For Minnesota May is prime tick season, even though we have had a rather cold spring, don't be fooled for they are out there. According to the Minnesota Department of Health: "In Minnesota, there are about a dozen different types of ticks. Not all of them spread disease. Three types that people may come across in Minnesota are the black-legged tick (aka deer tick), the American dog tick (aka wood tick), and the lone star tick. "

One type of tick that is drawing a lot of attention since it is starting to be found in Minnesota is the Lone Star Tick. This particular tick can trigger a meat allergy in some people who happen to be bit by one of them causing what is called Alpha-gal syndrome.

According to Mayo Clinic: 

Alpha-gal syndrome is a recently identified type of food allergy to red meat and other products made from mammals. In the United States, the condition is most often caused by a Lone Star tick bite. The bite transmits a sugar molecule called alpha-gal into the person's body. In some people, this triggers an immune system reaction that later produces mild to severe allergic reactions to red meat, such as beef, pork or lamb, or other mammal products.

The Lone Star Tick has generally been found primarily in the southern part of the United States but due to global warming, the tick has now been spotted in the Northeast and Midwest. This particular tick thrives in hot humid weather.  Michael Raupp, a professor emeritus in entomology at the University of Maryland said to The New York Times: (Paywall) "What we’re now seeing is a wide-open door for ticks to continue expanding their range further northward; bringing more people into the fold of the arthropod-borne diseases."

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Minnesota Department of health
Minnesota Department of health

So what do these ticks look like? According to The University of Rhode Island females have a distinct white spot in the center of their brown body, while males have white spots or streaks around the outer edge of their body.

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