While there are some pests you likely worry about more often than others such as spiders or ants, there are other pests in Pittsburgh that can pose unexpectedly big problems for property owners. The tick is an extremely dangerous pest problem that many people don’t consider often enough. Additionally, many people also assume that ticks die-off during the colder months of the year.
However, the truth is that ticks can still be found in the winter, so it’s important to know what they look like and where they can be picked up when the weather cools.
There are three common tick species in the area: the American dog tick, the black-legged tick, and the lone star tick. Here is how to identify ticks that commonly get into area yards:
American dog tick: Despite their name, these ticks will also use many other mammals as hosts. They are a reddish-brown color with black markings and are usually found in grassy areas.
Black-legged tick: This species has six legs and is about ⅛ of an inch long when fully grown. They have dark brown heads and legs and reddish bodies, and they are commonly referred to as deer ticks.
Lone-star tick: These ticks get their name because of the white dot, or “lone star,” that they have in the middle of their backs. They are a red color and also have white markings on their legs.
Where Do Ticks Go In The Winter?
It’s a common misconception that most pests die in the winter. While you might not notice as many pests around, especially outside, many species are alive but either living out of sight or in a semi-dormant state.
Ticks are a species that mostly becomes semi-dormant once the temperatures drop. The exact way this process looks varies from species to species and depends on the stage of the life cycle the tick is in. Some ticks go mostly dormant while others will stay alive attached to a host. The dormant ticks can hide in leaf debris and even become insulated from snowfall.
While not all ticks are particularly active in the winter, some stay functional as long as the temperatures are above 45 degrees. The black-legged tick especially stays active unless the weather is below freezing. This means that they can still be awake and looking for a host to latch onto through most of the colder months.
How Can You Prevent Winter Ticks?
While ticks aren’t as common in the winter, they can still latch onto humans and pets. Ticks are extremely harmful because they can spread many diseases including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
To protect yourself, your loved ones, and your pets from the risks of ticks, you can take these prevention steps to keep ticks away from your property in the winter:
Focus on rodent prevention. Rodents are common tick carriers, and as rats and mice come inside in search of shelter, they can bring ticks with them. You can keep rodents out by sealing cracks in the walls and foundation with steel wool and wire mesh. You should also keep kitchens cleaned and keep all trash cans covered with lids.
Keep wildlife out of your yard. Wildlife carries many ticks. If these animals get into your yard, they can spread ticks around which can then be transferred to you or your pets. Keep wildlife away by installing fences and storing pet food indoors. Also, remove bird feeders.
What's The Best Way To Prevent Ticks?
Ticks are a more serious problem than you might have realized, and protecting your property from them is important throughout the year. The best way to deter and control tick populations is with help from the professionals at Witt Pest Management.
Get started with our residential or commercial pest control plans by calling us at (412) 924-8324.