The CDC may have ruined poppyseed muffins forever with gross tick photo

Be warned. This poppyseed muffin may come with some extra crunch.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted a gross photograph of the baked good covered in five ticks on Twitter last week:

“Can you spot all 5 ticks in this photo?” the caption asks.

The CDC linked to a page on its website explaining how people can protect themselves from being bitten by the small arachnids, which can carry Lyme disease among other illnesses.

But the CDC’s use of muffin poppyseeds to show the tiny size of the critters caused consternation online and sent the post viral:

The CDC remained unrepentant, however, and on Monday shared this lighthearted apology:

The CDC’s tweets were an imaginative way to bring attention to the serious issue of tick, flea and mosquito bites. Earlier this month, the agency revealed the number of Americans contracting diseases from bites had more than tripled from 27,388 cases in 2004 to 96,075 in 2016.

RELATED: How to avoid tick bites: 

How to avoid tick bites
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How to avoid tick bites

1. Stay in the middle of the path

When hiking, make sure to stay in the middle of the path. Weeds, grass and trees make it easier for ticks to crawl onto you. Don't venture out to the grass or bushes, where ticks are formidable to be hiding. 

2. Wear long pants and closed toed shoes

Protect your skin. Adding an extra layer makes it more difficult to latch on to you. It's smart to wear pants, long sleeves and hats, especially in the summer.

3. Invest in deer-resistant plants. 

Since ticks feed on and are transported by deer, try looking into deer-resistant plants. French marigolds, rosemary, mint and crape myrtle are just some of the greens deer tend to "overlook". 

See a complete list of the herbs and flowers here

4. Check your dog! 

Dogs can literally bring ticks right to your front door. Prevent ticks by keeping their coats short in the summer. Use your hands to check the fur, stopping if you feel a pea-sized bump. Favorite spots ticks like to hide include the ears, toes and under the tail. 

Dog ticks don't "harbor diseases that sicken people", but you should still be wary. 

5. Yes, repellant can help. 

According to TickenEncounter, spray with DEET does not provide "sufficient" protection. Get spray for your clothes like Permethrin, which instantly kills ticks. 

6. Dry your clothes 

The CDC recommends tumble drying clothes immediately for ten minutes after you've been outside. Ticks can easily "dry out" with high heat, but you should make sure the clothes are completely dry. 

Warning: Ticks can survive the wash. 

7. Tuck your pants into your socks.

This covers the small, easily accessible space in between your pants and ankles. Especially if you are sitting, it makes it easier for ticks to latch on. 

8. Stay in the sun.

Since ticks survive in shady, humid environments, researchers agree that staying in the sun lowers the risk for ticks. According to LiveScience, ticks "can't survive" in places with lower than 80% humidity. 

9. Invest in Permethrin socks

The chemical is successful in protecting against ticks, mosquitoes and other types of bites. estimates that permethrin-treated footwear offered 74 times the protection from bites.

10. Mow your lawn

Cut your grass, clean your yard, get rid of any extra firewood or wood chips. 


  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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