May 17, 2024 at 4:42 p.m.

Outdoors - Tick attack


By DAVID DELOST | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment
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   Saturday, I decided to go for a quick ride through the timber in pursuit of my latest hobby, finding different types of edible mushrooms. There are all kinds of mushrooms we have overlooked in the past, just because I did not know about them. At this time of year with the plentiful rains we have experienced, mushrooms of all types are growing in abundance. Morels are still one of my favorites but the season for them has passed. Now we have at least two types of oyster mushrooms and chicken of the woods, which are all easy to identify.

   Wood ticks have been plentiful this year but not a huge problem. When I plan to wander around the woods, I wear a set of clothes treated with the insect repellent, permethrin. This does a fairly good job of keeping ticks off me and the dogs have long lasting treatment that kills the ticks when they bite them. I would rather have something for the dogs that would prevent the tick from getting on the dogs, but that is not an option.

   Billie, the poodle, and I took off in the Ranger, heading to the paintball timber. After the first hundred yards, Billie bailed out and wanted to run. He happily ran through the hayfield ahead of me and into the woods. I was looking for recently dead ash or elm trees. For some reason, this is where the oyster mushrooms grow. Billie was looking for any furry forest creature he could chase. He covered a lot of ground chasing squirrels and rabbits while I picked more than enough golden oyster mushrooms for a meal. We were back at the house in less than thirty minutes.

   I rinsed the mud off Billie’s feet and joined my wife on the porch getting ready to brush him. My wife noticed a tick on his chest. I got the brush, and the first stroke yielded several ticks. I would remove each tick from the brush and burn them with a lighter. The next brush removed several more. Each stroke of the brush brought more ticks. We finally got a jar of alcohol and dropped the live ticks into it as stopping to burn each fresh batch was getting tedious, not to mention, my thumb was getting sore.  About two hours later, the dog was getting sore from non-stop brushing, my arm was getting tired, and the number of ticks removed with each stroke did not seem to be decreasing. This was obviously not going to work. If each tick had to bite the dog for the medicine in him to work, he would run out of blood before they were all killed. We went to the shower and gave him a flea and tick bath. This was not his idea of a good time after having such a fun run, but it beat the alternative. After drying him off, we brushed him out again. We removed many more dead ticks after his bath. I have not seen that many ticks in my entire life. Our comparatively mild winter and warm wet spring must have created an ideal situation for wood ticks, especially in the paintball timber.

   We made a great recipe for mushroom risotto but if we need more golden oysters, I will not be taking Billie with me to get more. The poor dog does not need another tick attack.


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