Ticks seem to have no actual value other than to spread disease and annoy pet owners, but they do indeed positively contribute to the environment. They are a food source for many different creatures and help to control animal populations as a means of balancing the ecosystem. Tolerating ticks may seem unimaginable, but ticks could be considered a necessary evil in the larger scheme of things.
Tick season may be one of the most distressing times of the year if you live in areas that are heavily infested with ticks. You will need to stay vigilant and make the necessary preparations to keep your family, pets, and home safe from the negative attributes of ticks. Learning how to prepare for tick season could save the lives of your pets and your family.
When is Tick Season?
Tick season can begin in March or April and last into late fall. So, how long is the tick season? The tick season may last all year long, especially in the southern regions of the United States, depending on the type of tick that is being discussed. Ticks such as the American dog tick and the Lone Star tick enter into a dormant period that persists through the winter months.
Other types of ticks such as deer ticks will enter into a dormant period during winter but can become active again in winter when temperatures rise above freezing, and the ground is clear of snow. Northern regions that have lots of snow and ice won’t have to worry about ticks being active during the winter as much as the southern regions, but you should always be prepared regardless of the time of year. A professional pest control agency can help keep you informed about tick season in your local area.
How to Prepare for Tick Season
When warmer weather arrives, and your family and pets will be spending more time outdoors, keep in mind that ticks will be joining you. It only makes sense that ticks will be most active when their food sources are active, so you will need to be prepared to protect your family and pets from exposure to ticks. If you are curious about how to prevent ticks, you can use many preventive methods when you are likely to come across them in nature. These methods include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Keeping your skin covered will help deter ticks from biting, latching on, and feeding. Long sleeves and pants are best, regardless of the outside temperature. You should also wear light-colored clothing as a means to see dark-colored ticks when they have found their way onto your clothes. Clothes with mesh or holes should also be avoided to keep young ticks from finding their way to your skin.
Using bug spray:
- Depending on your preference, you could use insect repellent sprays such as lightweight botanicals to mask your scent or a potent insecticide that will kill ticks on contact. The heavier-duty insecticides have two main types, including those safe for use on skin or those that are not safe to use on your skin. DEET is capable of being used on the skin while pyrethrin is not, and you will need to follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions to keep your family and pets safe.
Sealing your seams:
- Ticks will look for any opening in your clothing to get to your skin. Ensuring that there aren’t any openings will help keep them outside of your clothing. An example of how to seal your seams is to tuck your pant legs into your socks.
Not leaving the trail:
- When trekking through the forest, it is always best to stick to the path. Well maintained trails will be free of the underbrush and tall grass where ticks wait to ambush their potential hosts.
Disinfecting your clothing:
- After your trip into the great outdoors, take the time to remove your clothing and place it into a sealed plastic bag before entering your car or house. Once home, put your clothes in the dryer and run it through at least a 15-minute cycle. The heat should kill any ticks that may be inside of your clothes.
Checking for ticks on your skin or in your hair:
- Once home, you should examine yourself thoroughly to ensure that you don’t have any ticks on your skin or hair. Ticks can often hide in places on your body that you can’t see, so you could get a friend to help you out or use a handheld mirror to be as thorough as possible.
Be Aware of Ticks That Are Common To Your Area
If you do find a tick on you, but it hasn’t bitten you, catch it quickly with tape and then secure the tape around it and get rid of it. There is always a risk that a tick could bite you when you venture outdoors. If you find that a tick has bitten you and is attached to your skin, remove it as quickly as you can by using clean tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to the head as possible and swiftly pull it out. Be sure to disinfect the bite and the area around it and place a bandaid over the bite.
The quicker you discover the tick and remove it, the less likely you are to be infected with a disease that ticks carry. After being bitten, you will need to know the signs and symptoms of these diseases and keep watch. If you suspect that you are becoming ill as a result of a tick bite, you should immediately contact your doctor and inform them of the type of tick so that they can determine the best course of action.
Staying ahead of ticks by being prepared and taking preventive measures when you are going to be in areas where ticks are prevalent is the best way to protect your family and pets during tick season. Take the time to check yourself, your family, and your pets for ticks before coming indoors. Taking the time to understand the nature of ticks could save your life or those of your loved ones.