Outdoors: Tick season starts

Staff Reports

Fight the Bite: Mosquito and Tick Season Begins in Ohio

ODH offers tips on how to prevent mosquito- and tick-borne diseases

COLUMBUS – Mosquito and tick season has officially begun in Ohio, and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) urges people to “fight the bite” and take precautions to prevent bites from mosquitoes and ticks which can carry diseases such as West Nile virus, Zika virus and Lyme disease.

In Ohio, ticks are most active April through September, and mosquitoes May through October.


Ohio has a type of mosquito that can transmit West Nile virus, and 17 cases were reported in the state last year.

The primary mosquito that transmits Zika virus is found in the tropics and southern U.S., but it is not known to be established in Ohio. A “cousin” of the mosquito is found in parts of Ohio and may potentially transmit Zika virus. Ohio had 95 travel-associated Zika cases last year in returning travelers from Zika-affected areas, and three travel-associated cases so far in 2017.

Nationally, there have been more than 5,000 travel-associated Zika cases in the U.S. since Jan. 2015. The only cases of local mosquito-borne Zika transmission in the continental U.S. were in South Florida and Brownsville, Texas, last year.

“You can take some simple precautions at home and when traveling to prevent potentially serious mosquito-borne diseases,” said Sietske de Fijter, ODH State Epidemiologist and Bureau Chief of Infectious Diseases.

Mosquitoes can live indoors and outdoors, and some species bite during the day while others bite at dusk and dawn. Here are some tips to avoid mosquito bites and prevent mosquito-borne diseases:

  • If you are outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, be sure to wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, shoes and socks.
  • Wear light-colored clothing, which is less attractive to mosquitoes.
  • Use EPA-registered mosquito repellent and follow the label directions.
  • Wear clothing and gear treated with permethrin, an insecticide (do not apply permethrin directly to skin).
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
  • Here are some tips to eliminate mosquito breeding sites around your home:
  • Eliminate standing water.
  • Empty or remove water-holding containers, such as buckets, unused flower pots and bird baths.
  • Make sure all roof gutters are clean and draining properly.
  • Keep child wading pools empty and on their sides when not being used.


The types of ticks found in Ohio can transmit a variety of diseases, including Lyme disease, and 160 cases were reported in the state last year.

“If you find a tick attached to your body, remove it and monitor your health to watch for a fever, rash, muscle or joint aches or other symptoms,” said de Fijter. “If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider.”

Here are some tips to avoid tick bites and prevent tick-borne diseases:

  • Avoid direct contact with ticks by avoiding wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter, and by walking in the center of trails.
  • Wear clothing and gear treated with permethrin, an insecticide (do not apply permethrin directly to skin).
  • Use EPA-registered tick repellent and follow the label directions.

Here are some tips for finding and removing ticks attached to your body:

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  • Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Do not twist or jerk the tick, which can cause the mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  • After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub or soap and water.
  • Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.
  • Avoid folklore remedies such as “painting” a tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly or using heat to make the tick detach from your skin.

Go to the ODH website at odh.ohio.gov for more information about how to prevent mosquito-borne and tick-borne diseases and other information and resources. ODH’s statewide campaign started Monday, May 8.

The weekly search for butterflies at Inniswood yields fascinating results

It probably isn’t a surprise that bees and butterflies of all kinds find a home at Inniswood. Our combination of cultivated gardens and natural areas provides opportunities to meet the needs of many lepidoptera species. Every week, April through October, an Inniswood educator sets out on a stroll through the gardens in search of butterflies. We follow a set route past flower beds, prairie gardens and forested areas, and record every butterfly we see within 15 feet of us. With a pad and pencil in hand we start out at Innis House and make our way through the 14 sections of our butterfly monitoring transect.

SECTION 1: Before we get going, we make notes on the weather conditions. Warm, sunny days with minimal wind are best for finding butterflies. If we have rain, if temperatures are below 60 degrees, and if wind speeds are above 18 mph, it means we had better wait for another day. On favorable days, we set off and make our way to the Rose Garden.

SECTION 2: At the Rose Garden we wind our way around the back of the large gray trellis. In summer the clustered blossoms of phlox growing beside the trellis provides butterflies with the landing spots they need to rest and take a drink.

SECTION 3: From the Rose Garden we head for the Gardens Entrance. At least a few skippers, and sometimes larger, hard-to-miss butterflies are often found in this section. The varying bloom times of the perennial flowers that line the fence of the parking lot provide a nectar source throughout the growing season. The southern exposure and radiating heat from the blacktop parking lot ensures flight muscles are warm enough to flutter.

SECTIONS 4 and 5: Through Section 4 we make our way along the lawn on the east side of the parking lot and head onto the Boardwalk Trail, the start of Section 5, which takes us into the forest. While the shade of the forest is not typically the best place to find sun-loving butterflies, it is a good place to find caterpillars. The larval stage of hundreds of lepidoptera species, many of which will develop into moths, feed on the leaves of trees here.

The presence of appropriate host plants for caterpillars to feed on is critical to the habitat of moths and butterflies. Some species feed only on one type of plant during the caterpillar stage. The beautiful zebra swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus) depends on the leaves of the pawpaw tree (Asimina triloba) to feed its growing young. One caterpillar seen at Inniswood prefers to dine on something other than leaves. Harvester butterfly caterpillars (Feniseca tarquinius) are carnivorous. They eat the woolly aphids that feed on the many American Beech trees (Fagus grandifolia) that dot the forest at Inniswood. The harvester adults also depart from the typical butterfly diet, sipping aphid honeydew and tree sap instead of floral nectar.

SECTION 6: Out of the woods we make our way onto Frog Talk Walk then wind through the Prairie Garden. Native plants such as milkweed and Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium maculatum) grow here and provide food for butterflies in summer and fall. Spring brings muddy paths, which are helpful as well. Many butterflies can be found puddling on wet soils to take in needed water and minerals.

SECTION 7: From the Prairie Garden we head across the lawn to the Cutting Garden. As spring bulbs give way to summer annuals this becomes a guaranteed spot to find something aflutter. Flowers are planted here in groupings, which makes them more easily located by butterflies and other pollinators that depend on particular species of plant. Clumps of zinnias offer bright colors and wide landing pads, attracting many butterflies for our list most weeks through summer.

SECTION 8: We head into the Herb Garden and always look for black swallowtail caterpillars (Papilio polyxenes) which find the dill plants as tasty as we do as the season progresses.

SECTION 9: We make our way past field and forest edge and head onto the Spring Run Trail. The dappled sunlight and mixed vegetation give us the opportunity to search for butterflies such as the little wood satyr (Megisto cymela), a species we might not find elsewhere in the gardens.

SECTIONS 10-14: From Spring Run Trail we head over to the Sisters’ Garden and then up the Brookwood Trail, ending up back at Innis House. Along the way we pass a variety of native and cultivated plants that give rise and fall to butterfly hotspots throughout the monitoring season.

By the time the season ends in October the flowers have disappeared and so have the butterflies. Many of them find winter homes in leaf litter and on plant stems. Others fly off to warmer destinations.

The large stack of pages that detail our findings for the year is sent to be compiled with the state butterfly data. Copies are kept on file at Inniswood. They provide us with insight into how weather and changes in floral offerings impact butterflies, and fuel our anticipation for another year in search of butterflies.

— By Jen Snyder, Environmental Educator, Inniswood Metro Gardens

3 Ways to Save on Summertime Boating ‘Must-dos’

BoatUS membership offers ways to save

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) knows what recreational boaters will be doing this summer, and offers ways that membership ($24) with the national advocacy, services and safety group can save you money on three summertime ‘must-dos’:

Fill up the tank. The number of times boaters fill up their tank each boating season can be an indicator of how much fun they’re having. There’s more joy, however, when there’s a discount at the gas dock. More than 350 BoatUS Partner Network Marinas offer BoatUS members up to $.10 off per gallon of fuel.

Get a transient slip. Spending a night away from the home dock is a time-honored summer boating tradition. Over 600 BoatUS Partner Network marinas offer BoatUS members up to a 25% discount on transient slip fees – essentially four nights for the price of three.

Buy boat gear and supplies. Even the boater who has everything wants a new accessory for the boating season. Accessories, equipment and other gear for the boating life, from anchors to zincs, can be purchased at West Marine, where BoatUS members earn a $10 reward certificate for every $250 spent.

BoatUS has more ways to save, from fishing tackle and sail repairs to guide services and online boat classifieds with Vivaboats. To join for $24, go to BoatUS.com/membership.


Staff Reports