Before you know it, it’ll be warm and people will be itching to get outside, but there are also little critters itching to get a piece of you.
For Erie County park rangers, knowing how to deal with the elements is just part of the job.
Come spring time, that means ticks. That's why Chuck Bartlett comes prepared.
“There's some alcohol wipes for cleaning, a nice heavy pair of tweezers for removal and some band aids to put over after you've removed the tick,” he explained, going through the contents of a tick kit.
The crawlers might be gross, but it’s when they bite that timing is key.
“It's that blood transmission where they start to pass the diseases,” said Bartlett.
He has his own methods for keeping safe in nature. Light colored clothing if he can, but when he’s in uniform, it’s long sleeves, long pants.
“It looks silly, I know, but tuck your pants into your socks or boots," Bartlett said. "What I'm doing here is I'm creating a seam so as I'm walking the place I'm most likely to pick the ticks off are going to be my feet, ankles and lower legs.”
His uniform is treated with permethrin, but you can use anything that’s rated for ticks. Especially make sure you spray if you’re opting for shorts and a tank top instead.
“This would be a hot zone," Bartlett said, gesturing. "As we go into the wooded area during the summer, walking through that leaf litter is where you can really pick up some ticks as well.”
These are tips that keep park rangers safe.
“In the seven years I've been around, we've not had any instances of tick borne illness,” he said.
Illnesses like Lyme disease can bring flu like symptoms and turn into a bullseye rash or even temporary face paralysis. There are serious consequences for people and pets.
You can treat them with repellent too, among other tips.
“It's important to stay on the trail and in the middle of the trail," Bartlett explained. "So they're not brushing up against the underbrush and stuff on the sides where they can pick up ticks.”
If all else fails, it’s the tick check that you’ll need. Check those warm, moist places on pets and yourself.
"Your armpit, your groin, check behind your ears and then for me, because I do the envelope as ticks are coming up, I tend to push everything up this way, so I have to check my beard,” Bartlett explained.
That way, you can try to enjoy summer without becoming a meal.
Typically, tick season runs from later April through September or October.
If you find a tick bit you, pull it out as soon as possible and clean the area.