Ticks are a real nuisance as they can carry numerous blood-borne diseases, such as Lyme Disease. These organisms need blood from humans or animals to survive, so besides affecting humans, they can also affect your pets. Preventing them from appearing in your house or yard is the best way of fighting them, as a tick infestation can be very dangerous and hard to eliminate. It is sufficient that you come in contact with just one tick, and this can provoke an infestation. Ticks can attach themselves to your pets, especially small dogs. Since ticks are usually small, it can be hard to see them on your body or in your pet’s fur. The tick will also attach itself somewhere on your body and bury its head into your skin. Ticks can attach themselves to any part of the body, including:
- the groin
- under the arms
- inside the ears
- in the hair
- inside the belly button
- behind the knee
After a tick is brought into your home, a tick infestation may occur once the tick reproduces. Ticks can lay their eggs in different parts of the home. However, they typically lay their eggs in between floorboards.
Examples of diseases that ticks may transmit include:
- Lyme disease (especially by adult deer ticks)
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
- babesiosis (a malaria-like illness transmitted by certain ticks)
- ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis
- relapsing fever
The effects of these illnesses can range from mild to severe. Many of them have similar symptoms, such as fever and/or chills, body aches and pains similar to the flu, headaches, fatigue or a rash.
Preventive measures in your home
In order to prevent and control ticks from entering your house you will need to take some steps that will discourage ticks from developing around your home. Repairing any crevices or gaps and keeping grass cut short outside may discourage infestations. The disposal of all empty bird and rodent nesting materials is also necessary, as ticks will readily infest these items. Ticks can become a problem if there are suitable tick hosts living in the crawl space or attic. Other animals may bring ticks inside to their nests, burrows, roosts or other living spaces, as well as pets can bring ticks inside your house. Therefore, it always is a good idea to inspect your pets to make sure there are no ticks attached to them.
When enjoying activities such as gardening, camping, hiking, and playing outdoors, don’t forget to take steps to prevent bites from ticks that share the outdoors. Know where to expect these pests. It is known that they live in moist and humid environments, near wooded or grassy areas. When walking down trails, keep to their center, in order to avoid getting in contact with ticks. Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and day packs. After coming inside, bathe or shower as soon as possible, in order to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you.
Should you have brought inside the house any ticks, in order to prevent their spreading, you will need to create an unpleasant environment for them inside your house.
- declutter your house, as ticks are able to hide anywhere; pick up items from the floor and do not leave dirty laundry lying around;
- if you suspect any linen or clothes to have ticks on them, put them straight in the washing machine and wash them thoroughly in hot water;
- keep your house clean by constantly vacuuming it, but remember to dispose of the bag as soon as you’re done;
- clean out shelves, dust off corners and sweep and mop floors;
- constantly check your pets for ticks, as they can often bee the source of such an infestation;
- invest in a tick-repelling collar for your pet, in order to keep these pests away;
Preventive measures in your yard
To be able to prevent ticks from developing in your yard, you will need to target their favourite habitat, which is tall grass, bushy areas and places where they can find a lot of humidity. By modifying the landscape using the below actions, you will be able to reduce the occurrence of ticks in your yard:
- cut back vegetation by regularly trimming grass;
- remove all dead, scraggly, overgrown vegetation;
- remove vines and other plants that tend to create bushy, clumped or grass-like environments;
- as ticks do not like the sun, when when removing plants, do it so that you will let the sun into as many parts of your yard as possible;
- mow your lawn frequently, as it not only keeps the bugs at bay, it also evaporates morning dew quickly, depriving ticks of water, too;
- use an edger to create a barren zone that ticks loathe to cross on their own;
- clean your yard of dead leaves, as they also provide the necessary shade the ticks need;
- don’t allow piles of vegetation to build anywhere in your yard.
- fence your yard in order to prevent large animals such as deer or coyote to pass through your property, as they are the most frequent tick carriers
- keep firewood neatly stacked in a dry location, as ticks can also find their needed moisture and darkness within wood logs;
- clean thoroughly underneath bird feeders as ticks can also reside there undisturbed;
- keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees.
- remove old furniture, mattresses, or trash from the yard that may give ticks a place to hide.
Make sure you will not allow your children to play in known tick areas, where high grasses and trees are found, as they are more vulnerable and unable to protect themselves. Constantly check yourselves, your children and your pets for ticks, especially if you live in an area which meets all the conditions for a favourable tick habitat. Should you find that anyone in your home has been bitten by a tick, remove it with a pair of tweezers. Be careful not to squeeze the body of an embedded tick, as you do not want it to regurgitate into the attach point as this aids in the passing of diseases such as Lyme disease. The head must be removed in its whole.
In this case, seeing that an infestation is about to occur, removing ticks from your yard and home is imperative. Follow the steps in our article about ‘How to get rid of Ticks‘, and continue to apply the preventive measures stated here, as ticks can reappear event after you manage to get rid of the infestation. They can be brought inside your house after a casual walk in the park, so be wise and prevent them from making a home anywhere on your property.