Fry and Die

A study in the journal Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, says just six minutes spinning dry clothes in a hot dryer should kill all ticks and reduce the risk of tick-related illnesses.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends washing tick-infested clothes and then drying them for one hour.

The recent research found that drying time can be significantly reduced if clothes aren’t washed first, as ticks are extremely sensitive to dryness.

“The researchers washed and dried hundreds of lab-raised blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) and immature nymphs, five at a time, in cloth bags in residential washers and dryers in Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts. Ticks and nymphs that survived washing were dried with wet towels at low and high heat. Control ticks were placed in containers at room temperature. In separate experiments, bugs were dried—without pre-washing—with dry towels at various temperatures.

The bugs survived cold-water washes, 94% survived warm-water washes, and 50% survived hot-water washes. Ticks that survived washing took 70 minutes to kill in dryers on low heat and 50 minutes at high heat. All control ticks survived for 24 hours.

By comparison, all ticks and nymphs dried with dry towels were killed in four to 11 minutes, depending on the temperature.

The researchers did include a caveat. The cloth bags that the ticks were washed and dried in may have protected the ticks from heat and dryness.”

While it might give all of us maniacal pleasure to “Fry and Dry” ticks, how about we collect them for researchers?  You can send them to Arizona or to Coppe Lab in Wisconsin:

Coppe Laboratories
W229 N1870 Westwood Dr.
Waukesha, WI 53186

(262) 574-0701
(262) 574-0703

If you want to send them to Coppe, put the tick in a zip lock baggie and stick in your freezer.  Contact the lab and they will send you what you need to get them to the lab alive.

While this may not seem as fun you can relish the fact the researchers have to squish all the stomach contents out and spin them in a centrifuge or something – so they will still suffer.

For more info about how ticks survive extreme cold, see:

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