Ticks don’t jump. They don’t swim. And, they don’t all die over the winter. They have an ingenious way of over-wintering – they leave it to their young. Toward the end of summer and in early fall, adults ticks take their last blood meal. They then fall off, lay their eggs and die. When tick larva survive the winter, they hatch in early spring as nymph ticks.
While many suspected that our cold winter would have killed off all the ticks, that is not the truth. In fact, nymph ticks can survive the winter in mice dens feeding on the blood of mice. They can also survive in other warm moist places they may find including areas like crawl spaces. Over the past two months, our customers have been confirming that indeed this season looks like it’s going to be a doozy. After only an hour in their yards, many are pulling ticks off themselves and their pets.
Mosquito Squad of the North Shore provides a very effective barrier spray against ticks in your yard. We also have a tick-intensive program with our tick tubes. The tick tubes are designed to work on ticks that are hanging out with nesting rodents. The biodegradable tubes include treated cotton that mice will take to their nests. The treatment chemical is strong enough to take out the ticks but not strong enough to affect the mice. We recommend seasonal tick control service as well as the tick-intensive addition of tick tubes to protect your North Shore yard this season. For the greatest protection, you will want to start your barrier sprays and tick tubes as early as possible and continue throughout the season and into early fall when adult ticks are laying their nests of eggs. Tick tubes provide a treatment that goes head to head with tick larva and nymphs.
We also know most of us will enjoy the summer in areas other than our back yard. We wanted to give you some tips on protecting yourself as you enjoy the outdoors at friend’s homes, parks and recreational areas.
Tips To Protect Yourself Against Ticks on the North Shore
- Don’t brush up against bushes and plants.
Ticks do what scientists call ‘questing’. It means they attach to the outside of the stalks of a bush and extend their two front legs out hoping to make contact with a host for their next blood meal. Of course being outdoors means you will encounter brush; but try to avoid brushy areas as much as possible. If you do enter these areas, the following tips will help keep you safe.
- Don’t wear loose clothing.
Scientists regularly count the number of ticks in an area by dragging a loose cloth along the ground over fallen logs, grasses, etc. in order to pick up ticks. Don’t let your loose clothes serve the same purpose.
- Tuck your pants into your socks.
No, computer nerds didn’t invent this tip. Shorts may be cooler in summer. However, in brushy areas you want to prevent ticks from crawling unseen under clothing where they often attach to skin for their next meal.
- Wear light-colored clothing.
Ticks on the North Shore are dark, so they are easily seen on light-colored clothing. It often takes ticks several hours to attach firmly to our skin. Research indicates it takes 24 hours before an attached tick will begin infecting us with the Lyme Disease bacteria. Finding and removing them early is very important.
- Bag it!
If you find a tick on your skin, remove it promptly and put it in a sealed plastic bag. If you see a bite on your skin, or begin experiencing any symptoms or signs of a tick-borne illness, having the tick will confirm if it was infectious. Physicians who cannot see a bite on the skin and where the blood test for Lyme Disease is negative will not always diagnose Lyme Disease exposure and treat for it.
- Check and Check Again.
When outside, it’s a good idea to check yourself and others for ticks every 4 or 5 hours. It only takes a few minutes and can save hours of medical visits and time spent in treatment. If found, make sure you know how to safely remove a tick with tweezers.
Being in the outdoors is fun, especially after a long winter like the one we had this year. Make sure you and your family are safe.
To learn more about our highly effective tick tube program and barrier sprays, contact Mosquito Squad of the North Shore.