SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Missouri conservation officials are asking people to save the ticks they come across while tromping through the woods and mail the pests to researchers.
The Missouri Department of Conservation and A.T. Still University in Kirksville have partnered in a two-year research study. It begins this month and will conclude in September 2022.
Ticks are large mites that drink the blood of humans and other mammals and can carry and spread pathogens that cause illnesses. The goal of the study is to better understand statewide distribution of tick species and the pathogens they carry.
“We need the help of many Missourians around the state,” Matt Combes, MDC Ecological Health Unit Science Supervisor, said in a news release. “Participation by many ‘citizen scientists’ is vital in helping us collect enough data at a scale unattainable by MDC and University scientists alone.”
The conservation department has an online field guide with more information about ticks.
To help with the research efforts, people are asked to place each live tick in a plastic zip-top bag with a piece of damp paper towel or moist cotton ball, then fold the bag and place it inside another plastic zip-top bag with a completed sample-submission form. The sample-submission form is available for printing from the University website.
Then, put the bag and completed sample-submission form in an envelope and mail it to: A.T. Still University, ATTENTION: Deb Hudman – Dept. of Microbiology & Immunology, 800 W. Jefferson St., Kirksville MO 63501.
The Missouri Department of Conservation contributed to this report.