Tales of Tentsmuir ticks exaggerated


People are being urged to take sensible precautions to avoid picking up ticks when out and about this summer.

There had been a report of a ‘plague of ticks’ but official sources point to the numbers being no higher than expected at this time of year.

One area highlighted was Tentsmuir National Nature Reserves but reserve manager Tom Cunningham said he had not heard of any exceptional rise in people being bitten.

The reserve keeps a record of any incidents among workers but said they had only recorded six among the eight staff and volunteer members.

Ticks are small, blood-sucking creatures which feed on different types of birds and animals, including humans.

The danger is that during feeding they can spread infections and cause disease, including the potentially dangerous Lyme Disease.

They are found in woodland and moorland areas and long grass are most common from April to October.

The most common tick in Scotland is the sheep or deer tick.

They feed for several days then drop off into the undergrowth where they grow and develop, until they are ready for their next blood meal or to lay eggs. They vary from 1mm to 1cm long and have six or eight legs.

The best way to prevent picking up a tick is to ensure that skin does not come into contact with vegetation.

Long trousers should be tucked into socks and long sleeves worn and clothing should be checked regularly, with any ticks spotted brushed off.

Dogs taken for walks in woodlands and through grass should also be checked regularly.

If you feel unwell or develop a rash around a tick bite, you should seek medical advice and remember to tell your doctor you have been bitten by a tick.