The National Capital Lyme Disease Association
The intention of this book is to educate young
people about the danger of ticks so that they
don’t get sick from the bite of a tick.
To learn more about Tick Busters visit www.tickbusters.org
Copyright 2021 National Capital Lyme Disease Association
For more information on Lyme and tick-borne diseases, visit
Dedicated to Joey DiLiello; a generous,
big-hearted son, brother, uncle and friend
who courageously battled Lyme disease.
This book would not have been possible
without the efforts of the following
individuals who are committed to
educating children about the dangers
of ticks and the diseases they carry.
NatCapLyme thanks Maureen, Aleah, and
Shawna Crystal, Cindy Eisenhart,
Veronica Hohenstein, Janis Ivicic,
Monte Skall, and Cody Smith.
Winter, spring, summer or fall,
In every season, ticks are on the crawl.
Joey and his friends are on the ball
Searching for Tickula, the scariest of all.
So, pay attention
Because this story is about prevention.
Join Joey and his pals as they mention
One wicked tick who deserves detention.
It was a lazy spring day at Walton
Elementary School in Pleasantville
USA. Joey and his pals were
leaving the cafeteria when they
noticed a poster by the door.
Joey said, “Look at that poster!
Tickula, Wanted Dead or Alive!
What’s the big deal about this
tick? We’ve got to find out.”
Sally said, “It says to call
Detective Dan rushed into the classroom after receiving a call
from the children. Joey asked, “What is Tickula? Why is it
wanted dead or alive?”
“Tickula is a nickname for a blacklegged tick, also called a deer
tick. We’ve been trying to capture this tick for days! We want
it dead or alive because it has become infected with a bad
bacteria that causes Lyme disease. If Tickula bites you, this
infection can make you and your pets very sick. While not all
ticks are infected, Tickula is and it’s on the run!”
Frightened, Sally asked, “What is a tick?”
“Ticks, members of the spider family, are small bloodsucking
parasites. They live on the bodies of people and animals and
use their blood as food. There are more than 800 kinds of ticks
on this planet, and Tickula is just one of them.”
“What happens when a tick bites you?” Carlos asked.
“A single bite from a tick can carry many infections that make
you sick in different ways. Tickula’s bite can make you very tired
and achy all over, like you have the flu. While some people get a
rash at the site of the tick bite, others don’t.”
“How does Tickula find you?” Ahmed wondered.
“Ticks find you by the smell of your breath or the warmth of your
body. A tick simply grabs onto your skin, your pet’s fur, or even
bird feathers to find a meal.”
Sally asked, “What do ticks eat?”
“All ticks, like Tickula, only eat one thing – BLOOD! Ticks suck
blood from mammals, birds, reptiles, and even people. Ticks
need blood like you need food to grow and stay alive.”
“Tickula needs just three meals of blood in its lifetime. The first
meal helps it change from the six-legged larva stage to the eight-
legged nymph stage. The second meal changes it from nymph to
adult. The third meal helps the adult tick to breed and lay eggs.
Ticks can even feed for several days and drink up to 500 times
their own body weight in blood.”
“What are we waiting for?” Joey shouted. “Let’s go out and catch
“Not so fast, Joey. While an attached tick sucks your blood, it
can pass on harmful diseases that can make you very sick. So
remember, you need to protect yourself when you go outdoors.
Tickula can find you before you find it.”
“How do we protect ourselves?” Sally
“Wear light-colored long sleeves and
pants. This will help you spot Tickula, or
any of the Blood Sucker Gang, crawling
on your clothes. It’s best to tuck your pant
legs into your socks so ticks have no place
“Another thing you can do is use bug repellant, which helps
keep bugs and ticks off of you. Always remember to ask for
help from a grown-up when applying repellant.”
Joey asked, “Where should we look for Tickula?”
“Ticks can live anywhere, especially in moist, warm, dark
places. They hide in your backyard, on baseball fields, in woods
and woodpiles, on tall grasses, under leaves, on bushes, and
even at the beach.
They travel by hitching a ride on animals such as mice, deer,
cats, dogs, people, as well as birds. Most of the time, they live
outside unless they come indoors on your pets or YOU.”
“Be very careful, kids, I was told that Tickula was last seen right
here on your school playground.”
Carlos shouted, “We were just out there!”
“That’s right! Tickula could be in this room and may even be on
one of you! So let’s do a TICK CHECK.”
“Tick check?” asked Joey.
“A tick check is when you look for ticks on your body. It’s hard
to feel a tick bite, so always check for ticks after spending time
outdoors. Check everywhere! Check behind your knees and
ears, under your arms, on your back, and belly, and in your hair.
When you take a bath or shower, feel for ticks all over. You can
also use a magnifying glass, mirror, or flashlight to look for very
tiny ticks called nymphs.”
Everyone started checking for ticks between their toes, the
backs of their knees, their legs and arms. After a few minutes,
Joey yelled out, “I see some-thing on the back of Sally’s leg. It
looks like a freckle, but could it be a tick?”
Detective Dan said, “Let’s take a closer look with my magnifying
“It’s Tickula – we’ve captured it alive!” exclaimed Detective Dan.
All the kids shouted, “GOTCHA! You’re busted, Tickula!”
“We’re lucky that Tickula wasn’t attached to Sally’s skin, so I’ll
use my tweezers to remove it. Kids, remember that if you find a
tick on you have an adult remove it.”
“Proper tick removal is important. Diseases from ticks,
like Tickula, can make people very sick. Anything you
can do to prevent a tick bite helps you stay safe and
Here are a few tips:
• Wear bug repellant
• Walk in the center of nature trails
• Play on short-cut grass
• Do daily tick checks
• Avoid areas where ticks are found, like leaf piles
and tall grasses
• Wear tick resistant clothing such as hats, light
colored clothes, long-sleeve shirts and long pants
tucked into socks
• Put your clothes in the dryer on high heat for 10
minutes to kill ticks when you come in from outside
• Jump in the shower and do a tick check
• Remember to check your pets too
“Joey, you and your friends have learned a lot about ticks today.
From this moment on, you’ll be known as The Tick Busters!
Your mission as a Tick Buster is to spread the word about
prevention. Tell everyone what you’ve learned about ticks, tick
checks, and how to stay safe.”
An important message from Detective Dan: “Always
remember that education is your best defense against ticks
You too can become a Tick Buster and do your part to help
shine a spotlight on ticks and the diseases that they carry.”
Interesting Tick Facts:
• After one blood meal, a tick
can grow anywhere from
10 to 25 times its original size.
Imagine growing into a
100-foot giant after
• Female ticks can lay
anywhere from 2,000 to
• Ticks are virtually blind and find their prey by sensing
body warmth or by smelling breath.
• A tick uses a numbing agent in its saliva
so that you don’t feel its bite.
• Opossums and timber
rattlesnakes can each
devour up to 5,000 ticks
• Ticks have been
the time of T-Rex.
If You Find A Tick Attached To You
• Remove it as soon as possible
• Ask an ADULT to use pointed
• Grab the tick as close to
the head as possible
• Gently pull straight up
until the tick lets go
• Do not twist, jerk, or
squeeze the tick’s body
• Do not use nail polish,
petroleum jelly, alcohol,
• Place the tick in a Ziploc bag
to have it identified and consider
saving it for future testing.
Call a doctor for more
Tickula is on the
the health and safety
of kids and their
Can Detective Dan,
Joey and his friends
stop Tickula in time?
Read inside to find
out, and join the
National Capital Lyme Disease Association
P.O. Box 8211, McLean, VA 22106-8211
703-821-8833 | [email protected] | www.natcaplyme.org