Here in the South, we love the great outdoors. There are so many places to explore in North Georgia, especially when the weather is nice, and outdoor fun can make for a great day or weekend. But while we’re exploring and adventuring, we always have to watch out for pests that can bite us or our pets.
One pest in particular has a nasty reputation: ticks. Ticks can bring us particularly severe ailments like Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease. Not only that, but it can be uncomfortable when they bite us and they can be difficult to remove from our skin. It’s easy to see why we consider them among the worst offenders of the pest world. Thankfully, being in the know about these pesky creatures and being prepared to deal with them should we come across them can help a lot.
How to Spot Ticks
The tick species that are most common in North Georgia are the deer tick and the dog tick, and each species carries a risk of infecting people and animals with different diseases. Adult ticks can be pretty small—about the size of a sunflower seed—and have eight legs, while larvae can be even smaller, with only six legs. Ticks don’t jump or fly, but they can attach to skin, fur, or clothing. They crawl well, so a tick can make its way from the ground further up your body pretty quickly.
Ticks thrive in wooded areas and places that have a lot of grass, leaves, or bushes, so you might see ticks in your own backyard as well as on trails and campsites. They’re most active from April to September, so you may see them anytime through the spring and summer.
If you’ve been outside recently, especially in the woods, you should check yourself, your kids, and your pets for ticks. The most common places you might find a tick on your body is around the ears or hair, under arms, inside the belly button, between the legs or behind the knees, and around the waist and torso area. You should examine your gear and clothing, as well as your pets. You can toss clothing into the dryer on high heat for about 10 minutes to kill any ticks that may be on them.
How to Remove Ticks
If you see a tick on yourself, your child, or your pets, the most important thing to remember is not to panic. Any diseases on ticks take about 36 hours to travel out of the tick and into the host, and chances are you’ve caught the tick long before that 36-hour period has taken place. That 36-hour window also helps reinforce why spotting a tick quickly is key.
There are plenty of old wives’ tales concerning tick removal, some involving extreme measures like kerosene or lit cigarettes, but the most effective way to remove a tick is with tweezers. Just grab the tick with the tweezers and pull hard to remove it. It’s important to ensure you get the tick’s head out of your skin, so be sure to check that after you remove it. It will likely be fully alive once you pull it out, so be sure to squash it thoroughly before tossing it out.
How to Prevent Ticks and Tick Bites
The good news about ticks is that they generally don’t infest houses, so you’re not likely to have to deal with them indoors. Instead, you’re most likely to encounter them outdoors. But how do you prevent tick bites when you’re in the woods? If you’re on a long hike, dress appropriately, with long sleeves and pants in light colors that make identifying ticks easier. If you’re outdoors in short sleeves and shorts, checking yourself, your kids, and your pets regularly is the best way to prevent tick bites. You can also use bug spray to try to prevent tick bites, although not all tick repellants are safe for younger kids.
A few simple yard maintenance tips can also help you minimize ticks around the house:
- Keep your grass cut. Shorter grass creates a drier environment in your yard, which means that ticks are less likely to thrive there because they prefer damp, shady places. You’ll find that ticks are easier to spot in short grass as well.
- Mulch the perimeter of your yard. A three-foot wide barrier of mulch creates a berm between the lawn and the woods, keeping ticks away and reminding your family and visitors to be more careful once they’ve moved outside the border.
- Trim the weeds. Ticks can climb taller grass and weeds to look for opportunities to feed, so keeping the weeds around your yard trimmed gives them fewer observation spots and makes it more difficult for them to attach themselves to your family or pets.
- Keep leaves blown or raked. Ticks like habitats that fallen leaves or cut grass can provide, so if you blow or rake your leaves and grass clippings away from the house, you’re less likely to see ticks in your yard.
If you have a persistent problem with ticks, it may be time to call for professional help. No matter where you live in the areas around Monroe, Loganville, and Athens, there’s one name you can trust to solve your tick problems: Pest Force.
We’re a local, family-owned company with service at the forefront of our philosophy. You can count on our friendly and professional staff to treat you right and handle any tick infestation at a price you’ll love.
Give Pest Force a call today to help you enjoy your yard and have peace of mind all summer long.