When you’re enjoying the Southeastern MA woods this summer or having a picnic at an unprotected park it is important to know how to protect yourself from hungry questing ticks. Questing is how ticks find their next meal. According to the University of Maine, some tick species can travel as far as several meters to locate a host. They then climb up to the very tips of shrubs, grass or underbrush. They hang on to the leaves or grass by their third and fourth pairs of legs while stretching out their first pair waiting to grab on to a host who walks by.
Where do ticks quest?
Ticks prefer moist or shady environments so that they don’t dry out. They use their senses to identify well-worn paths where potential hosts may visit. Attracted to humans’ and animals’ breath, body odors, body heat, moisture and vibrations, ticks will quest in places where its potential host has been and will be brushing by again. Along brushy hiking paths in the woods where humans, deer and rodents frequent are a perfect place for ticks to quest. They also love to hide along retaining walls, wood piles, bird feeders and near deer attracting plants waiting for an opportunity to grab ahold of the next host who comes along.
On what types of plants do ticks quest?
Ticks choose different hosts during different life stages. When they are larva they prefer small rodents and birds, when they are nymphs and adults they choose larger mammalian hosts such as humans and deer. When a tick is questing it chooses vegetation to perch on based on the host it is seeking out. Tick larvae stay very low to the ground questing on short under brush and small blades of grass so they can grab on to the white-footed mouse and other small rodents. While nymph and adult ticks choose larger vegetation climbing as high as waist height to wait for their human or deer to brush by.
How to avoid a questing tick
If you are out in the woods or in untreated areas you can protect yourself by wearing pants, socks and shoes that are light colored so you can see any ticks that grab a hold of your clothes and remove them before they get to your skin. You can also try to avoid going through thick underbrush by staying in the center of a well-worn path where you can’t brush up against any vegetation.
Having Mosquito Squad of Fall River and Mosquito Squad of South Shore eliminate 85-90% of ticks in your yard with our tick treatment is the best tick control method for your yard. To help us help you, we recommend you keep your yard as unattractive to questing ticks as possible by keeping your yard clear of tall grasses, weeds, underbrush and leaf piles. Check out the Boston Globe’s interactive info graphic full of tips for preventing ticks from seeking out their next meal in your yard.
Keep your family and pets safe from ticks in your own yard call Mosquito Squad of Fall River and the South Shore. With our traditional barrier spray eliminating ticks on contact combined with our tick tube treatment we can eliminate 85-90% of the ticks on your property. We are your trusted provider for protecting your yard from mosquitoes, ticks and tick-borne diseases. To sign up for event spray or season-long protection, give us a ring or visit our Mosquito Squad of the South Shore or Mosquito Squad of Fall River website.