Warm weather wakes up ticks, so wear insect repellant

DES MOINES — Forecasters predict Iowa will have another unseasonably warm weekend ahead, and one downside to the spring-like temperatures in the 60s and 70s is that creepy-crawly ticks will be on the move.

Entomologist Tom Klubertanz says if you’ll be spending any time outdoors, especially hiking in the woods, wear insect repellant, and be sure to check yourself for ticks after you come back inside.

“It doesn’t even have to be that warm,” Klubertanz says. “Even in typical winters, if we get a warm spot into the 40s, it’s enough to get tick activity, but this is kind of extreme and the longer ticks are moving around, the more chance we’ve got of attracting them.”

Ticks aren’t something Iowans would typically worry about in early March, but a warm winter means otherwise. Klubertanz says a longer tick season brings the threat of southern tick species migrating north.

“The two that come to my attention are the Lone Star tick and the Gulf Coast tick,” he says. “Both can transmit diseases, not Lyme disease, but other diseases.”

There’s another tick to be watchful for, especially if you raise cattle or horses in Iowa. The Asian longhorned tick has been found in at least 19 states, including Missouri.