What You Need To Know About Ticks
and At-Home Tick Control
It is alarming when you think about how insects as small as ticks can be harmful to the point of being fatal. What is worse is how they can reproduce into an infestation in just a short time once you decided not to do anything about them. As a homeowner, the best way to address this is through prevention. To help you, we will provide below every information you know about ticks, tick-borne diseases, how to prevent infestation, and how to repel their bites.
What are ticks?
Ticks are considered to be parasites—parasitic arachnids, to be specific. They are often small in size and are found in grassy wooded areas. Just like the mosquitoes, ticks have four life stages: A tick starts as an egg, then turns into a larva before it transforms into a nymph, then a full-grown adult.
When distinguishing ticks, you will notice how their bodies are circular, and they have eight legs, just like a spider. Ticks can be as small as about one millimeter, but they can also grow up to one centimeter. Although they can be very active throughout the year, tick peak season would be from the end of spring until early fall. It is when they are done drinking off of a human’s or animal’s blood that they build their nest around your home to produce thousands of eggs. Typical parasites, right?
Why are ticks dangerous?
Parasites, in general, are dangerous, and ticks are one of those that can cause harm to their host’s body. Just like disease-carrying mosquitoes, there are what we call tick-borne illnesses. These are diseases that a tick can transmit from one person or living being to another through their bites. The most common tick-borne illness would be Lyme disease with headache, fever, and rash as symptoms. Fortunately, most Lyme disease cases can be cured in just a couple of weeks up to a month. However, post-treatment Lyme disease illness is possible.
Another tick-borne illness is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or RMSF. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers it one of the deadliest tick-borne diseases. RMSF targets blood vessels. That is why if it is left untreated or wrongfully treated, an infected person can die in a week of having it. Symptoms include fever, headache, rash, vomiting, muscle pain, etc. If a person survived RMSF, permanent damage like hearing loss or paralysis is possible.
Just like humans, dogs and other animals are as prone to tick-borne illnesses. They can also be infected with Lyme disease, RMSF, Babesiosis, Bartonellosis, etc. Most of these diseases target the dog’s blood, resulting in blood parasitism—common symptoms of tick-borne diseases in dogs in lethargy, loss of appetite, fever, etc. Severe cases cause animals to experience seizures.
How would I know if my home has tick infestation?
Sadly, there are no other ways to tell if your home has a tick infestation except for when you already catch them crawling on your skin, latching on your pets, or just simply crawling around your floors or walls. Once you notice your dog scratching out of nowhere, check their fur as soon as possible or bring them to your veterinarian. In humans, tick bites can be painless, and you would not even feel them when they are already on your skin. Ticks are parasites which means they need a host to survive, so they are likely on you or any other living being in your home. Remember that ticks reproduce fast, and one can lay thousands of eggs at once. If you see even one strutting around your home, call tick control immediately.
How to prevent tick infestations?
If you think your home can be prone to tick infestations, regular inspection and prevention are needed to eliminate few parasites that are already in your area immediately. Solving this problem as soon as possible is advisable to prevent these pests from infecting your family with diseases.
- Keep your lawn dry and clean.
Ticks live in warm and moist areas. They are often found in wooded as well as grassy lawns. To prevent an infestation from ever starting, maintain your yard’s cleanliness for it not to become a breeding ground of ticks. Remove all dead branches, trees, and plants, for these, are the likely places where the ticks live off. Do not let your grass and brushes overgrow.
- Regularly conduct general cleaning of your home.
Although there are slight chances that ticks stay inside houses -- nothing better than being safe. You have to make sure that your home is always clean, especially where your pets usually stay. Check corners prone to humidity and molds, like the bathroom or the cabinet below your sink. Regularly vacuum your carpets and sofas. Change your pillowcases and bedsheets every couple of weeks.
- Avoid visiting areas that are likely to have ticks.
If your home is near a wooded area, avoid getting near there. Those areas are likely home to a tick infestation, and getting near it may cause you to bring home some ticks with you and to spread them all over. If you have to go there, wear long, lighter clothes and tick repellent lotion.
- If you suspect there are ticks around the house, check yourself, family, and pets.
If you feel like there are ticks around the house and have seen your pets suddenly scratching, check them for ticks immediately. Inspect other family members as well and make sure to remove it carefully. The sooner you get rid of them, the safer and less likely they have infected them already.
- Call tick control professionals.
The best and the fastest way to prevent and get rid of tick infestation is by calling professionals that are expert in tick control. Your lawn, especially the areas prone to ticks, has to be treated with tick repellent. These are often toxic chemicals that is why some people do not prefer them. However, this should not be a problem anymore as there are now options for natural tick control. Natural and organic ingredients are used in making the repellent that will be sprayed and misted around your home.
Remember that knowing all these things gives you the power, as a homeowner, to prevent your family from being infected with diseases brought by these parasites. A few regular preventative measures would cause you less than bringing a child to a hospital because of Lyme disease. General maintenance of your home will save you from illnesses brought by insects and other pests.