Summer is officially here, and you may find yourself outdoors on the prairie this weekend.
Before you head to your favorite county park, Johnson County Government reminds residents to be mindful of exposure to ticks and other disease-carrying insects.
Ticks can be difficult to detect because the insects develop in four stages: egg, larva, nymph and adult. The American Dog tick, the Lone Star tick and the Brown Dog tick are the most common tick species in Johnson County.
Ticks typically feed on native wildlife or domestic livestock to meet their need for a blood host. Once they have fed, they drop to the ground and molt into their next stage. Ticks repeat the process three times as they move from the larva to the nymph to the adult stage. Blood hosts are typically a mouse, small rodent, a bird or a deer.
Ticks do not jump or drop from trees. Ticks crawl onto blades of grass, weeds or low bushes and wait for a host to brush against the vegetation. The tick immediately releases from the vegetation and crawls onto the host.
The Department of Health and Environment suggests the following ways to avoid exposure to ticks.
Watch this brief YouTube video on tick exposure and prevention.