When it comes to preventing tick bites, you may think that officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could give you some tips, but the CDC cannot answer every general question people have about ticks? For example, some people want to know if ticks can survive a trip through the washer and dryer. Luckily, a researcher conducted a study in order to find the answer to this very question, and the researcher is only a sixteen year old high school student.
Jacqueline Flynn is an amateur scientist with a passion for bugs. Flynn had always wondered if ticks were able to survive a spin in the dryer, so she visited the CDC’s website looking for answers. However, Flynn quickly learned that the CDC has never scientifically determined if ticks could survive being spun in a hot dryer, so Flynn conducted her own study to get some answers.
The CDC website does have literature on ticks that recommend putting tick infested clothing into the dryer on high-heat for one hour. However, this is just the CDC’s best guess since they have never officially determined if this is true or not. After careful observation and analysis, Flynn has determined that five minutes at low-heat is sufficient to kill ticks.
According to Christina Nelson, an epidemiologist at the CDC’s office in Fort Collins, Colo., Flynn’s study could help to prevent tick borne-illnesses within the human population. Nelson was surprised by Flynn’s ambition as well as her findings.
In order to carry out her experiments, Flynn purchased fifty ticks from a lab in Oklahoma. Flynn then placed the ticks into mesh bags, and then she placed the tick-filled bags in the dryer. She was surprised by how quickly the ticks perished, even on low-heat. Flynn did not test ticks in a washing machine, but you can assume that ticks would survive a washing machine with no problem.
Have you ever found a tick, or ticks, stuck to your clothes after pulling them from the dryer?