STILLWATER, Okla. (KFOR) – An Oklahoma State University professor is working with researchers in southwest Africa with hopes of combatting one of Oklahoma’s most problematic bugs.

Associate professor, Bruce Noden said studying ticks requires studying where they love to live, and in Oklahoma that is the eastern red cedar.

“My main focus has been on ticks and mosquitoes. In recent years we’ve been looking at how eastern red cedar, this plant that you see all around here, is involved with the spread of ticks and mosquitoes,” said Noden.

Noden traveled to Namibia, Africa for six weeks, which shares Oklahoma’s issue with ticks, linked to invasive trees and bushes.

“They have there are thorn bushes like acacias, different types of thorn bushes that are taking over the pastures,” explained Noden.

Noden said a strategy to controlling tick populations here and in Africa, may require fighting back against the vegetation they prefer.

Until then, ticks are a health risk Oklahomans can’t afford to ignore.

“Just be tick aware. Ticks are no joke in Oklahoma. Yeah. Just please check yourselves. Check your kids, check your dogs,” stated Noden.