Lone Star Ticks are becoming more common on the High Plains. They look like other ticks, but females have a white spot on their back. On my return from hiking in western Kansas canyon breaks last weekend, I found one had hitched a ride home with me. I didn't think anything of it until I came across an article from the Wichita Eagle telling about an allergy to meat that can develop a few hours after being bitten by one of these little buggers. In the piece, allergist, Thomas Scott, says the allergy is not to the tick bite itself. The tick is just the vehicle. As with any allergy, some reactions are serious. The article can be found here. A little digging led me to another article by NPR last fall about the increased distribution of the tick, the causative agent of the allergy, and said there are no governmental warnings at this time. It also reminded me that an ounce of prevention, in the form of DEET, before I head out is worth avoiding the whole worry.
Photos and life cycle information about this little pest can be found at the Texas A&M Extension website.