Ticks can hide just about anywhere, which makes controlling and removing them somewhat trick. But the last thing you want to do is avoid treating them; left to their devices, ticks can transfer deadly disease like Lyme disease to humans and pets.
If you've spotted ticks around your property, protect yourself with these tips and keep the parasites from attacking you and your pets:
1. Minimize Vegetation on Your Property
Ticks need to stay hidden in order to discreetly latch onto prey, which is why they thrive in areas with tall grass or dense vegetation. Get rid of their ideal habitat by minimizing the density of grass other plants around your property. Mow your grass regularly and prune the bushes, shrubs, and weeds. Taking these steps not only forces ticks to move on, but also prevents other pests from making it a home as well, such as ants.
2. Treat Wooded Areas with Acaricides
If you live near a forest or heavily wooded area, treat the plants nearest to your home with acaricides, the technical term for pesticides specifically targeted against ticks. They are easy to apply and fairly inexpensive, not to mention highly effective in stopping ticks from advancing closer to your home.
To apply, spray the targeted areas once in the spring and the summer. Don't forget spots where the lawn meets the bottom of trees, fences, and sidewalks, as the crevices found here are ideal for hiding and finding easy prey from people walking by.
Any product labeled as acaricide should feature a symbol of approval from the Environmental Protection Agency. It should also be labeled for area-wide tick control and be clearly designated for general or restricted use with accompanying instructions.
Some of the common brand names for acaricides include: Talstar, Ortho, Sevin, Tempo, and Powerforce.
3. Apply Insect Repellent (On Your Pets, Too)
Before heading outside, apply a DEET-based insect repellent to prevent ticks from choosing you as their host. DEET is the primary ingredient found in most tick repellents sold on the market. It comes in several forms ranging from aerosol can, pump spray bottle, stick, lotion, and cream and is applied directly on the skin and sometimes the clothes.
There are products for repelling ticks on pets as well, and most are available in spray form. Active ingredients include pyrethrin, permethrin, and fipronil, which are common components found in pesticides. Some produces are combined with growth regulators to stop ticks from laying their eggs while hidden amongst pet fur. In addition, collars and powders are other forms of tick repellents for animals.