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The most common tick that West Australian's will encounter while out in the bush is the common "bush tick" or Haemaphysalis longicornis. Longicornis meaning oval or long body.

Ticks are most active in dry conditions where the temperature ranges from day time temperatures of 32C to evening cools of 7C. Most will identify this as our summer time. If you have been out recently I am sure you will have picked up a few. My last outing on the trail only a few weeks ago I pulled or swipped off 15 of the little critters.

There is a great site here full of useful information, and even better is Australian information. They also provide a reference card or tick alert located here which shows how to remove a tick the correct way and how to prevent them in the first place. This is in a printable format.

The site suggests that you use a set of fine point tweezers to remove the tick, as soon as possible, by grasping the tick close to the skin and pulling it straight out with steady pressure. An alternate to this which I have found to be very effective is to use a tool called the de-ticker II which can be found in just about every hiking and camping store around Australia, and at a cost of around $5.95, they are definately worth the investment. The De-ticker works much the same as a pair of tweezers except the tool itself regulates the pressure you need to apply to the tick. You simply push the end of the device in, place it over the tick, again as close to the skin as possible then let the de-ticker retract, gently rotate anti-clockwise and off comes the tick, completely whole. Never try to remove thiss with a chemical treatment, it will only make it worse and has the potential for the tick to inject toxins into the body.

Check out the site and and familiarise yourself with what ticks are and how to treat them and your bush activities will be a little safer and more enjoyable. I have also added the tick alert card as a pdf to the site.

Great link http://www.tickalert.org.au/commonti.htm

Tick

Tags: de-ticker, remove, ticks, toxins

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Yep, more than lickely to encounter these creatures out in the Bush. We had quite a few while walking late September and it was colder than 7 degrees. They have a preference for warm and moist locations, like groins and armpits. Make sure to do a thick check every day.
If you ever come to Europe be aware that the ticks here carry Lyme disease which can be quite nasty and usually a anti biotics cure needs to be taken when being used as a food source by a thick. Don't let that keep you away from our beautiful continent ;)
I've been lucky with these little blighters and managed to avoid them til now...touch wood. I was surprised to read that they say not to use Vaseline against them. The last time I attended a St Johns Senior First Aid course (about 3 yrs ago), it was taught that Vaseline or personal insect repellent would remove the tick (by starving them of air forcing it to back out).
Hi Dale,

When you use a chemical aid on the tick, you are right it does starve them of oxygen and they do, sometimes, release their grip and come off. The issue is that when they are shocked like that they are more than likely going to release toxins into your blood stream at the same time. Its a nasty thought but thats what happens when they have the time. If you twist them off in one hit they dont have the time.
Cheers
Mark

Dale said:
I've been lucky with these little blighters and managed to avoid them til now...touch wood. I was surprised to read that they say not to use Vaseline against them. The last time I attended a St Johns Senior First Aid course (about 3 yrs ago), it was taught that Vaseline or personal insect repellent would remove the tick (by starving them of air forcing it to back out).

Thanks for a great post Mark. My own experiences confirm a lot of your observations. I have walked in areas in winter and never picked up a tick. However in summer there have been plenty ticks in the exact same places. In December I pulled over a dozen ticks off me at Monadnocks shelter on the Bibbulmun Track. These were mostly small red ticks although the Kangaroo ticks came charging at me on their stumpy little legs in Nerang, Mt Cooke and Gringer Creek shelters.

I am interested in how they locate you, it does not seem from vibration as banging a walking stick did not create any interest, I suspect they may use smell. 

I have found that the best way to avoid being bitten is to liberally apply Rid or sunblock with insect repellent (Le Tan and Coles work well). In my younger days we used to use Kerosene although I am not sure of the health issues. I am also told that Deep Heat or Tiger Balm work well.

For treatment of bites I carry an anti-histamine cream called Anthisan, this is available in the UK, New Zealand or South Africa (but sadly not locally) . If applied early it stops swelling and itching. If not applied early then I find bites can itch for up to a month. Stingose and a Mopiko Ointment give some relief. The itching is definetely worse if the tick was coated with a chemical.

I also find removing ticks to be quite easy with tweezers and even with your fingers if gentle and consistent pressure is applied.

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