Tick Safety

A cropped image of a hiker in green shorts stepping on and over tree roots and leaves.
Do a thorough body check on yourself and children after being outdoors.

NPS / Gin Majka

Ticks are small — so small, in fact, that they can be very difficult to see with the naked eye. 14 different species of ticks can be found in the state of Maine. The two most common are the deer tick and the American dog tick. Ticks can transmit diseases to humans through a bite. It is important to take precautions whenever you are out exploring the monument, even if you're just taking a short stroll through nature.


Tick Transmission

Ticks are often found in wooded areas with leaf litter, as well as tall grass and shrubby undergrowth area where they wait on the tips of leaves to attach to a passing host. Physical contact is the only method of transportation; they do not jump or fly. Hosts who pass through vegetation with ticks may find one or many ticks crawling on them. On people, ticks usually attach to the skin at tight places such as sock and undergarment lines.

Risk of Disease

Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever are among the serious illnesses that can be transmitted by tick bites. These diseases can go undiagnosed if the affected person is not alert to these diseases' symptoms, particularly if the patient's physician is in a region not usually affected by tick-borne illnesses.

Signs and Symptoms to Look For

Human symptoms of tick-borne illness usually appear 1 to 2 weeks after the tick bite and include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Headache and muscle aches
  • Rash

Preventing Tick Bites

  • Wear light-colored clothing, long sleeves, and long pants, with pant legs tucked into socks and shirts tucked into pants. Consider wearing gaiters or compression clothing, as well, in order to minimize the risk that they may attach to areas where they can be harder to detect.
  • Do frequent tick checks of yourself and any children or pets with you. Always check for ticks after any outdoor activity, both at the end of the day and the next morning.
  • Consider using chemical applications. 0.5% Permetherin insecticide applied to clothing is effective in reducing tick bites; however, when used improperly it can create negative health effects. DEET repellent has only limited effectiveness against ticks (less than a couple of hours). Picaridin is another repellent option that will not ruin synthetic fabrics or their water-repellent finishes. Always use and store chemicals according to the manufacturers' instructions.

What If I Find an Attached Tick

Timely and proper removal of ticks greatly decreases the chance of diseases being transmitted. If you find a tick attached to you, remove the tick and clean the bite site. If you become ill after a tick bite, even weeks later, see a health care provider. Some species of ticks are so small that you may never see them, so if you become ill after visiting an area where ticks are common, you should inform your health care provider of the possibility of a tick-borne disease.

Tips on how to Remove a Tick:

  1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as you can.
  2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick.
  3. After removing the tick, clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
  4. Dispose of the tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.
An illustrated graphic chart that shows different species of ticks. The Blacklegged tick, Lone Start Tick, and American Dog Tick are illustrated with their relative sizes at different life stages.
Example of tick species and their sizes according to their life stages.

Source: CDC

Last updated: November 22, 2023

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