COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ticks are not just a summer bug, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Ticks don’t have a peak season, according to ODNR, and they generally stay active in Ohio until the first frost. Ticks can also be easy to miss, particularly on kids or animals. As people head out of the house to enjoy fall foliage, Ohio Division of Wildlife spokesperson Sarah Schott said they need to stay vigilant because ticks can harm people and their pets.

“As people start to get outside a little bit more to enjoy the last bits of summer and the last bits of the warm months, they might see a little bit more tick activity, just because we’ve been cooped up inside with the 90 degree heat,” Schott said.

The three most common ticks in Ohio include the black-legged or deer tick, the American dog tick, and the lone star tick. They feed on the blood of humans and animals, which can lead to diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever or Lyme disease.

“Because they are feeding on blood from different organisms, they can transmit diseases very quickly. A lot of times they will pick up those diseases from an animal, oftentimes it’s a white-footed mouse, and then transmit those to people,” Schott said.

To get a tick-borne disease, the bug has to be attached to your body for hours, or even days. She said people often run into ticks in high grass and thick brush, so if you are walking through that kind of environment, make sure you check yourself thoroughly.

“Being conscious when you come home, checking your clothes, especially checking your hair because a lot of times they’ll get in our hair and we won’t feel them crawling because we can’t feel up there as well, versus if we see them walking across our arm,” Schott said.

When getting home from enjoying nature, Schott recommends taking a shower immediately. The best tick deterrents are wearing long pants and sleeves and/or putting on bug or tick sprays.

“If you have a tick on you, remove that as soon as possible, and don’t just think if you throw it in the trash can, it’ll be fine. You want to either flush it down the toilet or wash it down the drain,” Schott said.

More information about ticks in Ohio is available here.