1. True. Insect repellents with up to 30 percent DEET solutions work best on ticks.
2. False. There are about a dozen species of ticks in the state.
3. True. Though commonly called the deer tick or bear tick, the official name is “black-legged tick.” Because it has, uh, black legs.
4. False. They live in wooded or brushy areas where it’s humid. “They don’t do well in agricultural areas or urban settings,” said Dave Neitzel, an epidemiologist at the Minnesota Department of Health. Wood ticks, also known as American dog ticks, thrive in wooded and farm areas.
5. False. Rest assured, ticks are crawlers.
6. False. Michael Jordan, they are not. Ticks can’t jump, but they sometimes wait for a host in a “questing” position — hanging out on a blade of grass or shrub, holding on with their third and fourth legs while reaching out with their first pair of legs, ready to climb aboard an animal or human passing by.
7. False. While most people who develop Lyme disease do develop a rash in the shape of a large ring with a dot in the center, the rash may instead appear large and blotchy. In some cases, there is no rash at all.
8. True. Symptoms for Lyme disease are similar to those for the flu.
9. True. Health officials focus on two areas of the country in monitoring diseases carried by ticks: the northeastern United States and the Upper Midwest, namely Minnesota and Wisconsin. Deer ticks are plentiful and native to these parts.
10. False. “Sometimes those mouth parts will break off underneath your skin, but they’ll work their way out over time,” Neitzel said. “That doesn’t increase your risk for Lyme disease or any other tick-borne disease.”
11. False. Feeding season peaks in May and June. Those months are also a high-risk time for disease transmission.
12. False. Larvae, nymphs and adults are the three life stages for ticks. Only nymphs and adults can transmit diseases to people.
13. True. The edges of trails sometimes have overhanging brush that could expose you to ticks. Walking in the middle of the trail reduces the likelihood that you’ll get bit.
14. True. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted from the tick to its host — including dogs. Acute arthritis and sudden lameness are common symptoms in dogs.
15. True. Symptoms occur three to 30 days after a tick bite.
16. True. Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness in Minnesota, but other diseases carried through ticks include human anaplasmosis, babesiosis and ehrlichiosis.
17. True. Pulling them out with pointy tweezers works better than other methods — burning the tick with a match or smothering it with Vaseline, for example. “Grab it close to where the mouth parts are entering your skin and then pull it out slowly and firmly,” Neitzel advised. “That’s the way to go.” You can also just use your fingers to pull a tick off.
18. False. Deer ticks tend to dig in deeper and attach more firmly than wood ticks because deer ticks have long, barbed mouth parts.
19. False. “They’re both good at finding you, and they both will attach to you,” Neitzel said, “but as far as feeding on you and transmitting diseases, the female is the one that is involved there.” Adult males generally aren’t feeding — they’re hanging on and waiting for a female to get on the same host. They then let go and try to mate with the female.
20. False. “When they get really engorged, they can become fragile — but they’re not going to explode,” said Jon Oliver, a tick researcher at the University of Minnesota. Deer ticks can swell up to the size of a small bean, while wood ticks can grow as big as a dime.