You do not have to have dogs or cats or be around livestock to have a tick problem. Considering that one tick bite could potentially infect you or a loved one with anything from Lyme disease to Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, a single tick is a problem. Even a casual walk in your own yard can lead to tick bites. Here is how to minimize the risk.
Ticks Do Not Jump
It is a myth that ticks will jump on you. Fleas jump. Ticks hitch a ride on warm-blooded animals by questing. That is, they hang onto a leaf or blade of grass with one pair of legs while reaching out with their forelegs to grab onto a passing mammal to get a blood meal. Tall grasses and other vegetation close to where warm-blooded creatures pass by, including you, are prime spots to wait. Trim tall grasses in wild areas, and always check yourself for ticks after working in planting beds or gardens.
Wildlife Will Keep Bringing Ticks to Your Yard
Your best attempts at tick control need to be ongoing. Even if a good fence keeps rabbits and deer out of your yard, birds also carry ticks. When a tick is full of its blood meal, it falls off of its host to await the next stage in its lifecycle where it will eat again. If you have taken steps to control ticks on your property, it needs to be done on a regular basis to keep their populations to a minimum.
Check Yourself After Working or Playing Outdoors
Playgrounds that have natural mulch, your flower beds and garden, the tall weeds at the end of your yard, and decorative pampas grasses are all great places for ticks to lie in wait. You do not have to be on a hiking trail to get bit by ticks. Though there are some ticks that feed as soon as they can find bare skin, many of them wander around looking for the best place to get the blood they desire. Showering and thoroughly combing your hair after outdoor activities helps prevent tick bites. You should use a mirror and check all the nooks and crannies of your skin for ticks after being in the great outdoors.
Get Professional Help
Yes, it can be creepy thinking about ticks biting you, and that may require some counseling to get over. However, it is professional tick control help that you need to stop the creepy critters from bugging you in the first place. Ticks can be controlled with tick traps and applied products so you can enjoy your outdoor spaces without worry. Professional tick mitigation is much more effective than home or store-bought remedies.
If you find an attached tick, removing it with a notched tick removal tool is best. Cigarettes, tweezers, petroleum jelly and other methods are risky and may cause regurgitation of even more potential pathogens into your bloodstream. Also, save the tick in a sealed container, such as a pill bottle, for testing if you are concerned about any potential pathogens it may carry. Keep in mind that not all ticks are carrying a disease.