technician inspecting home

Preventive steps to keep ticks away

There are many layers to tick protection. This is because ticks don't get into our homes on their own; instead, they're carried in. They can hitch a ride inside on your dog or cat. They can be carried in on people. And they can be brought in by invading rodents and wildlife pests. Let's take a look at each of these:

Pets

We don't have to tell you that dogs and cats are a common vehicle for ticks. You probably already know that. When our pets go out into the yard, they can pick up ticks in patches of tall grass, our landscaping, and in moist, shaded areas. Here are some tips to help protect you and your pets from picking up ticks:

  • Make sure you have veterinarian-prescribed tick products for your pets, including a tick collar. Ticks often crawl up the body of an animal to get to the ears. When they do, they will pass under or over the collar and get a dose of the active ingredient in the collar. While this substance won’t hurt your pet, it will kill ticks.
  • If you have dogs, consider creating an outdoor play area for them, if you don't already have one. This will help keep your pet from exploring locations on your property where questing ticks are waiting for a host. It also makes it more difficult for wildlife to get into these areas and leave behind ticks. Also, be sure to keep foods contained so wildlife pests aren't given an incentive to get past your fencing.
  • Perform routine tick checks on your pets. Look for large, swollen, grayish-blue or tan colored engorged ticks as well as smaller, less noticeable ticks. Check the ears and toes of your pet first as these are common feeding areas for ticks. Make sure to inspect thoroughly because catching these ticks early can prevent the transmission of diseases to your pets.
  • Have a pest control professional reduce ticks around your home and reduce the chances that your pets will pick ticks up by applying tick treatments.

People

If you go out into your yard to work in your garden, mow your grass, do some landscaping, or enjoy some other outdoor activity, you may pick up a dangerous hitchhiker. And while ticks don’t take humans as hosts, some species will try. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself:

  • Be aware that ticks don't fall down from trees onto you. Instead, they climb all the way up your body to attach to your skin. Oftentimes, they’ll climb all the way up to your scalp and into your hair to better conceal themselves. As they do, you can spot them easier by wearing lighter or brighter colors.
  • When spending time outdoors, apply mosquito repellent to your shoes and clothing to deter ticks from clinging to your legs and crawling up your clothing.
  • Check yourself for ticks when you come in from being in a location where questing ticks are commonly found. Removing ticks early can prevent the transmission of disease. When you extract ticks, make sure to pinch the tick near the head instead of the abdomen and as close to the skin as possible, then pull straight out to remove it.
  • Have a pest professional apply routine treatments around your home to reduce tick populations and the probability of you or your family members bringing ticks in

Wildlife

Every step you take to prevent wildlife from coming into your yard will help reduce the number of ticks in your yard. Ticks are usually carried into our yards by wildlife animals. This may be a larger animal like a deer or a smaller animal like a mouse, rat, or squirrel. These parasitic pests can even be introduced to our properties by birds. To manage the wildlife on your property, try these tips!

  • Keep bird feeders away from your foundation perimeter; as the birds feed, the ticks they are carrying can drop off and crawl into moist, shaded areas where they can lay in wait for a new host to pass by.
  • Keep your trash cans sealed and secured to avoid attracting wildlife animals in search of food.
  • Routinely clean trash receptacles to remove smells that may attract animals.
  • Install fencing around food sources and around the outside edge of your property, especially where it borders woodland areas.
  • If you've read up to this point, you can probably guess what we're going to say next, but there is a twist! When you have routine tick reduction applied by a professional, it will have a residual effect, meaning it will continue to eliminate new ticks that are brought into your yard in between our visits.

Rodents

When it comes to bringing ticks into a home, mice and rats are the worst. While a raccoon or a squirrel may bring ticks into your attics, they're not likely to go down into your public areas to spread them around.
 
When skunks bring ticks under your porch or into your garage, those ticks may not go much further than that as ticks don't crawl very far. So while skunks may introduce ticks onto your property, they won’t carry them inside.
 
However, mice and rats will bring ticks in and spread them to every floor of your home, even in common areas like your living room and kitchen! The development cycle of a tick makes this an even greater cause for concern because when they hatch, tick nymphs choose smaller animals to feed on first and then switch to larger animals as they develop. This guarantees that they'll fall off those rodents in your home and search for a new, larger host such as you, your family members, or your pets. This will have them attaching to you or someone else in your home in no time!
 
At American Pest Solutions, we offer treatment options for both ticks and rodents. If you're dealing with either of these pests, or both, reach out to us today for immediate assistance! We’d be happy to help!

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