grass, once one has got one's eye in - waiting for a host!

We have remarkably few nasties in the UK , compared with many parts of the world. The last nasties I encountered here, was when I sat down on a bench a couple of years ago and a False Widow spider got under my t-shirt and bit my back three times. Those bites came up as big red lumps. (Hopefully, those spiders don't carry diseases.)

In reply to John Stainforth:

>  ... I don't think you need to be unduly concerned about walking in the UK...

That seems a little relaxed - some awareness is a good thing. A colleague working in anatomy was spotted with a bulleyes rash on her leg by another in medicine - she had only been to a normal park in Derby - they sent her for treatment. Ticks are more widely distributed than commonly thought. I remember dealing with a patient where the only possible source of the many ticks was the rural garden. 

Data derived from a study looking at race volunteers in a 2 day event in Scotland had an infestation rate of about 30% and about 7.5% of those ticks carried Lyme disease on PCR (not exact figures as I haven't checked the paper, so I may had misremembered a little).

I had three ticks across my belt line on a South African trip a few years ago. Having just revised the tick borne disease and tick species of the world for an exam - I was quite worried, but nothing came of it luckily.

In dogs consistent use of the isoxazolines makes tick borne diseases that need blood-feeding and some incubation time unlikely, but of course nothing will stop diseases that are directly transferred such as Babessia apart from avoidance.

 alan moore 09:12 Sun
In reply to John Stainforth:

> When the tick problem is very bad, one can often spot the ticks hanging on blades of grass, once one has got one's eye in - waiting for a host!

Those Texan ticks must be big! The ones I pick up are smaller than a pin head and I only ever see them once they are taking a chunk out of my leg.

 patrick_b 09:29 Sun
In reply to SouthernSteve:

> Data derived from a study looking at race volunteers in a 2 day event in Scotland had an infestation rate of about 30% and about 7.5% of those ticks carried Lyme disease on PCR (not exact figures as I haven't checked the paper, so I may had misremembered a little)

Not quite as high a percentage of competitors as that, thankfully. It was around 10% who found ticks, and 10% of those ticks had the Lyme-causing organism. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5382723/

 Tobes 10:18 Sun
In reply to John Stainforth:

I'd agree to a certain extent. Worth bearing in mind that it’s only in certain stages of the tick that Lymes is carried anyways.

To all - best to avoid getting one attached in the first place (prevention) but if you do carry a tick twizler and remove properly when you can.
 

Don’t be blasé about getting them attached but also don’t assume EVERY tick at every stage of its life IS carrying lymes and ‘WE’RE ALL GUNNA DIE!’ as I often find the tone of the OP’s ‘tick alert’ posts (FB in particular) 

Prevention, do a bit of research, carry a tick remover, simple really. 

In reply to patrick_b:

Thank you for the correction. Should have gone and found the paper. 

In reply to SouthernSteve:

Checking oneself every few minutes when going through grassy terrain is hardly being relaxed about the risk of ticks! 

In reply to alan moore:

The ones I have seen in Texas and elsewhere look to my eyes very much the same as the ones in the UK. All the ones I have removed from myself have been larger than a pin head. And the ones that have attached themselves to me have got their heads buried in - they've never taken out a chunk!

In reply to John Stainforth:

Agreed a proper check at the end of the day, is better than multiple quick checks and is proportionate.

In reply to SouthernSteve:

> Agreed a proper check at the end of the day, is better than multiple quick checks and is proportionate.

I like to do both. If one does the multiple quick checks, one hardly ever finds any at the end of the day. (Those one does find tend to be hiding in sneaky places, such as among the laces of ones boots of shoes.)

In reply to John Stainforth:

> The last nasties I encountered here, was when I sat down on a bench a couple of years ago and a False Widow spider got under my t-shirt and bit my back three times. Those bites came up as big red lumps. (Hopefully, those spiders don't carry diseases.)

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/bite-from-noble-false-widow-spider-transmits-antibiotic-resistant-bacteria-1.4424422

In reply to timparkin:

Thanks for the information. 


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