Understanding Ticks: A Comprehensive Guide
What Are Ticks?
Did you know that ticks, often mistaken for insects, are actually tiny arachnids closely related to mites, spiders, scorpions, and granddaddy longlegs? They pose a health risk by transmitting diseases while feeding on the blood of mammals. While there are around 80 tick species in the United States, only about 12 are of major public health or veterinary concern.
Types of Concerning Ticks
- Black-Legged Ticks:
- Widespread carriers of diseases such as Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and more.
- Lone Star Ticks:
- Also widespread, they can transmit ehrlichiosis ewingii, Heartland virus disease, Tularemia, and other illnesses.
Regardless of the diseases a tick may carry, finding one can be unsettling. Here are effective ways to protect yourself, your pets, and your property:
Protect Your People
Be aware of tick activity in your area and take precautions year-round.
Avoid wooded areas, leaf litter, and high grass; walk in the center of trails.
Use safe and effective repellents on skin and clothing, following product instructions.
Treat clothing and gear with permethrin for added protection.
- Bathe or shower promptly after being outdoors.
- Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks.
- Conduct thorough tick checks on yourself, children, and pets.
- Examine gear and pets, as ticks may hitch a ride into your home
Protect Your Pets
Ticks On Dogs and Cats
Dogs are very susceptible to tick bites and tick-borne illnesses. Vaccines are not available for most of the tick-borne diseases that dogs can get, and they don’t keep the dogs from bringing ticks into your home.
To reduce the chances that a tick will transmit disease to you or your pets, follow these tips:
Use repellent products on pets to prevent tick contact or inhibit feeding.
Groom pets after tick exposure to reduce the risk of ticks entering your home.
Protect Your Property
The single most effective way to reduce ticks in your yard is to apply sprays to the yard perimeter, landscaping beds, or along trails and paths in the woods. Our TickWarriors yard spray uses food-grade ingredients to kill ticks on contact and provide a residual that lasts up to 30 days.
- Apply tick-killing sprays to the yard perimeter, landscaping beds, and wooded areas.
- TickWarriors yard spray, using food-grade ingredients, provides lasting protection.
- Remove leaf litter, clear tall grass, and create barriers to restrict tick migration.
- Stack wood neatly and in a dry area (discourages rodents).
- Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees.
- Maintain a tick-safe zone with frequent lawn mowing and proper yard management.
Got a tick and need it gone?
- Remove a tick as soon as possible with sharp pointed tweezers.
- Grasp the tick at the point where it is embedded into the skin.
- Don’t squeeze or crush the tick but pull it out carefully and steadily.
- Save the tick in a plastic bag for lab testing, and apply antiseptic to the bite area.