Ticks (on me!)

Image showing a tick attached to my leg

A tick in place on my thigh

Photographing the deer (or anything else) in Richmond Park in the warmer months presents a few (very) small challenges – namely ticks!

If you’re squeamish about creepy crawlies (especially the ones that feed on you) then click away now!

Up until last year I hadn’t been bothered by them, as most of my photography in that location was done during autumn and winter. Then in August 2016, after attending and enjoying several photography meetups over the previous few months,  I started my own walking/photography group on Meetup.com, primarily using Richmond Park as a location for small groups to photograph deer while enjoying a short walk, but also some longer walks out in the Surrey Hills.

Last year I found two ticks on me from two separate visits. Not bad for a whole year, but it was nearing the end of the summer by then, so most of them would have been dying off AND I would have switched from shorts to long trousers.

This year I have now lost count of the number I have found on me. Definitely more than a dozen in the space of three months and usually at least two per visit (even when wearing long trousers). If you’re in the habit, like me, of wearing shorts and either lying or sitting in the grass then you’re definitely in their sights. Even brushing against grass or ferns as you walk can offer them the chance to “hop on”!

I use insect repellent, which isn’t that effective for me, and also the Tick Twister to remove them. It’s simple to use and quite effective, sometimes needing two or three attempts but can work first time with a bit of practice (and I’ve been getting plenty!).

Positioning the Tick Twister

You just slide it along to grip the tick then twist and the tick is safely removed.

Tick removed (alive and still crawling) with a pin to show scale

There is a risk of a bacterial infection so apply some anti-septic cream and remember to monitor the bite area for the next few weeks. If a rash develops or you begin to feel unwell  then consult your doctor.

Here are the same images zoomed to 100% (apologies for any blur, but I was working handheld):

It’s amazing how small they can be. I always check myself afterwards but I sometimes find them the following day. They’ve been feeding on me all night and have grown a bit making them easier to spot!

Will I stop what I do, or give up on the shorts or lying down? Definitely not when I enjoy it so much and occasionally achieve results I’m happy with like this:

Evening Light – 115mm with 1.4x extender (161mm equivalent); ISO 800; 1/220 sec; f/4 (click image to view larger size)

Further information on ticks, with advice on how to avoid and deal with them can be found by clicking here.

3 thoughts on “Ticks (on me!)

  1. Martin, that tick looks a bit nasty !. I love photographing Deer,but ticks and creepies put me off a little. I think if we go to Richmond(which we were going to do in August) I think I will wear a suit of Armour 🙂

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