Ticks use static electricity to latch onto people and pets
By Maddie Burakoff, AP Science
Hungry ticks have some slick tricks. They can zoom through the air using static electricity to latch onto people, pets and other animals, new research shows.
Humans and animals naturally pick up static charges as they go about their days. And those charges are enough to give ticks a boost to their next blood meal, according to a study published Friday in the journal Current Biology.
While the distance is tiny, “it’s the equivalent of us jumping three or four flights of stairs in one go,” said study author Sam England, an ecologist now at Berlin’s Natural History Museum. READ MORE
You really are a tick magnet
by Darren Incorvaia, The New York Times
…The scientists demonstrate that the static electric fields naturally produced by animals (including humans) can physically yank the ungainly creatures onto their hosts. By electrically extending their reach, ticks may be able to grab hold of hosts more easily. While the finding may add to ticks’ terrifying attributes, this knowledge could also be used to improve anti-static tick defenses. READ MORE.
Thought ticks were terrifying? They just got worse. Turns out they can use static electricity ⚡️ to launch through the air onto hosts, including you! Here’s a thread about our new paper w/ @Katie__Lihou, Daniel Robert, out today in @CurrentBiology https://t.co/Z6Pz080YeD 🧵👇 pic.twitter.com/ur0D8PFAoq
— Sam England (@SamJakeEngland) June 30, 2023