Posts filed under ‘tick’

Recommended Viewing: Questing Ticks by MYRMECOS

Three years ago, Ryan and I got to witness the miracle of life. Some eggs we had in a specimen jar hatched and we became the adoptive parents of hundreds of baby ticks. (We weren’t good parents, mind you, our charges all perished). Although our hearts raced at the thought of the vial breaking in our home, we still were fascinated by the behavior of the little ones. They always wanted to be high up, so they would climb to the top of the vial. We would flip it over and they could climb back up and so on. In Ryan’s post “Fun with Tick Clockwork“, he described the phenonmenon as “like some twisted version of an hourglass, appropriate for some Tim Burton film.”

I didn’t realize it at the time, but the verb for what the ticks were doing is called “questing”. I learned this from the blog MYRMECOS where Biologist and Photographer Alex Wild managed to make this creepy behavior look beautiful. He posted some Tick Questing pictures last week. I recommend a look-see!

Enjoy and may your summer be free of real-live questing ticks. : )

April 25, 2012 at 1:00 am 1 comment

New Rule at the Dismal Swamp State Park

When Ryan and I were pawpaw hunting, we discovered there is a new regulation in place at the Dismal Swamp State Park.

Dismal Swamp State Park - Do Not Feed Ticks
Do Not Feed the Ticks

September 24, 2009 at 5:00 am 6 comments

Another Symptom of Baby Tick Obsession

Baby Tick Tattoo?

Sunday morning, Ryan Somma told me about a dream he had the night before.

“You told me you were getting a tattoo,” he said, “I asked of what and you said, ‘Baby Ticks!'”

May 4, 2009 at 3:00 pm 5 comments

Introducing… the Baby Ticks

From eavesdropping at baby showers and reading the status updates of pregnant Facebook friends, I’ve gathered the waiting at the end of the third trimester is suspenseful and both thrilling and excruciating. And now, I can relate a little better. Courtesy of a tick.

In March, Ryan Somma removed a tick from one of the dogs. There isn’t terribly unusual and we have a whole disposal routine involving the toilet. Only this time instead of getting flushed, Ryan put the tick in a specimen jar.

The last week of March, Ryan picked up the vial off his desk and I heard this:


followed by:

“So this is what happens to a tick after you take it off a dog.”

Well I had to see for myself. I walked over and my first reaction mirrored Ryan’s.


Our tick had laid eggs. Hundreds and hundreds of eggs.

Tick Eggs - Side
Mama Tick and Her Eggs – March 29, 2009

And like Ryan, my disgust was followed by fascination… or obsession. Both terms are equally fitting.

For that day on, I was waiting for the baby ticks. When I was home, I would wake up, feed the dogs, check on the baby ticks. Sometimes if I was having a slow afternoon, the baby ticks got checked multiple times throughout the day. When I was on business trips and called home, I would ask my usual question to Ryan, “Did I get any mail?”. And then I would ask, “How are the baby ticks?”

As with any upcoming arrival, you share your excitement with family. I told my mother about the tick eggs. I told Ryan’s mother about the tick eggs. (Neither seemed particularly impressed).

Alas, despite my enthusiasm, day after day, morning after morning, those eggs were the same disgusting blobs they were on March 29th. There were no baby ticks. With each visit to the bookshelf to look at the specimen jar, I became more and more frustrated.

Finally, convinced they were dead, I gave up. I didn’t check on the ticks at all last week…. until Friday, May 1st. When I approached the specimen jar, I could see a lot of dirt on the inside.

Baby Ticks - Entire Vial
“Dirty” Vial (Photo by Ryan Somma)

At first, I was miffed, thinking one of the neighborhood kids had decided to shake it. And then I realized…. it was the baby ticks.


Baby Ticks - Lots (by Ryan)
Baby Ticks Waiting for the Jar to be Opened (Photo by Ryan Somma)

Baby Ticks (Cropped)
Baby Ticks – May 1, 2009

Our new pets aren’t exactly pretty, but they are interesting. They like to be as high as they can get. No matter how the vial is positioned, they climb to the top. You rotate it, they climb to the new top. It’s like a reverse hour glass.

FrontLine’s website says, “Regardless of species, tick eggs hatch in about two weeks.” That wasn’t the case with our baby ticks. When it was all said and done, it took them 28 – 33 days to hatch. I anticipated waited agonized for the baby ticks for roughly one human menstrual cycle. I can only imagine the suspense that accompanies one human gestation period!

Now that the baby ticks have finally arrived, I embark on another act of waiting.

This time I’m waiting for them to die.

: )

May 4, 2009 at 12:44 pm 39 comments

Flashback to Tick Season 2006

Last Tuesday, I received a text message from Sean:

When I woke up this morning there was a tick on my pillow! I blame you!

Before I gave it much thought, I wrote back:

Wow I can not believe ticks are already out.

But now that I think it over, I should not have been so surprised. On April 11, 2006 (ten days earlier), I encountered a whooping 4 ticks in one day!

I actually acquired my companions the day before. I landed in Wichita and with only 25 hours in the state of Kansas I wanted to get some rollerblading and geocaching done. So as soon as I checked in my hotel and dropped off my stuff, I was off! I spent the rest of the daylight hours hanging out in Pawnee Prairie Park.

It was my first time in Kansas and I found myself enamored with the “amber waves of grain”. I navigated the tall grass for some photos. I didn’t realize it, but I made myself the perfect attractive nuisance for ticks.

Me, unknowingly collecting ticks in 2006.

When I returned to my hotel, ticks were not even on my radar. I shed my clothes and threw them back into my suitcase and went to sleep. The next morning, I got my business attire out of that same suitcase and headed out to an all day meeting.

So here I am, listening intently to the proceedings and I feel an itch on my leg. I reach down to scratch it and I find… a tick!!! What should one do in that situation? Do you interrupt the conversation and announce to a room full of VPs and managers, “I HAVE A TICK!” That didn’t seem to be an appealing option. Instead I went with a maneuver that is more socially acceptable in the all-day meeting environment. I grabbed my cell phone as if I had a pressing call, stepped briefly out of the room, and escorted my hitchhiker to the toilet.

Crisis adverted, right? Well a little while later, I found ANOTHER tick on my neck. And then later I found ANOTHER one crawling on my arm. Yup, I got a lot of “important phone calls” that day.

When the meeting ended, I rushed back to the airport. Prior to check-in, I jammed myself and my belongings into a bathroom stall and I switched into my traveling clothes. Where were my fresh clothes stored? Well, in my suitcase, of course!

On planes, I try to always sit in the window seat (The curvature of the plane gives me the perfect head-tilt angle to sleep). I was drinking my Sprite courtesy of the beverage service when I noted yet ANOTHER tick crawling on me. I looked to my left. Two other passengers were comfortably drinking their sodas and relaxing with their tray tables down. I was less than anxious to bother them.

I decided to innovate. What did I have around me? Oh, I know, the Sprite! I took one last sip of the lemon-lime goodness and then I dropped the tick in.

Now I have drowned lots of ticks in my lifetime. They always swim around for while. Even when one urinates on them, those little buggers are not deterred (Yes, I know this from experience). Well, I don’t know what it was about the Sprite– if it was the carbonation, the citrus, or the cold temperature, but when I dropped that tick in, he was paralyzed instantly! He stopped moving on contact. He sunk and he drowned…at 30,000 feet.

Butterflies like Gatorade. Ticks, apparently, don’t like Sprite.

April 28, 2008 at 10:53 am 6 comments

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