The One Thing I Hate About Living Here. You Probably Hate It, Too

Though I frequently sing the praises of the Upper Midwest, particularily its many rural areas, there’s one thing about it I absolutely detest.

It’s not drought. Oh, I’ve lived through them and know, both personally and professionally, how devastating they are. Nor is it blizzards, another persistent enemy of Upper Midwest residents. Drought and blizzards,or so it seems to me, are the price we pay for living in an otherwise terrific place.

No, what I absoutely flat-out hate are the accursed ticks. I’ve hated them since I was a farm kid and dealt with them after fencing or moving cattle. And because I’ve spent quite a bit of time in tall grass and brush again this summer, I’m very weary of pulling them off my skin and out of my clothes. If you or family members spend much time in areas where ticks are common, you know the feeling, too. And given ticks’ ability to transmit disease, that’s a little frightening.

Experts claim that ticks are an essential food source for some creatures, including birds and reptiles, and so have a vital role in the ecosystem.

Maybe. But I’d like to give a tick-free world a long trial run. I think it’s safe to say you would, too.

But that’s not going to happen. So, I’ll ask you this: What’s your best advice — other than never going outside — for dealing with ticks?