FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The University of Arkansas' Division of Agriculture says there is an abundance ticks this spring in Arkansas.
The statement comes on the heels of a death in neighboring Oklahoma, where a man succumbed to the Heartland virus, which is spread through tick bites.
"This spring we're seeing an abundance of lone star ticks and American dog ticks," extension entomologist Kelly Loftin said. Other species common in Arkansas include the blacklegged tick, the winter tick, the Gulf Coast tick and the brown dog tick.
Loftin said winter weather doesn't kill the insect.
"Some tick species survive in leaf litter, soil or other protected sites," he said. "Others may survive the winter on a host animal."
Loftin said any tick found on the body should be promptly removed by using tweezers, pulling upward with a steady pressure.
"Thoroughly clean the area, the bite area and your hands with alcohol, an iodine scrub or soap and water," Loftin said.
Health officials also suggest people check for ticks after being outdoors and use bug spray with at least 20 percent DEET. People can also wear long-sleeved clothing when outdoors and avoid brush.
Tick-borne diseases can also cause serious illness in pets and other domestic animals. Loftin says owners should be check animals frequently and give them tick-control products recommended by veterinarians, Loftin said.