Protecting Families and Pets from Tick Bites This Fall
In the spring, we talked about how tick activity in D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia was about to increase and posed the question, "Are you prepared for tick season?" Now, as we enter fall, we have a new question for you. "Do you know how to protect yourself, your pets, and your family from tick bites?" If not, we have some good news for you. We've compiled some of our best tick-prevention tips into one article. Here's what you need to know.
The frontline defense for ticks begins with your pets, if you have them. Not only can pets bring ticks into your home and expose you to the human pathogens they can carry, ticks can also make your pets sick. Those are two important reasons to do the following:
- Make sure your pets have effective, veterinarian-prescribed tick products.
- Check your pets routinely for ticks. Look closely in the ears and between the toes.
- If you have a dog that goes out into the yard, consider creating a fenced-in play area. This will lower the chances of wildlife bringing ticks into your dog's outdoor areas and keeps your dog from exploring the landscaping around your home, where ticks are known to hide.
Every time you, your kids, your pets, and guests that come to your home, walk around in your yard, they have the chance of bringing a tick into your home. These tips should help to reduce ticks in your yard and reduce this risk:
- Ticks are moisture pests. If you have a dry foundation perimeter, you can reduce the chance of questing ticks waiting in your landscaping for a host to walk past.
- Ticks have sensitive feet. If you put a barrier around your yard of gravel or wood chips, you can prevent ticks from crawling in. This is especially helpful around playground equipment and areas of your yard where you spend a lot of time.
- Everything you do to prevent wildlife will help to prevent growing tick populations. Wild animals bring ticks into your yard. Consider putting fencing up to keep them out. Keep exterior trash in sealed containers that cannot be knocked over. Protect any food source in your yards, such as berry bushes, fruit trees, and gardens.
- Ticks can choose birds as hosts. For this reason, it is a good idea to keep bird feeders away from your home.
There are many ways to personally avoid tick bites when you go out into your yard or anywhere in nature.
- Avoid tall grass and hanging vegetation. This is a prime location for questing ticks to cling to you.
- Ticks climb up. They don't drop from trees or jump onto you from a bush. They wait, with front appendages outstretched. When you go by, they cling to you and climb up. If you wear light-colored clothing, it is easier to see ticks that are scaling your body.
- When questing ticks attach to you, you can make them detach by wearing mosquito or tick repellent on your legs and feet.
- Sometimes ticks get under pant legs in their search for skin to attach to. It may look silly, but tucking your pants into your socks or wearing elastic bands on the bottoms of your pant legs can keep those ticks out. It is also a good practice to tuck your shirt in if you'll be in an area where ticks are known to be.
Best Practices For Ticks
- Do a tick check when you come back in from the outside. Catching ticks early can prevent tick-borne diseases from transferring to you or someone you love.
- Learn how to properly remove a tick.
- Invest in tick control for your property.
At American Pest, we offer a seasonal mosquito & tick control program that addresses both of these dangerous pests. With this program, you get routine visits from a licensed pest-control technician, a detailed inspection of your property, a mist applied to mosquito and tick hiding places, and targeted treatment of breeding sites. This service typically runs from March to October and is usually once a month, depending on mosquito and tick pressures.
Ticks are harmful bugs that can spread Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, tularemia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), anaplasmosis, Powassan encephalitis, Colorado tick fever, Southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI), alpha-gal allergy, and other human pathogens. They can also make pets sick with Lyme, RMSF, tick paralysis, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, cytauxzoonosis, hepatozoonosis and more.
It isn't too late to invest in tick control. Ticks are still active in the fall. Get protected and stay protected. Life has enough challenges without adding tick-related illness into the mix.
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