In the warmer months, to avoid and prevent bites of ticks becomes a major goal when going outside. As these insects are well-known for their ability to transmit Lyme disease, you will want to avoid tick bites at all costs.
The best way to prevent bites is to wear light-colored clothing and use a strong insect repellent that is specifically for ticks. You'll want to avoid wooded areas as much as possible to increase prevention. When you come back from being outdoors, you'll have to thoroughly check your skin to ensure that you don't have any pests embedded.
We are going to cover the best ways to avoid bites of ticks, as well as how to make your yard a pest-free zone, including where to put your wood piles. We'll also explore the definition of ticks, including the description from the Journal of Medical Entomology. Finally, we will cover the proper removal techniques.
What Is a Tick?
Ticks are very tiny creatures that are related to spiders, as can be seen in their eight legs. They are well-known for the tick-borne illnesses that they transmit to humans as well as pets.
Not all ticks will carry a tickborne disease, but some are more likely than others, including the American dog ticks or wood ticks and black-legged ticks or deer ticks, among others.
According to the Journal of Medical Entomology, ticks are wingless, possessing a single oval body region that swells when full of blood.
Where Are Ticks Found?
Ticks enjoy wooded and brushy areas with a lot of shrubs, tall grass, weeds, and leaf litter. Even if your house is not close to wooded areas, you are still at risk if you have leaf litter in your yard or high grass. The best solution for homeowners is to ensure they rake up any fallen leaves as well as clear tall grass.
What Diseases Do Ticks Carry?
Ticks are most commonly known for their ability to transmit Lyme disease as well as Rocky Mountain spotted fever to humans. Other diseases they are known for transmitting include anaplasmosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Powassan virus disease, and Tularemia.
What Is the Best Tick Repellent for Humans for Preventing Tick Bites?
When going into a particularly wooded area, you want to make sure that you have an insect repellent that is geared specifically toward ticks. The best protection for humans is to use a tick repellent with DEET as the main ingredient, but you'll want to limit how much you use to ensure you use these products safely.
What Naturally Keeps Ticks Away for Disease Control?
There are several options for naturally repelling ticks that are safe for humans, and some are even safe for dogs. Apply directly to your exposed skin.
Cedar oil spray will not only drive ticks away, aiding in tick bite prevention, but it will also kill ticks when sprayed directly on them. Eucalyptus and neem oil are also both great insect repellents, but they are only safe for your dog if you dilute them with water.
Regular consumption of garlic will cause the body to secrete an odor that ticks cannot stand. This method is not safe for your dog.
Additionally, lemon eucalyptus oil can be used as a natural way to prevent tick bites.
What Is the Best Way To Avoid Ticks?
Using insect repellents specifically designed for ticks as well as wearing the appropriate clothing, like long pants, is the best tick bite prevention. You'll want to follow the label instructions for reapplying the insect repellent as it wears off due to exposure to things like rain and your body's sweat.
What Kind of Clothing and Gear Will Keep Ticks Off You?
When you're out in the woods, it's important to dress appropriately to avoid and prevent bites of ticks and tick-borne diseases. The first thing you need to do is wear light-colored clothing so that you can easily see the ticks. You'll also want to wear long pants tucked into your socks. This will prevent ticks from getting onto your legs.
You can also apply pesticides to your clothing. Permethrin-treated clothing is a great method of protection against ticks. This chemical doesn't just work as a repellent. It also kills ticks.
Can Ticks Bite through Clothes?
It is possible to receive tick bites through your clothing if you haven't dressed appropriately for your outdoor adventure. They can bite through very light clothing. While you should be fine with lightweight materials, it's best to avoid mesh and fabrics of a similar thickness. In addition to tucking your pant legs into your socks, you'll want to tuck your shirt into your pants to cover up as much bare skin as possible.
What To Do When You Find Ticks in the Home?
It is possible to have an indoor infestation of ticks, and you'll need to deal with this as soon as possible. The first step is to declutter everything, especially the floor.
Any clothes you suspect of having ticks need to go straight into the washing machine. Wash them in hot water and dry them on high heat.
Next, clean your house thoroughly, vacuuming every crevice, corner, and piece of furniture. Don't forget to empty the vacuum outside.
Then you will need to dust your house with a pesticide. This will kill any remaining adult ticks as well as the eggs and larvae.
Finally, treat any indoor pets for ticks. There are many options for tick prevention available. You'll need to check your pet for any signs of tick bites or live ticks. Remove a tick immediately if you see one.
How Do I Avoid Ticks and Create a Tick-Free Zone around my House?
The main way to create a tick-free zone around your home is to keep your own yard well-manicured. Well-mown lawns will keep the tick habitat far away from your home. You'll need to separate this area from the woods with a thick tick barrier made of wood chips or bark.
What Should I Do After Returning from a Tick Habitat?
The risk of getting Lyme disease increases the longer ticks stay embedded. You'll need to find any ticks that are on you as soon as possible. So when you are returning from a potential tick-filled area, you will need to first take a hot shower or bath within two hours of coming indoors. Next, you and your family will need to do thorough tick checks.
Make sure you do a tick check on places that you wouldn't normally look, like your belly button, your hairline, and your groin area. They'll go almost anywhere on your body, especially if it is a warm spot.
Don't forget to check your pets as well. They're more likely to have picked up a tick or two along the way because they don't wear protective clothing as we do.
If you find any unattached ticks, immediately flush them down the toilet. For those that are already embedded, you'll need to follow the directions on how to safely remove them.
Make sure you tumble dry clothes on high heat following a wash in hot water to remove any ticks that may have been left on your clothing. Don't just put the clothes in the hamper.
How to Remove and Avoid Ticks
After the potential tick exposure, you did, in fact, find an attached tick. Now it's time for tick removal. The most important thing you can do is to stay calm. There are several commercial options for tick removal devices available, but honestly, you don't need them. A pair of fine-tipped tweezers will work just fine, and you probably already have them in your house.
Using the tweezers, grip the tick right next to your skin. Pull upward with even-handed pressure to remove the whole tick. Do not use a jerking or twisting motion to remove the ticks to avoid leaving the mouth parts behind in the skin. If this does happen, attempt to remove the parts with the tweezers. If you cannot get them out, leave them alone, letting the skin heal.
Once you have removed it, wash the bite site as well as your hands with alcohol and soap, and water. You should never crush a tick with any part of your hands. Instead, you can dispose of it by flushing it, placing it in alcohol, or wrapping it in tape.
You must not follow the old wives' tales remedies that suggest the use of nail polish, petroleum jelly, or a hot match. Your goal is to get the insect out as quickly as possible to prevent the spread of Lyme disease or other diseases.
Identify the Tick Bites and Seek Treatment if Necessary
When you find a tick during routine tick checks, it's important to keep it if you start showing signs of an illness such as Lyme disease. You can store it in a container of alcohol, which will also immediately kill it. In the unfortunate event that you do start to show symptoms, you can take the container with you to the doctor.
What Role Do Deer and Mice Play in the Life Cycle of Lyme Disease?
When ticks feed off rodents infected with Lyme disease, they, too, become infected. A typical source of Lyme disease is the white-footed mouse, making animals like the mouse reservoirs for the disease. Deer ticks usually feed off these small rodents in the first year of their life to gain the nutrients necessary for their growth.
Then they feed on feed on deer to gain the nutrients necessary for laying eggs. Deer are not carriers of Lyme disease, and they do not pass it to ticks. In the Lyme disease cycle, they function as the reproductive hosts.
How Do I Keep Deer and Rodents Away from My Property?
One of the best methods of disease control around your home is to prevent rodents and deer from coming close. Bird seed attracts mice, so you'll only want to use feeders in the fall and winter months. You'll also need to put up deer fencing to keep the deer out of your yard.
You'll also need to keep your stonewalls and woodpiles away from the home and areas where your children play, keeping brush, tall grass, leaf litter, or weeds away from them.
Ticks are dangerous little creatures that can spread horrible infections like Lyme disease. Prevention is the best method for staying safe. This includes wearing the right clothes, using the best repellent, and keeping your yard maintained.
If you do find you've been bitten, ensure you slowly remove the embedded tick so that you do not leave any parts behind.