Tick Check! The Tiny Bloodsuckers In Our Backyards : Short Wave Short Wave is going outside every Friday this summer! In this second episode of our series on the National Park system, we head to Big Thicket National Preserve in Texas. Among the trees and trails, researchers like Adela Oliva Chavez search for blacklegged ticks that could carry Lyme disease. She's looking for answers as to why tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease are spreading in some parts of the country and not others. Today: What Adela's research tells us about ticks and the diseases they carry, and why she's dedicated her career to understanding what makes these little critters... tick.

Tick Check! The Tiny Bloodsuckers In Our Backyards

Tick Check! The Tiny Bloodsuckers In Our Backyards

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This photo provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows a blacklegged tick, also known as a deer tick, a carrier of Lyme disease. James Gathany/AP hide caption

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James Gathany/AP

This photo provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows a blacklegged tick, also known as a deer tick, a carrier of Lyme disease.

James Gathany/AP

Short Wave is going outside every Friday this summer! In this second episode of our series on the National Park system, we head to Big Thicket National Preserve in Texas. Among the trees and trails, researchers like Adela Oliva Chavez search for blacklegged ticks that could carry Lyme disease. She's looking for answers as to why tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease are spreading in some parts of the country and not others. Today: What Adela's research tells us about ticks and the diseases they carry, and why she's dedicated her career to understanding what makes these little critters... tick.

As we road trip, we want to hear where in the world you are too — especially if you're at a national park! To be featured in an episode, send us a recording saying your name, location and "You're listening to Short Wave — from NPR." Our email is shortwave@npr.org.

This episode was produced and fact-checked by Rachel Carlson. It was edited by Rebecca Ramirez. The audio engineer was Andie Huether.