There is a good reason why homeowners are always looking for the latest tips and tricks for tick prevention. Coming from the same family of insects as spiders, these tiny crawlers are out for blood. Ticks survive by consuming the blood of their host, which can include both you and your pets.
They generally measure less than 5 mm long, but despite their small size, they pose a serious threat to humans and animals alike. Tick bites not only cause pain and discomfort, but are also prone to becoming infected as these insects carry several bacteria and viruses.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 30,000 cases of tick-borne diseases are reported throughout the U.S. every year. If you want to protect yourself and your loved ones from these nefarious bloodsuckers, it’s essential to learn the top tips for preventing tick bites.
First, let’s take a quick look at the tick dangers. This will give you a better idea of why you must expedite preventive measures for reducing the risk of tick bites.
Health Hazards – Why Ticks Are Harmful to Humans and Pets
If you are lucky, a tick bite will only result in an itchy, red patch that subsides on its own. But about half the time, a tick has passed bacteria to you through its bite.
Some of the diseases you can get from a tick bite include:
- Lyme Disease – a bacterial disease that is transmitted to humans through infected ticks. It can be treated effectively if detected in the early stages
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) – a bacterial disease characterized by fever and headache. If left untreated, it can lead to bleeding due to organ and tissue damage
- Tularemia – an infectious disease that usually attacks the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract
- Ehrlichiosis – a flu-like illness whose symptoms range from mild body ache and chronic fever to severe headache, nausea, diarrhea, and loss of appetite
Ticks are the vectors for various other diseases that typically result in relapsing fever and skin rash.
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Tips for Tick Prevention
Follow these tips for tick bite prevention so that you’re less likely to become the target of these potentially life-threatening arachnids.
Mind Your Garden
Ticks can find a home in shrubs and various other species of trees. The underbrush of tall grass makes an excellent breeding space for ticks. So, if you take a stroll in the garden, ticks can easily latch onto your body and make it into your home. This applies to your pets as well.
Therefore, you must keep your lawn well-trimmed at all times. Mow the grass regularly and avoid overgrowth of bushes. Remove the dead leaves, twigs, and branches from the garden floor, and don’t let leaf litter accumulate near your house. Be it your lawn or any other wooded area – when passing through such places, try to stay in the center of the trail.
You can get rid of ticks in your garden or at least prevent them from entering your home by making a few simple landscape changes as well. For example, you can build a thick, 2 to 3-foot-wide barrier that keeps ticks at bay. This is especially recommended for houses located in or near woodlands.
Simply spread gravel or wood chips at the edge of your lawn, and it will prevent the insects from moving past the material and into your home.
Perform Tick Checks
Scanning your body for ticks every time you come in from outside is a simple yet highly effective way to minimize the risk of tick bites. Nymph ticks are roughly the size of a poppy seed and can be detected with the naked eye if you focus closely.
Pay particular attention to the folds of skin and relatively concealed spots such as:
- Behind the ears
- Back of neck
- Behind the knees
- Around the waistline
Check your gear thoroughly too. If you find a tick, remove it with a pair of tweezers and consult a doctor immediately.
Use Essential Oils
As strange as it might sound, using essential oils can be a great way to keep your family and pets tick-free. The reason why it works is that strong fragrances often repel insects – and luckily, this includes ticks.
You can use scented soaps and shampoo or simply use a diffuser to spread the aroma indoors. For the best results, go for lavender, rose geranium, peppermint, lemongrass, and similar citrusy smells.
Use a Repellant
Repellants are the key to preventing tick bites. Pest control professionals recommend using one with at least 20% concentration of DEET.
DEET is an active ingredient that provides protection against various insects, including ticks, mosquitoes, leeches, and fleas, to name a few. If this is not readily available, then insect repellents containing picaridin or IR3535 are the next best alternative.
Moreover, it would help to regularly treat your clothes and outdoor gear with permethrin. Permethrin is a chemical that kills ticks. Wash and dry the clothes on high heat afterward to get rid of the dead ticks. Just don’t use it around cats since it’s poisonous to them. Permethrin-treated socks and other articles of clothing are available in stores and online. The socks are extremely useful in preventing ticks and other insects from latching onto your shoes. Grab a pair especially if you are a garden enthusiast.
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The Modern Solution
Hiring a professional pest control service can give you peace of mind knowing that these almost-microscopic bloodsuckers are properly taken care of. A pest control professional has the right tools and will perform thorough checks to successfully fight off these insects.
Modern’s Homecare Mosquito, Flea, and Tick program provides six monthly services between April and September. It provides a meaningful reduction in all three disease-spreading vector pests. Our complete mosquito, flea, and tick control service in not only eliminates breeding sites and targets hot spots around your home, but it also includes long-term prevention.