Protect Yourself From Ticks - It's Lyme Disease Awareness Month!

05/10/2010


Ticks    Tips/Solutions   
There are over 800 species of ticks worldwide and several can be found right here in our own backyards.  Learn how to protect yourself from these disease-transmitting insects.

Some Basic Facts About Ticks

  • Ticks must feed on the blood of an animal (the host) in order to grow (molt to different stages) and reproduce.
  • Most ticks begin their lives in an inactive stage (egg), then progress to three active stages (larva, then nymph, and finally adult).  The whole cycle takes about 1-2  years to complete and the tick must take a blood meal once at each active state of development.
  • Ticks do not fly and they cannot jump.  They climb to the ends of grass and weeds to wait for a passing host.
  • Ticks can spread disease to humans, pets, and other wildlife.  Germs that may be present in their saliva are transmitted as they feed on a person or animal.
  • Ticks are most common in wooded and overgrown areas where the ground is covered with leaf litter, thick weeds or high grass.  Also found in these areas are their animal hosts such as mice and deer.
  • Ticks may also be found on well-maintained lawns, or even inside your home.  This is because they drop off pets and non-domestic wildlife that cross over or through these areas.

Homeowner Tips to Prevent Ticks

  • Create “tick-free” zones around your home by cutting back wooded areas.
  • Keep your lawn well-maintained to a height of 3 inches or less, thus reducing humidity at ground level.
  • Remove brush, weeds, leaf litter and other yard debris that attracts ticks and their hosts.
  • Rake back leaf litter and cut away undergrowth several feet into the edge of any wooded area lining your yard.
  • Eliminate dense perennial plant beds close to your house, such as ivy and pachysandra (also good prevention for several ant species).
  • Consider fencing to keep out larger wildlife as well as neighborhood pets.
  • Don’t purposefully attract and feed wild animals.
  • Reduce the plants in your yard that deer love to eat (azaleas, rhododendrons, arborvitae and crabapple) and increase plants that they don’t like (such as spruce, pines, boxwood, daffodils and marigolds).
  • Create vegetable and flower gardens in the middle of large areas of open lawn.

Chemical Control Options for Ticks

The application of pesticides for tick mitigation should be considered a last resort, but is effective at controlling areas prone to contain large numbers.  When tick numbers are high, pesticide treatments are justified.
Treatment for ticks in the Mid-Atlantic region is rendered most effective when maintained throughout the season.
Treatment of lawns is of little benefit without treatment where potential hosts are likely to frequent, such as margins between wooded or brushy areas, fence lines, and around doghouses.
Some of the safest treatments for ticks are comprised of a class of pesticides called Pyrethrums, which are plant extracts called pyrethrins.  They are primarily used in and around the home because they break down so quickly.  Thus, the need to repeat treatments is often necessary to provide thorough prevention throughout the year. 

Learn more about how American Pest will get rid of ticks around your home.






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