The Tick Rap II [lyrics and audio]

I wrote the original version (5 verses then) in 2002, after hearing a friend perform a rap about a bodhran player. In 2008 I added three more verses. In case you haven’t heard us perform it live (or haven’t listened to the recording) it has 4 beats per line; 8 beats last line in each set. I tend to do it at a relatively slow pace because that makes it easier to understand the words. In the earlier version I used the word Permethrin in the last verse instead of Picaridin. Sometimes I revert to that. One is an acaricide, while the other is a repellant. Several years after I wrote this, NH had its first case of Powassan disease, and by then it was sometimes referred to as Powassan encephalitis. That made one person suggest that I ought to change the 5th verse. I decided to leave it as it is. I wrote that verse in reference to mosquito-vectored diseases, like Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Enjoy!

- Alan Eaton, UNH Cooperative Extension

Download the Audio File

The Tick Rap II

We’re tiny flat critters, not picky ‘bout our food

We don’t need candlelight to set the mood

We like tall grass and shrubs near the ground

Most of our time we just hang around

We’re the Ticks, yeah. WE’RE THE TICKS

We’re the Ticks, yeah. WE’RE THE TICKS

Some of us like the Spring, some like the fall

Some even like winter most of all We sit on the plants, wait for luck

If you’ve got blood, we’ll attach and suck

We’re the Ticks. Yeah. WE’RE THE TICKS [repeat]

Dermacentor, Amblyomma, Ixodes. Our scientific names sound like these The females lay big groups of eggs Despite the spurs on their legs

We’re the Ticks. Yeah. WE’RE THE TICKS [repeat]

Haemaphysalis are getting rare But nobody here really cares

We’ve got six legs when first we hatch. Later we get two more that match We’re the Ticks. Yeah. WE’RE THE TICKS [repeat]

When lunchtime comes we eat for days Don’t dis us for our crazy ways We don’t spread West Nile * virus Don’t blame us for Encephalitis We’re the Ticks. Yeah. WE’RE THE TICKS. [repeat]

Spirochetes, viruses, rickettsia. Sometimes we’ve got them in our gut. Doxicycline if you’re bitten. Makes the spirochete be smitten

We’re the Ticks. Yeah. WE’RE THE TICKS [repeat]

Most of the time we just hang around. Gets too dry, we burrow in the ground Rky Mtn Spotted Fever, Lyme Disease We also inject antibodies

We’re the Ticks. Yeah. WE’RE THE TICKS. [repeat]

Short mouthparts have the young ones all So they like birds and mammals small

We don’t like DEET or Picaradin. Be sure to tuck your pantlegs in.

We’re the ticks. Yeah. WE’RE THE TICKS [repeat]


Alan Eaton
Retired Entomology & IPM State Specialist, Emeritus
Phone: 603-862-1734
Office: Cooperative Extension, Spaulding Rm 252, Durham, NH 03824