Preventing Ticks – Keep These Pests out of Your Yard
Whether you’re out in the early spring, enjoying the summer in your backyard, or planning one last camping trip for fall, you likely have one big concern – preventing ticks. Stepping out into your yard or on the trail means tick prevention has to take priority, and while there are a variety of things you can do to prevent an issue before it starts, one of the most important is simply understanding ticks themselves.
What They Are
Ticks are actually a type of arachnid, which puts them in the same category as spiders or scorpions. IN fact, they look a bit like a flat spider. They have four pairs of legs, and they live in deep vegetation so they can better jump to a host. Ticks can be active throughout the year, as if the ground temperature rises above 45 degrees Fahrenheit, they’re ready to feed once more. There are hundreds of species of ticks worldwide, but in Massachusetts, you’ll find just a few different varieties. That doesn’t mean, however, that you’re at less of a risk of tick bites here.
Why You Should Be Concerned
For ticks to survive, they have to find a host. In some cases, that’s you. Some ticks are pretty tiny, so you may not notice that initial contact. They puncture the skin initially with a sharp part of their mouths, then bury part of their head into your skin and begin the feeding process. Often they can stay attached for two or three days to finish their meal. The problem with ticks, though, is that they can transmit diseases they’ve picked up elsewhere into your body. There are a variety of different diseases they can transmit, and the health consequences range from a simple fever to more serious neurological problems. In fact, you can even die from some of the more serious health conditions.
Ticks don’t begin transmitting diseases with that first bite, though. Most experts suggest the process begins about eight hours after the bite, and sometimes it can take even longer than that.
How to Get Rid of Ticks On Your Clothes or Body
If you find a tick on you, you want to remove it with tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to its head as possible because the mouth is buried deep inside your skin, and you want to do what you can to keep that intact. Pull upward carefully and steadily to get it out. If you’re concerned, bag it for a doctor to see. If you’re not worried, flush it. After it’s out, wash your skin with soap and water.
If you’re concerned about ticks on your clothes after you’ve been out, wash them, but be sure to tumble dry them for at least ten minutes, as it will kill any ticks you didn’t find.
Tick Control in Your Yard
Preventing ticks requires a two-fold approach. It first requires that you pay attention to your own yard. The best way to do that is with a bit of landscaping. You’ll want to mow your lawn on a regular basis. Be sure that you remove any leaf litter build-up, and if you have tall grasses or brushy areas of your lawn, keep them trimmed. Your play equipment, as well as your deck and patio, should be well away from any trees or the edge of your yard. Finally, try to create a three-foot barrier of wood chips or gravel between your lawn and any wooded areas, as that will keep ticks from migrating onto your property.
Beyond understanding how to control ticks in your yard, you also need to know how to keep them at bay when you’re out and about. Understand that any time you’re going to be in a grassy or brushy area, you may encounter ticks. You can treat your clothes with permethrin. You can also use a DEET based repellent on your clothes and body. Check your gear, your body, and your pets as soon as you get inside, and shower within two hours of coming inside, doing a full body check to ensure you don’t have any ticks hiding out on your body.
If you’re worried about ticks this year, we can help you keep them out of your yard and off of you. To learn more about tick prevention with Ransford, contact us today.