Here in Pennsylvania, we know all about the threat that ticks pose to us and our families. This year has been a bad one when it comes to mosquito and tick-borne illnesses throughout the country. Unfortunately, the fall is a very active time for ticks in our area. Here at Delaware Valley Turf, we’ve put together a few fall tick control tips to help you keep your family safe.
Though ticks are tiny creatures, the threat they pose to us and our pets is huge. Ticks are responsible for 95 percent of all infections of diseases caused by pests in the United States. Here in Pennsylvania, we have one of the highest concentrations of Lyme disease infections in the country. We have five species of ticks that are known vectors of dangerous diseases.
Over the past decade, infections of tick-borne diseases have spiked. Tick habitats have grown, bringing them in contact with more people than ever before. Not only that, new tick-borne diseases are being discovered every year. Tick control has never been more important.
Tick prevention is the best method of tick control. Making your yard as inhospitable to ticks as possible will help you reduce the tick populations around your property, helping you avoid any possible run-ins with these dangerous pests. Here are a few tips to turn your yard into a tick-free zone.
Tall grass is the perfect environment for ticks. They climb to the top of the tall grass, waiting for their next meal to walk by. An easy way to keep ticks from calling your yard home is to keep your lawn mowed. Take it one step further by clearing out any brush around your property, especially around the border. This will create a tick-free buffer zone around your yard.
In the fall, when temperatures start to drop, ticks go on the search for a warm place to call home. A common fall hiding place for ticks is a cozy pile of leaves. If you have piles of leaves in your yard, especially around the foundation of your home, then it’s time to get the rake out. Remove any leaves on and around your property to eliminate potential hiding places for ticks. Make sure you’re wearing long pants, long sleeves, and gloves while you work and check yourself for ticks when you’re done.
Trees and shrubs are another great hiding place for ticks, especially if they are growing close to your home. If you start noticing tree or shrub branches growing close to your home, then it’s important to trim them back. Ticks use tree branches as a highway system and they love it when they can get closer to the heat of your home. Trim your trees and shrubs to prevent ticks from taking advantage of your house’s heat or worse: getting inside.
Protecting the kids is the most important reason for fall tick control. If there are toys, swing sets, or play structures in your yard, then it’s important to keep them away from any tall brush or overhanging trees. Keep kids play areas away from the edge of your property to reduce the likelihood of your children from having a run-in with a tick.
Any time that you work outside has the potential of coming in contact with a dangerous tick. It’s important to prepare yourself and be aware of the dangers around you. Keep yourself covered up with long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, boots, and gloves. Wear light-colored shirts to make it easier to spot any opportunistic ticks trying to hitch a ride. Tuck your pants into your socks to cut off access to your legs, safety is more important than style. Use bug spray with 20-30% DEET as a last line of defense.
If you are spending time outside doing your fall lawn care, then it’s important to check yourself for ticks. It takes 36-48 hours for a blacklegged tick to transmit Lyme disease so it’s essential to check yourself right away for ticks.
If you find a tick on you, don’t panic. Use tweezers or a tick remover to pull the tick off. Make sure you grip the tick firmly by the head as close to your skin as possible. After the tick is removed, wash the area with soap and water. Be on the lookout for a rash or fever in the days following a tick bite.
Don’t ever use a match to remove a tick. This folk remedy for tick removal actually does more harm than good. The heat from the match causes the tick to regurgitate into you, which is way worse than it sounds. This can actually increase the likelihood of spreading a dangerous disease like Lyme disease.
While these tips will help establish your lawn as a tick-free zone, you can protect yourself and your family even more with profession tick control services. Here at Delaware Valley Turf, we know the hot spots and most active times for ticks. Our tick control services are designed to reduce tick populations and control infestations.