Source: Tick Management Handbook, Connecticut Experiment Station
By now, most Americans are aware of the health threat posed by tiny ticks that live and breed in our outdoor environments.
The bad news: Reports show that threat is growing as the tick population expands geographically. Last fall a congressional advisory committee called Lyme disease and other emerging tick-related illnesses "a serious and growing threat to public health,” pointing to at least 20 known medical conditions that can result from tick bites.
The good news? As summer approaches, there are a number of effective tick protection methods that can help us ward off these dangerous pests as we go about our daily lives. Here are five suggestions you may not have considered for keeping them away from your family.
- Use Tick Smart Landscaping Methods. Evaluate the green space surrounding your home, then cut back or remove tall grasses, brush and leaf litter that attracts ticks — especially if the foliage is in shady, moist areas. Keep your lawn mowed to less than 4.5 inches tall throughout the spring and summer, and limit tick migration by installing a 3-foot gravel or wood chip barrier between the woods and your lawn. Another tactic is installing a fence to keep wildlife such as deer from introducing more ticks to your yard.
- Use Thermacell Tick Tubes to Kill Ticks where Sprays Can’t Reach. Place Thermacell Tick Control Tubes around the perimeter of your yard. Developed by Harvard University researchers, these small biodegradable tubes work with nature to help rid your yard of ticks that may carry diseases without threatening children, pets or the environment. How do the tubes work? Field mice that commonly host young ticks collect the treated cotton in the tick control tubes and use it to line their nests. The mice rub the treated cotton into their fur, killing the ticks when they feed on the mice. Each tick control tube can kill hundreds of ticks in a season.
- Use preventatives on your pets. Ask your veterinarian which products she recommends for your dogs and cats. Then groom and scan each pet regularly for clinging ticks, paying special attention to areas where skin is exposed such inside the ear, around the eyelid and the underbelly. A tick bite doesn’t necessarily mean your pet is infected, but you should call your vet if you notice prolonged lethargy, limping and/or loss of appetite.
- Use magnification to check skin daily. Many people don’t realize they’re most at risk of contracting Lyme from black-legged ticks that are in nymphal stages through late spring and early summer. These young ticks can be as tiny as poppy seeds, so it’s advisable to use a magnifying glass each night to thoroughly check everyone’s skin for the small arachnids, which are often attracted to warm, moist areas such as the armpits, scalp and groin.
- Dress to Keep Ticks from Reaching Your Skin. If you and/or your family members plan to spend time in the great outdoors during tick season, it’s a good idea to cover exposed skin by wearing tucked-in long-sleeve shirts and long pants tucked into socks or boots. Light-colored clothing allows you to spot ticks more easily, as does short, pulled-back or braided hair. The CDC also recommends treating gear and clothing with tick-killing products containing 0.5 percent permethrin; spraying your shoes can be a good place to start. "Ticks do not jump, fly or drop from trees — they are down on the ground and crawl up until they find a good spot to attach," explains org.
Yes, ticks can be creepy crawly as well as dangerous. But taking practical precautions during tick season can go a long way toward reducing your chances of encountering them.
Thermacell Tick Control Tubes are an easy-to-use no-spray solution to kill backyard ticks that may carry Lyme disease. Call us at 866-753-3837 to learn more.