Ticks are a year-round problem in Texas, and it is a problem that comes with many dangers. The diseases ticks are able to spread are pretty scary. Many are deadly, and some can lead to lifelong struggles with medical conditions. It is important to understand this threat because it can be the motivation you need to take the steps required to keep ticks off your property. So, let's begin by briefly talking about tick-borne diseases.
Diseases Ticks Spread In Texas
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the diseases spread by Texas ticks are: Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), ehrlichiosis, tularemia, tick-borne relapsing fever (TBRF) and anaplasmosis. Take a few minutes to look at the acute and chronic symptoms for each of these diseases.
What Attracts Ticks to Texas Property
When it comes to attractants, you need not be concerned about what ticks are attracted to. They go wherever their host goes. If you want to reduce ticks, you need to reduce attractants that promote wildlife activity around your home. Here are a few examples:
- Put fencing around food sources, such as gardens, berry bushes, and fruit trees. Be sure to install the fencing at least a foot below the surface to prevent animals from burrowing under.
- Make sure your exterior garbage is put into receptacles that have a cover. Secure your receptacles so they can't be knocked over by raccoons and other mid-sized animals. And make sure your receptacles are clean. This will reduce smells that lure animals in.
- If you have bird feeders, consider putting them on the edge of your property. Those bird feeders will lure all kinds of animals onto your property. Mice eat seeds off the ground. Squirrels, raccoons and other animals climb up to get at the seed inside the feeders. And you may not know this but birds can bring ticks into your yard. It is best to not draw any animals close to your home.
- Many animals are drawn to yards that have tall grass, overgrowth in landscaping or objects to hide in. Keep things neat and clutter-free to resist animal activity.
How Ticks Get On You and Your Pets
A tick begins its life as a seed tick. This is a six-legged nymph. One field mouse can have as many as 100 seed ticks on its body so, as you can imagine, they're pretty small. Seed ticks prefer small animals like mice and rats. Seed ticks often drop off their first host and look for another, larger host. This is when they take to dogs or cats.
Nymphs wait in tall grass or on vegetation, holding their front legs out. This is called questing. A questing tick will cling to an animal that passes by and climb up to its head, often choosing to get in the ears. This is why tick collars help prevent tick infestations. When the tick crawls under the collar, it is exposed to the tick control product and slowly dies.
When a dog or cat gets into a home, the nymphs often fall off and may find a blood meal from humans living in the home. Some ticks species are more prone to bite humans than others. Lone Star ticks can get onto you and bite you while you're out in the yard. While they don't take humans as hosts, they have no problem as all getting a blood meal from a human.
Using Tick Behavior Against Them
Licensed pest control professionals know where ticks hide. When these areas are treated with EPA approved products, it can reduce tick populations to zero or near zero in your yard. This alone may be enough to protect you and your family from the threat of ticks. If rodents become an issue and bring ticks directly into your home, professional rodent management may be required for complete protection.
If you have questions about ticks or our tick control services, feel free to ask us. We're here to help. If you need service, request a free estimate. Our team of expertly-trained professionals is standing by to assist you.