Ticks are tiny and dangerous. They can carry a huge array of diseases, including Lyme disease, anaplasmois, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and many more. What worse is that ticks are generally very small; they can bite you without you feeling it and you may not notice them until they have swollen in size. This usually means they have been on your body for several days.
A tick will suck blood and in the process transit the bacteria in its own blood to you. The good news is that the tick needs to be attached for 24 hours for an infection to be carried across; providing you are vigilant they don’t need to be an issue.
Ticks are no longer something that you just pick up in the wild; it is now possible to get them in your back yard. If you do notice an abundance of them on your property it is time to get the exterminators in.
Recognize The Enemy
The first step to identifying the enemy is to know what a tick looks like and how it behaves.
Ticks are generally very small. In fact the deer tick, which is the only one that can carry Lyme disease, is about the size of a freckle. You may also be surprised to learn that ticks have eight legs and two pincers on their tiny heads. These pincers connect with your skin to allow them to suck your blood.
Ticks are actually flat unless they have had a good meal, when they first come on your body you’ll hardly noticed the raised freckle like bump.
It is also worth noting that ticks can’t fly or jump. They simply walk onto their hosts when you brush against the long grass they are sat on. They can wait on a piece of grass for months in a semi dormant state for the right host.
Now you know what you’re looking for you can make sure you check your body whenever you’ve been out in long grass. If you check your body every day there is no need to panic as not all ticks carry disease and you have 24 hours to remove them from your body without contracting any infection.
Ticks need bare skin in order to bite you. They won’t generally climb across clothes to find the skin. Because most ticks live fairly close to the ground they are most likely to step onto a bare ankle and then either stay there or on the lower part of your leg.
The easiest way to prevent this from happening is to wear socks and long trousers; there reduces your appeal to a tick.
But, it is possible that they will wander around your clothing or body looking for the right place to latch on. You can opt to wear pale clothes and keep your shirt tucked into your trousers. This will help you to spot the ticks and prevent them from getting to your body.
Another good option, if you’ve been out walking, is to shower straight away. If they haven’t attached straight away then they’ll simply be washed away.
You can also put your clothes in a dryer on high heat for at least 20 minutes; this will kill any tick.
Tidy The Yard
Looking after yourself involves more than just inspecting for ticks. You can actually discourage them from coming into your yard by performing regular maintenance.
Long grass offers shade and moisture to ticks which are essential for their survival. Keep the lawn cut and you’ll make your yard much less appealing to the ticks.
You should also make sure the edges of your lawn are tidy. This is the most common spot for a tick to hide. In fact a mulch barrier or even gravel at the edge of the grass will stop the ticks from even getting to the grass!
You can spray tick repellent onto your skin; it will work very effectively to keep the ticks off your body. They do not like chemicals.
If you have ticks in your yard then find out more here about getting professional help to eliminate them.
What Not To Do
There is only one way to safely remove a tick from your body and that is with a pointed pair of tweezers. With these you can grasp the tick’s head and pull it out of your body. Providing you remove the head it won’t matter if the pincer is left in.
If you use anything else and squeeze on the body of the tick you’ll be pushing the bacteria filled blood into your body which is not a good idea.