With the heat and humidity of summer behind us, you may think that the threat of blood-sucking ticks and the diseases they spread may be over.
But hold on.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Health, another peak tick season is here – in October and November.
WHY ALL THE FUSS ABOUT TICKS?
Ticks are bugs that feed on the blood of mammals, birds, or reptiles. Black-legged deer ticks and dog ticks are found throughout Massachusetts and may spread different disease-causing germs when they bite you.
The most common tick-borne diseases in Massachusetts are Lyme Disease, Babesiosis, and Anaplasmosis. Other diseases that are rarer, but still occur, are Tularemia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Borrelia miyamotoi, and Powassan virus.
Tick-borne illnesses can be very severe and taking steps to avoid tick bites is important.
HOW CAN I AVOID TICKS AND PREVENT THEM FROM BITING ME AND MY FAMILY?
To make this critical information easy to remember, we have created “The 6 C’s of Tick Control:
Clear Out: Reduce your tick exposure by clearing out areas where lawn and tree debris gathers. This is extremely important during autumn when leaf foliage continually falls to the ground and gathers in your backyard and around your home’s exterior. Ticks thrive in moist, shady areas and tend to die in sunny, dry areas. And even though the weather is cooler than in summer, don’t forget to trim grassy areas, especially in your backyard, where your pets and children may wander to enjoy the fresh autumn air.
Clean: Eliminate leaf litter by cleaning it from around the house and lawn edges and dispose of it properly. We also recommend mowing tall grass to keep your lawn short. The University of Massachusetts Amherst Center for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment has tips on how to handle yard waste with environmental consciousness.
Choose Plants: Since deer can bring ticks to your yard, select plants and shrubs that don’t attract deer. Remember, deer are frequent carriers of Lyme Disease, so you want to avoid attracting them to your property. You can also install physical barriers to keep deer out of your yard. Check with your local nursery to determine the best choices for your area. Learn which plants deter deer from HGTV.
Check Hiding Places: Know tick hiding places and check them frequently. Fences, brick walls, and patio retaining walls are popular places where ticks live. They usually thrive in areas where you would not necessarily expect them.
Care for Family Pets: Family pets can suffer from tick-borne disease and can also carry infected ticks into your home. Talk to your veterinarian about using tick collars and sprays. Preventing ticks on your pets is paramount this time of year.
Call the Pros: Professional tick control can offer two levels of service to eliminate ticks before they get to you. Our traditional mosquito control spray kills adult ticks on contact, while tick tubes are placed strategically around your property to entice mice. Mice collect the cotton in the tick tubes for bedding, and since most ticks get their first blood meals from mice, they are exposed to the treated cotton that effectively eliminates them and hundreds of tick nymphs found in each mouse nest.
AT-HOME TICK CONTROL NEEDS TO BE A CONTINUAL EFFORT
We encourage you to carefully heed our advice and contact us at Mosquito Squad of Franklin & Framingham to discuss getting your autumn tick control regimen underway.