While checking my news feed I saw post from a woman in Westminster reporting that she removed over 60 ticks in just 8 hours of working in her back yard today. I have also had similar conversations with people in Tewksbury and Wilmington. Ticks do not die in the winter. They become active at temperatures above 40 degrees. However, the only ticks actively seeking a blood meal are adult ticks scrambling for their final blood meal so they can lay their eggs then die. These ticks are especially aggressive in the spring because they did not get a blood meal in the fall and without a blood meal they will not be able to produce offspring. These adult deer ticks have a high probability of being infected Lyme disease.
With the warm weather we typically like to perform tick risky activities such as hiking or yard clean up. These type of activities are in areas the ticks will be waiting, in vegetative areas or in yard debris such as leafy material or brush. Ticks are opportunists and do not travel far for their blood meal. They typically will climb up to three feet and wait for a victim to pass by. Once a tick latches on it will climb up until it finds a warm place to latch onto such as the back of your knee, groin, armpit or head.
If you are going to spend time outdoors and perform tick risky activities you should take some precautions. Use DEET repellents, tuck your pants into your socks, walk in the center of the trail, and to do a thorough tick check when you get home or in from your back yard. In addition, check your pets and children daily as well. Studies show that Lyme disease will not be transmitted if the tick is removed within 24 hours.
For our customers in Central MA, Worcester county and Middlesex county you should not see high tick activity this time of the year on your property because with our regular MOSQUITO & TICK treatments the tick will not have the ability to re-establish. Even one treatment can wipe out the majority of ticks in your yard. This is because ticks only lay eggs in their second year during the spring. Once a yard is treated and the ticks are eliminated they cannot lay eggs again until the following spring. Remember ticks do not travel more than a couple of yards so the only way a tick can be brought in is if it hitches a ride on wild life such as a bird or deer. Chances are if this is the case these ticks will have had their final blood meal in the fall and will not need another. However, with Lyme disease near epidemic in levels Massachusetts you should never let your guard down and continue to take precautions especially when spending time outdoors in areas that have not been treated such as hiking trails or even going for a walk.
If you have never used a perimeter tick treatment on your property right now is the best time to consider a program for your yard. Mosquito Squad of Central MA has several Traditional or Organic Tick programs available to fit almost any budget.