As warmer weather approaches the Boston and New England area, it also reinforces your need for pest control. In the Northeast in particular, ticks come out in abundance and, unfortunately, ticks can cause a host of health problems for your family and pets. Protect your yard from these pests by knowing how to detect, prevent and eliminate ticks.
What Are Ticks?
Ticks vary in color, ranging from gray to brown, black and even reddish in tone, depending on species. In terms of size, ticks are smaller than a sunflower seed, measuring about a quarter- inch in length when full grown. Ticks begin their lives with six legs in their larval state, but they develop eight legs as they transition into adulthood. Ticks need blood to survive and progress through their four stages of life. Without successfully finding a host, ticks die before completing their three-year life cycle.
What Risks Do Ticks Pose?
After a tick attaches to its host, it embeds itself for days at a time, feeding on the blood of its host until satiated. Once full, the tick detaches from its host, falling off and continuing on its way.
Ticks can become a serious problem for your family and pets’ health, since the transfer of disease happens through the tick’s feeding process. When a tick finds a feeding spot on its host, it cuts into the skin’s surface. Once the tick has attached and inserted its feeding tube into the skin of its host, it begins collecting blood. If the host animal has a blood-borne infection, the tick will ingest the pathogens from the host with its blood. The tick then carries the pathogens in its saliva. When the tick attaches to its next host, the pathogens in its saliva can infect the subsequent host. Through this contact, ticks transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and others from host to host.
How Can I Eliminate the Risk of Ticks?
Due to their size, ticks are not commonly seen until they attach themselves to your pet or family member. Therefore, it is best practice when outdoors to use tick repellent, such as insect and mosquito spray, wear long-sleeved clothing and frequently check for the presence of ticks on your skin and clothing. While inspecting yourself and others for ticks, keep in mind their identifiers, looking for a small eight-legged brown, grey or black bug. Be sure to remove ticks as soon as they are observed by following CDC guidelines.
To help prevent tick bites, keep your landscaping well-maintained by eliminating hiding spots. Eliminate tick hiding spots by keeping high grass to a minimum, mowing your lawn frequently and keeping your yard clean. Ticks love hiding in piles of leaves, sticks and any shady spots. Maintaining your yard with careful attention to shade-producing landscaping will help reduce tick activity.
The best way to rid your yard of these unwanted guests is to never attract them in the first place. Invest in a targeted tick management program, like that offered by Waltham. By involving a professional, you can keep your yard and family tick-free without cutting into your outdoor and family time.
Ticks are not only annoying, but dangerous. If not properly handled, they could put you and your family at risk. If you feel like your yard is being taken over, don’t hesitate to call the professionals at Waltham.