Mobile app takes aim at the bane of Michigan summers — ticks and Lyme disease

Kaleb A. Brown
Detroit Free Press

A new smartphone app is taking on the small but mighty tick — the nemesis of Michigan summers and pleasant hikes in the woods.

In addition to providing information on ticks, the app asks users to share their own tick exposure experiences in order to help with research, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The Tick App was created by a team from Michigan State University, Columbia University and University of Wisconsin to help answer questions about ticks and help prevent the spread of diseases.

On the app's website, ticks are defined as blood-sucking, spider-like creatures that are common in grassy, wooded areas. Their size varies based on their age and type — they can be as small as pinpoints or as large as apple seeds. Their most concerning attribute is their ability to carry diseases.

The disease most associated with ticks is Lyme disease, a bacterial infection. Lyme disease is characterized by a "bull's-eye" rash as well as flu-like symptoms, according to the DNR. Without early treatment with antibiotics, it can lead to lifelong issues with joints, the heart and the nervous system. It is most commonly carried by the black-legged or deer tick and can infest humans and pets.

A DNR pamphlet on Lyme disease lists cases through most of the state, but says they are most common in the western Lower Peninsula and many counties in the Upper Peninsula.

The app can be downloaded from Google Play and the Apple App Store. The desktop version can be accessed from