Letters July 22, 2021

Up close and personal – black legged deer tick, Ixodes Scapularis

Fortunately for me to this point I have been successfully dealing with the deer tick since its presence in Wisconsin became recognized as a serious problem. Although a metaphysical statement that cannot be
proven, this part of the United States is probably ground zero for Lyme disease infections. 

Usually I locate these deer ticks before they ever become engorged with blood. I have picked seven deer ticks off the skin since spring working in the garden and the orchard without counting up all the wood ticks. 

Anyone who takes the deer tick seriously should have a strong pair of tweezers and a ten-power magnifier for a positive identification. From a body size of less than one to three millimeters depending on which of its four instar stages of metamorphosis, try identifying a single leg.

More importantly, although the leg of a deer tick can be seen with the naked eye by the contrast in color sticking up from the center of a small red spot that maybe itching, its association to the deer tick may
not be made. 

This is my explanation for why the presence of the deer tick can be missed, overlooked, and thus never found after causing an infection of Lyme disease. Unlike a wood tick, the deer tick itself can be hiding in a pocket of skin it created with a single leg sticking out.

By pulling up on the leg, the deer tick itself will emerge whole if you are lucky or in pieces if you are not.  The 10-power magnifier will provide its identification. 

If fully engorged with blood, a deer tick has likely been there from thirty-six to forty-eight hours, though the time required to transmit Lyme disease, is even suggested as little as 12 hours.  Hopefully with identification and after treating the bite with an antiseptic, monitoring for symptoms in the next month will support a negative exposure to disease.

Mike Gellerman
Orienta, Wisconsin

Red alert

The Republicans are quickly and eagerly closing doors and erecting barriers for Americans yearning to vote and participate in our democracy.
It’s disheartening to witness their entrenched and regressive attitudes hold sway.
I remember the 19th Century Prussian leader, Otto von Bismarck, who exclaimed, “Laws are like sausages; it’s best not to see them being made.”

Gerald Norrgard