Countryside lovers in Wiltshire are being advised to be “tick aware” this summer so they know what to do should they come into contact with the insects.
Ticks are most active between spring and autumn and can transmit bacteria which can cause potentially serious illness, such as Lyme disease.
A joint campaign by Wiltshire Council and local scientists from Public Health England based at Porton Down is being launched next week with information on how to prevent being bitten by ticks and how to safely remove them.
Ticks are small spider-like creatures which feed on the blood of animals and people and are often found in dense vegetation or long grass, but can also be found in woodlands, grasslands, moorland and some urban parks and gardens.
Ticks don’t jump or fly, but wait on vegetation and climb on animals or people.
They then bite to attach to the skin and start to feed on the blood. It can be several days before they drop off.
Ticks can be found throughout the year, but are most active between spring and autumn.
They can transmit bacteria which can cause potentially serious illness but this can be treated effectively with antibiotics if caught in the early stages.
The Wiltshire campaign is being launched during national Tick Awareness Week - March 24-28 - with information and advice on how to avoid coming into contact with the insects and the safest way to remove them if you are bitten.
The campaign will include:
• An information exhibition in the Atrium, County Hall, March 24-28
• Experts giving out advice and opportunities to view ticks under a microscope in the Market Square, Salisbury on Tuesday, March 25
• Information cards given out to all country and canal officers, including tick removal tools for their first aid kits and for all current volunteers
• Information sent out to GP surgeries, pharmacies, libraries and schools
Keith Humphries, cabinet member for public health, said: “Wiltshire is a beautiful rural county and this campaign encourages individuals and families to continue enjoying outdoor activities with the knowledge and confidence of how to manage ticks should they come into contact with them.”
Maggie Rae, Wiltshire Council corporate director, said: “Wiltshire has acres of beautiful countryside with many excellent opportunities for outdoor work and leisure activities.
"This is a timely campaign which provides useful advice which we hope people will bear in mind as they take to the countryside this summer.”