Even the word “tick” is icky. It conjures up disgusting leggy creatures, fat with blood hanging on your dog’s ear or tiny, itchy and in intimate areas of your own body.
But what is really icky about ticks are the illnesses they can cause, and if you live in Arkansas, congratulations: There are more tick-borne illnesses here than almost anywhere.
Which is why the University of Arkansas began the Arkansas Tickborne Disease Project, research not confined to ivory towers but reaching out to citizen scientists. The university wants your ticks, and within a couple of weeks you, too, can help its researchers learn more about ticks and the pathogens they carry by going to your local Extension Service office and getting a tick kit. Researchers in the Dowling Lab — named for the UA’s Dr. Ashley P.G. Dowling — will take the ticks you turn in, chop them up, and study their DNA.
Krista Garner, who is getting her doctoral degree in what is called medical and veterinary entomology, the study of insects that cause diseases in people and animals, said the project’s goals are to collect insects from all over…
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