Ticks are growing in notoriety. These pests, which were once considered a nuisance for folks with dogs or cats, have almost climbed to public enemy number one in terms of their ability to impact human health. But how bad are they really? Join us as we look at how to identify ticks in The Woodlands, how to evaluate the threat they present, how to personally protect yourself from tick-borne diseases, and what works to get rid of ticks in your yard. If you want to talk to someone about your tick concerns, contact us. Our service team is at your disposal. We provide expert advice and industry-leading tick pest control in The Woodlands. If you just want to learn more about tick identification and tick-borne diseases and get some simple tips to prevent tick bites, read on. We've compiled some valuable information for natural tick prevention and general tick control.
Is This A Tick?
Sometimes it is easy to tell a tick from other pests. Sometimes it isn't quite so easy. When ticks draw blood, they swell. Perhaps you've seen an engorged tick on your dog or cat. It is pretty gross. But you won't have difficulty identifying that pest as a tick when you find it engorged. No other bug looks quite like a big fat tick. Unfortunately, the last thing you want to do is find a tick after it has had a meal. Ticks can spread diseases. Let's take a quick look at what ticks look like when they're not filled with blood.
Seed Ticks: Ticks are arachnids, which may lead you to believe that they have eight legs. While they certainly do, it is not the case for baby ticks. A baby tick, called a seed tick, is not yet an arachnid. In the same way a butterfly begins as a caterpillar and a beetle begins as a grub, ticks begin as something different. The key difference between larvae and adults is the number of legs. A seed tick has six legs. It will grow one more pair before it becomes a nymph. Keep in mind that a seed tick is not much more than a speck. You'll have a hard time seeing those six legs. But, if you happen to have a magnifying glass lying around, take a quick look at any specks attached to your skin. You may see these six legs and tell that you have found a baby tick.
Nymphs: A nymph looks like an adult tick. It has a tear-drop shape with the head being on the pointed end. It has eight legs. And, most of all, it has a flat profile when unfed.
Adults: An adult tick is tear-drop shaped and has eight legs. It will likely be brown, but the color varies by species. Some species have a dark red coloration. If you are concerned about disease transmission, take time to look at various adult ticks and get to know their unique colors.
Ticks aren't the only arachnids that come into yards in The Woodlands. It is sometimes hard to tell them apart from other arachnids. If you have trouble, take a photo of the bug with your phone and send us the photo. We'll see if we can help you figure out what bug you're looking at. If a closer look is needed, we can provide a free, no-obligation estimate.
Are Tick Bites Dangerous?
You may think that every tick that bites you is carrying Lyme disease if you listen to the news. While Lyme disease is a concern, and cases have doubled in the last two decades, the chances of getting this disease are still statistically minuscule. If you take precautions to avoid tick bites, the odds are even more in your favor.
We wish we could say that Lyme is the only tick-related disease that concerns human health in the United States, but there are others. The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention list the following:
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
- Rickettsia parkeri Rickettsiosis
- Tickborne relapsing fever (TBRF)
- Hard tick relapsing fever
- Colorado tick fever
- Heartland and Bourbon virus diseases
- Powassan virus disease
There are also side effects to tick bites, such as prophylaxis or paralysis. While you can get bitten many times and never contract a disease or experience these side effects, it is best to avoid contact with ticks if possible.
We would like to point out that disease transmission is much lower with seed ticks. If your child comes in with dozens (or hundreds) of tiny seed ticks attached to his or her skin, you should know that those seed ticks are likely harmless. Lone star ticks tend to do this. They rest on the ground in large groups, so when someone kneels or stands on them, they are quickly covered with these ticks. Let cooler heads prevail when large numbers of seed ticks attach. Things may not be as dire as you imagine.
Five No-Sweat Tips To Prevent Tick Bites While Outdoors
Ticks may seem mysterious, but they aren't really all that mysterious. It doesn't take much sweat to understand how to prevent tick bites while outdoors, and some tick management methods don't take any sweat to implement.
Mosquito Repellent: It is not commonly known, but you can use mosquito repellent to prevent tick bites. Ticks don't like these repellents. You can apply a repellent to your skin or to your clothing to make ticks fall off as they attempt to climb your body. What is the best bug spray for ticks? Experts recommend DEET. The EPA recommends a concentration of about 25 percent.
Clothing Options: If you don't like bug spray, you can use physical solutions to prevent tick bites. You can tuck your pants into your socks to prevent ticks from climbing underneath your pant legs, and you can wear bright colors to help you detect ticks as they scale your clothing. It is much easier to see a dark-colored tick on a bright surface.
Avoidance: Ticks hang out in certain areas. If you avoid these areas, you can avoid picking up ticks. Where do ticks hang out? They are found in tall grass, on hanging plants, and on the ground in wooded areas. Keep in mind that ticks don't fall from trees to get into your hair. They always scale your body. Combine avoidance with the other tips mentioned above to get the best results possible.
Wildlife Management: If the "outdoors" you plan to walk in is your backyard, one of the best ways to avoid tick bites is to manage wildlife activity. Animals bring ticks into yards. We recommend removing food sources, such as bird seed, nuts, and fruits. Secure your trash receptacles and make sure they stay covered. Trim your grass lower and address weed problems as quickly as possible. Use hardware cloth to keep animals from nesting underneath exterior structures.
Tick Checks And Removal: While this tip won't prevent a tick bite, it will help to prevent illness. Early detection and removal significantly reduce the risk of tick-borne disease. The reason is that it takes time for disease-causing organisms to transfer from a tick to your blood.
These simple, no-sweat tick bite prevention tips will provide the best protection from tick bites. If you spend a lot of time in your yard, it is beneficial to consider mosquito and tick control.
Let The Professional Tick-Proof Your Yard
There are many ways a professional can help you tick-proof your yard. A licensed technician knows what conducive conditions lead to tick problems and will guide you in addressing these conditions. Your technician can also work to directly reduce the number of ticks in your yard by applying mosquito control. Yup. In the same way mosquito repellent keeps ticks off your body, mosquito treatments can keep ticks out of your yard. Would you like to learn more about how this works? We'd enjoy having the conversation with you. If you live in The Woodlands, reach out to All-Safe Pest & Termite for information or to schedule a service visit. We provide seasonal mosquito control that makes it a lot nicer to recreate in your yard. Your mosquito service also provides protection from pest-borne diseases spread by mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas. You can connect with us through our contact page for details.
Life is so much better without potentially harmful bugs in your yard. These pests aren't likely to send you to the hospital, but they can cause general and persistent illness. Plus, there is always the rare chance that you or someone you love may contract something that can cause lifelong health challenges. While it is impossible to live a bug-free life, you'll definitely notice the impact you can get from having routine service visits and ongoing pest management around your home. You'll also have the added benefit of seeing fewer (or no) bugs inside your home. Why not give it a try?