Ticks Around Your Home – Part Two

Prevention is the Key to Control

The best way to avoid tick bites and the diseases they may carry is to avoid ticks. The best way to do that is to avoid places where ticks live, such as wooded areas. That is not always possible, but precautions can be taken. Long-sleeved shirts, long pants and hats should be worn when in tick-infested areas. Ticks are easier to detect when you wear light-colored clothes. To prevent ticks from getting under plants, you should tuck cuffs into the socks or shoes. Tuck long hair under a hat. Also, tick repellant can be applied to the outside of clothes, especially the pants.

Do visual inspection of your clothes and body twice a day when in tick-infested areas. The larvae and nymphs of ticks are quite small and can be easily mistaken for freckles or dirt. Ticks like to feed on the back of the head at the base of the skull. It is a good idea to have another person check for ticks in places you cannot easily see. All clothing should be washed in warm water and detergent. If your pets accompany you to the woods, check them too.

Non-chemical Control

If you are having problems with rodents or other wild animals, such as raccoons or opossums, take measures to exclude them from your house or yard. Also, keep shrubs trimmed along the paths near your home. Keep grass mowed, and remove weeds, brush and leaf litter close to your house to reduce tick problems.

Chemical Control

Indoor chemical control of ticks is usually not recommended except for brown dog tick. Other ticks will not establish inside. In the case of the brown dog tick, applications should be limited to crack and crevice treatments, and areas where the animal spends the most time. Animal bedding or sleeping areas should receive special attention. Brown dog ticks will not be found in high places. Think about the brown dog tick as being at the level of the dog. You can use many of the same spray or dust products you would use for cockroach control to control brown dog ticks. Check the label for product that can be used in the same sites as those you need to treat. Always read and follow label instructions. At the same time that the home is treated for brown dog tick, also treat the animal with an approved product.

Outdoor treatments for any type of tick should be limited to those areas where pets spend the most time. Crawlspaces, outdoor walls, cracks and crevices should only be treated if ticks are observed in these places. General treatments for ticks are not recommended because they often are not very effective. Removal of tick habitats is much more helpful.

If you have a severe infestation in or around your home you may want to hire a professional pest control company to control your tick problem. Professionals can safely use products that are not available to consumers.

Tick Bites

As mentioned earlier, some ticks may transmit diseases. If a tick bites you, there are a few things that you should do. First, carefully remove the tick by grasping it with a pair of tweezers at the point closest to the skin. Pull it out slowly and steadily. After the tick is removed, disinfect the bite area. Also, make sure that you don’t crush the tick because if the tick is infected, crushing it could introduce the disease into your body. Save the tick by placing it in a small container with rubbing alcohol. This way if you suspect a tick-related problem later on, the tick can be identified. Although, keep in mind, that to test the tick for disease, it must be kept alive. Finally, record the date on your calendar that you were bitten just in case symptoms appear later.