As the spring warmth returns, so too does the concern of ticks invading your backyard. Whether you’re ready or not, these creepy crawlers are waking from their winter dormancy looking to hitch a ride on any warm-bodied creature that wanders their way.
Contrary to popular belief, ticks don’t hibernate during the winter. Instead, their bodily functions slow down while taking shelter from the harmful elements. Ticks are rendered immobile at temperatures of 40 degrees or less; this is called consequential dormancy. This limitation makes them far less of a problem during the winter than they are during the warmer months.
Once temperatures rise over 40 degrees, many ticks emerge hungry from their winter hiding places. Tick nymphs begin hatching in early May and develop into adult ticks by the beginning of the summer season. These nymph ticks will be on a blood hunt along with their older counterparts. For most of us in the Northeast, this means that the peak tick season is nearly upon us.
For pet owners, the beginning of May creates an even more significant issue. Ticks transmit a plethora of diseases to humans, and several deadly infections to our favorite furry friends as well, such as Lyme disease, paralysis and lameness, and in extreme cases seizures or death.
While you can't remove ticks entirely from your environment, there are many methods of deterring them from invading your yard and preventing your pet from picking up any of these unwanted pests.
Ticks love hiding out in undisturbed areas, such as tall grass, leaf piles, and wood piles. Limiting the number of unkempt areas in your yard is an excellent way to keep your pets away from tick habitats.
Professionals recommend mowing your lawn at least once a week during the growing season, optimizing the height of your grass from 3 to 3.5 inches. Keep leggy bushes and plant matter away from the sides of your home, and from frequented locations.
Improperly stacked woodpiles are an prime area for tick populations to breed. If you store wood on your property, be sure it is well stacked and maintained, especially during the warmer months.
Tick-Proof Your Pet
Keeping pets safe from tick-borne disease is a consideration for all pet owners. Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent ticks from reaching your pets.
Tick protection can take the form of oral or topical medications, shampoos, and collars. Natural methods of protection include diatomaceous earth or essential oils to ensure the safety of your four-legged friend.
Checking your pet for ticks is a daily process. Feel your pet for hard clots or bumps in the fur. If you find a tick, remove it right away with a pair of needle-nosed tweezers. Take great caution to remove the entire head of the tick to prevent the increased risk of disease. Remember, your pet is relying on you to keep them safe.
There are several unique ways to remove an increased tick presence from your yard. While some methods may be more labor-intensive, they provide a second layer of defense against tick invasions.
Certain types of plants such as lavender, sage, and the American Beautyberry are proven to repel ticks through their presence alone. Many of these are flowering plants, acting as ornamental yard flora and tick repellent.
Domesticated birds such as chickens will scratch around potential tick breeding areas for a fast meal. While raising poultry may not be a good option for some, maintaining a yard that attracts wild birds will keep tick populations low and pet infections to a minimum.
Choose Witt to Protect Your Home
While these methods can help limit tick bites during the tick season, none are 100% guaranteed to safeguard your home. Witt's pest protection program provides the ultimate protection from ticks through measurable and professional treatment.
With careful inspection and misting, Witt dramatically reduces the presence of ticks on your property, giving you peace of mind for both you and your pets. We offer both one-time and ongoing services to keep your home pest free throughout the year. Our seasoned staff of pest control experts would love to help ensure the safety of you and your pet during the tick season and beyond.