Beware of Hitchhiking Ticks
In the world of pests and insects, there’s no shortage of bloodsuckers. In most places, a bite from a mosquito or flea is more cause for annoyance than alarm. There are, however, certain creatures you’d prefer never to encounter. High on the list is the diminutive ectoparasites known as the tick. Ticks are notorious carriers of disease, making them a cause for concern regardless of where you live.
One of the major challenges in dealing with these potent parasites is that they’re known for latching on to people and pets who travel through their natural environments, namely any woody or grassy area, particularly those that are more humid and moist. Consult these tips to keep hitchhiking ticks out of your living space.
For those who enjoy trail running, hiking and other outdoor activities, pests are simply a reality one must deal with. Avoiding run-ins with this arachnid is tricky because they’re so small. It can be difficult to tell when one has taken hold, and it’s even tougher when they go after your pets. Keep these pointers in mind whenever you’re out and about:
- Stick to the center of trails whenever possible, avoiding the edges and contact with brush and foliage where ticks hang out.
- Clothing treated with permethrin products can stop ticks in their tracks, and bug repellent with DEET is effective when used on skin. Be sure to follow all manufacturer instructions.
- Always check all people and animals thoroughly for ticks when returning from outdoor excursions. Flea and tick combs can help when checking longer-haired dogs.
If you find a tick that has attached itself, remove it promptly by grasping it as close to the skin as possible with fine-tip tweezers. Pull straight out, avoiding twisting or crushing, which can cause more problems. Consult your doctor or medical professional if any signs of illness become evident after being bitten.
Other Prevention Measures
Because pets are quite vulnerable to these pesky parasites, you may need additional strategies for protecting your home. Consider the use of tick collars, shampoos and spot medications as recommended by your veterinarian. As with products for people, always follow the manufacturing company’s instructions closely.
Around your home and yard, take similar steps to limit the potential for any pest contact:
- Clear brush and dead foliage away from the exterior of your house.
- Remove plants that attract deer to your yard, as they are known tick carriers.
- Consider the use of proper chemicals to control problems in tick-heavy regions.
Ticks can indeed be tough to detect, but in most cases, your family can avoid them entirely with the proper effort and diligence.