Like mosquitoes, ticks are vectors, or transmitters, of disease. Though extremely serious, mosquito-borne disease affects only a few thousand individuals in the US each year, while tick-borne disease afflicts tens of thousands.
Unlike mosquitoes, ticks do not grab a blood meal and go on their way. Ticks have beak-like projections that plunge into the skin of their host. Depending on its type, a tick may feed on the host’s blood for hours, days or even weeks. If you find a tick on you, please follow this guide from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and remove it promptly. To reduce the risk of getting a tick on your property, you can utilize professional tick control services.
Tick Protection for Your Home and Family
Ticks are both dangerous and annoying. To cut down on the ticks on your property, Jason Cameron, TV host and licensed contractor, recommends the 6Cs of tick control:
Reduce your tick exposure by clearing out areas where lawn and tree debris gathers. Ticks thrive in moist, shady areas and tend to die in sunny, dry areas. Locate compost piles away from play areas or high traffic. Separate them with wood chips or gravel. Don't position playground equipment, decks and patios near treed areas.
Eliminate leaf litter and brush by cleaning it up around the house and lawn edges, mow tall grasses and keep your lawn short.
Select plants and shrubs that are not attractive to deer and/or install physical barriers to keep deer out of your yard. Learn which plants deter deer from HGTV. Check with your local nursery to determine the best choices for your area.
Know tick hiding places and check them frequently. Fences, brick walls and patio retaining walls are popular hiding places.
Family pets can suffer from tick-borne disease and also carry infected ticks into the home. Talk to your veterinarian about using tick collars and sprays. As with all pest control products, be sure to follow directions carefully.
Professional tick control utilizes both barrier sprays that will eliminate adult ticks on contact as well as tick tubes. Strategically placed, tick tubes prompt field mice to incorporate tick-killing material in their bedding, effectively eliminating hundreds of tick nymphs found in each mouse nest.
A Hidden Danger
Named after the town in Connecticut in which it was first found, Lyme disease is the most prevalent tick-borne disease in the United States, being diagnosed in all states except Hawaii. There are nearly 30,000 cases reported by the Centers for Disease Control each year. If caught early, Lyme disease responds well to a variety of antibiotics. Unfortunately, Lyme is not the easiest disease to diagnose. The telltale bull’s eye rash is only one of the many symptoms of Lyme, which also includes fever, fatigue and joint pain.
Although it does affect humans, ehrlichiosis is most commonly found in deer and dogs. The bacteria kills white blood cells causing headaches, fatigue and aches. Luckily, ehrlichiosis is treated with a series of antibiotics.