Learning how to get rid of ticks is not as difficult as you might think. Ticks are in the family of arachnids and are insects that show no discrimination when it comes to finding a host for their voracious appetite.
They will attach to human or animal alike. They can attach to any part of the body but are mainly found in hard to see areas such as armpits, scalp, and the groin. The tick will burrow its’ head into the skin and will gorge itself with the blood of the host until it is so full it will fall off.
A tick can cause skin irritations, especially if the host is already sensitive to other things. The bite from an infected tick can spread Lyme disease to humans which can be devastating to your health if there are other underlying health issues. Symptoms of Lyme disease can include fatigue, headache, fever, and a skin rash. If a tick is removed within 24 hours of attaching itself to a person, the chances of being infected drop tremendously. The disease is treatable if infected, but if left untreated it will progress to more serious health issues. In animals, the disease can cause arthritis and swelling in the joints and be very painful for them to walk.
Ticks are usually found in wooded and grassy areas so check your pets and yourself after being in an area like that. If you should get a tick on you, use fine-tipped tweezers to remove it gently and try to keep the head and body intact. Grasp the tick as close to the surface of the skin as possible and pull upward with steady and even pressure. After you get the tick out be sure to clean the area with alcohol and wash your hands thoroughly.
Now that you know what they are and what they can do it’s important to keep them away from your loved ones and your pets. Numerous things can be done around your property to prevent an infestation of these insects. Before using any product, educate yourself to understand what products you will be using and how they will affect you, your pets, and the environment.
The first line of defense is to treat the perimeter of your home with some type of treatment. This will create a barrier that will aid in keeping the insects from invading your home. Many products on the market are natural, and there are also many that have chemicals in them. Which one you decide to use depends on a few factors. If you have small children and/or pets, a natural treatment would be safer to use. There are many natural treatments such as Diatomaceous Earth, Wonderside, Pet Naturals of Vermont, Pets Head to Tail, and Eco-Smart, to name a few. You have many options to choose from if you prefer to use pet-friendly treatments.
Another option are products with chemicals in them that are readily available for you to purchase. Be aware that products with propoxur, tetrachlorvinphos, or amitraz as an ingredient are probable/possible carcinogens and these chemicals can also impact the nervous system. Acaricide is used specifically for ticks to rid your yard of the pesky insects. Ortho also has a line of products that will eradicate ticks and keep them from coming back.
It is very important to protect and prepare yourself before using any product to rid your yard of ticks. Wearing gloves, safety glasses, and long pants will help to keep your skin protected while applying any product to your yard, whether natural or chemical related. If you have any concerns about which product to use, ask your local veterinarian for their recommendations. Any garden center should be able to advise you on the best one if you decide to use chemical pesticides.
Another defense measure is to plant any flowers along and around your home at least six inches away from the foundation. This practice will help keep insects away from your house and make it more difficult for them to find an opening into your home.
Cedar mulch is also an option to help combat tick infestation as it repels ticks. Spread the mulch around your plants, bushes, and trees, and anywhere else you would like. Spread it around your dog’s favorite play area to discourage ticks. It acts as a barrier to prevent ticks from infesting your yard. The mulch also provides your lawn with a well-groomed appearance which in turn provides your home with curb appeal.
Another measure is to keep your lawn cut to a proper height because ticks will cling to longer grass to make it easier for them to attach to a host as they walk by.
Maintain a perimeter between any woods and your yard and keep that area free of any debris or leaves. Ticks are usually found in grassy, wooded areas so keeping that area trimmed and maintained will help. Tick larvae can survive at least fifty feet from your pet’s favorite hang out in the yard so clear any debris or decomposing leaves that are near your pet’s area.
Another measure is to deter small animals from coming into your yard. Squirrels, raccoons, rabbits, feral cats, and even deer can carry ticks and easily transfer them to you, your pets or your lawn. Don’t leave food out for them to snack on. Raccoons have sensitive toes and prefer not to walk across sharp surfaces. Growing plants around your yard with prickly foliage will deter them. To keep deer and rabbits from entering your yard grow aromatic herbs such as mint, rosemary, or dill. Birds, spiders, and ants are natural predators and will eat ticks.
Ticks prefer dark; moist areas so keep your bushes and trees trimmed back in shady areas, so the sun can penetrate the area. Doing this will give the insects less favorable conditions and will deter them.
In conclusion, keeping your lawn groomed and maintained will help to discourage ticks from invading your yard and home.