Tick Testers: UNK researchers study tiny pest that can cause big problems


Erika Pritchard | UNK Communications

Under the microscope • University of Nebraska-Kearney biology professor Julie Shaffer, left, conducts tick research in her lab with undergraduate students Noah Shackelford and Avery Mitchell.

As the weather warms, more Nebraskans head outdoors to enjoy activities such as fishing, hiking and camping.

But they're not alone. There's another creature that's most active during spring and summer months.

Nebraska is home to a growing number of tick species. When these arachnids cross paths with humans, consequences can be dire.

"Tickborne disease is on the rise in the United States. We have more tick-borne vectored disease than mosquito-borne vectored disease. We tend to think about mosquitoes but ticks are actually the bigger problem," said Julie Shaffer, a biology professor and departme...

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