Nov 2018: Two on Ticks, Disease Numbers & Lives of Hungry Ticks

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 26 November 2018


Two Research Articles

CDC Reports Substantial Annual Tickborne Disease Increase

Metabolic Adaptations of Tick Hunting Strategies Revealed




2016-2017 The Latest Data

Tickborne Disease Surveillance Data Summary,
CDC, November 9, 2018




Lyme Disease infections increased 17% between 2016-17.

36,429 to 42,743

Total Cases of Tickborne Disease increased 22% in the same period.

48,610 to 59,349


Since 2004


All Tickborne Diseases increased 163% between 2004-17

22,527 to 59,349





Press Report

Reported tick diseases hit all-time high,
UPI, November 15, 2018.



Tickborne Disease News & Research

Tick Tragedy: Young Lady Killed by Unidentified Lyme Disease


2018 Tick Alert, FYI: Tick Infections Rising


July, 2018: A New Member of Bacterial Family Causing Lyme Disease

Bacteria Wars: Behavior, Strategy, Resistance, and Prospects


Science News: Cure of Tick Borne Diseases, Lyme Disease?

HEALTH & FITNESS, Fantastic New Tick Borne Disease Test


Related Research

Lyme disease predicted to rise in United States as climate warms

Ticks in Balance: Break the Balance and Suffer more Ticks


Health & Fitness News, Enduring Lyme Disease: Why we Avoid Ticks





Knowledge is Power

Hungry ticks work harder to find you,
University of Cincinnati, November 20, 2018.


"...go as long as a year without a meal."

Hunger Motivates? Really?
"“Starved ticks are more likely to look for a host...”

Waiting Game

" to go long periods without a meal is a tick’s superpower."

"Ticks can go so long between meals because of their slow metabolism."

“In the absence of any host cues, they go into a dormant state where they don’t move around a lot.”

"This helps conserve energy for the ticks’ preferred wait-and-see ambush strategy."

Hunting Style
"In the wild, adult ticks explore the undergrowth and climb tall grass. They reach out with the claws on their forelegs, a behavior called questing, to snag an animal’s fur or your denim jeans. Then they burrow into their hosts with mouthparts shaped like ratchets that keep them in place."

Tick Test Subjects
"...ticks that were subjected to more than 36 weeks of starvation."

Tick Test
"...researchers stimulated the ticks’ questing behavior by breathing into identical glass cylinders. (Ticks can sense carbon dioxide so they know when a possible meal is close at hand.)"

"Biologists recorded differences in activity between just-fed ticks and starving ones. They found that starved ticks had higher activity levels and increased questing behavior than recently fed ones."

"...starved ticks had higher activity levels and increased questing behavior than recently fed ones."

Surprise Metabolic Response
"But after three months without food, a tick’s metabolism actually increases significantly — by as much as 100 percent — and remains at this higher rate for weeks in association with its increased activity."

"...genes related to immunity were activated by starvation, which could be another survival mechanism. Animals that feed on blood must have a immune system capable of fighting bacteria and other microorganisms. By activating genes associated with immunity, ticks might be preparing for an imminent meal."

“The more they were starved, the more they were priming themselves for that next blood meal.”


The Bottom Line

Especially after the scientists blew on the starving ticks, triggering the increased physical and metabolic activity anticipating a meal. What they measured was common knowledge.

Starving things respond to food stimulus...

Show a starving dog a steak, and scientists can, apparently, watch it salivate... Starve it more, and it salivates more. Feed it well, and the response to steak disappears... Starve it enough, and you might disappear...

My Laser-Like focus: How to Prevent Hungry Ticks from Finding Me, not so much the common-knowledge that hungry ticks (and everything else) are searching for food with intensity porportional to their hunger, which really measures their desperation...

The Takeaway

There are more ticks, they are spreading, and they are spreading more disease. This calls for increased virgilance, gear, and technics in the field to reduce the chances of contact, and prevent contact from becoming a health issue.

The research above gives us some good tick facts, about their hunting style, which tunes us in to the locations of greatest danger, tall grass in moist climates, where we must exhibit the greatest caution and countermeasures.

I use the Tick Stick to move grasses out of the way, or for inspection, when possible. I have socks, pants, and shirts all tucked into each other, and all under constant observation for threats, when in tick-heavy terrain. I supplement this with physical inspection, feeling behind my knees, around elbows, armpits, and crotch on a necessary & regular basis.


Tick Defense Strategies

Tick Stick


Related Research

The Ancient, Mighty Tick

Ticks on the Move

Tick News: Oh-Oh, New, Nasty-Assed Tick in Eastern US







Skeeter & Tick News, Research, & Information






November 2018 News of Man & Nature





More Nature News Topics

Climate Destruction News



Bee News

Bear News

Spider Forum

Bird News

Small Mammals

Frogs and Reptiles

Butterfly News


Health and Fitness

Mountain Safety

Mosquito News

Female Trail

High Sierra History


Astro-Phys, Space, & Science News

High Sierra Geology News

Fish, Oceans, & Water News



All High Sierra News





tick disease notes, CDC reports increase, research reports on tick genes, tick metabolism


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