Ticks are tiny critters that attach themselves to the skin of animals to feed on their blood. Their love for blood makes them one the most unpleasant pests to have around. But other than draining you and your pet of your precious blood, ticks also pose a potential health risk to the host they leech off.
These pests can transmit a number of diseases by contaminating the blood of the host with pathogens as they feed. Some of these diseases include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Tick Paralysis, and Lyme disease.
Ticks are tough creatures that can survive for years. These pests lie in wait for extended periods of time for a potential host to come by and then leap onto it. Once the tick gets onto the body, it pierces the host’s skin and burrows its head into the flesh to start feeding. The tick can remain attached to the host for anywhere between a couple of hours to several weeks. Once the tick has had enough, it usually drops off and begins laying eggs.
The symptoms of a tick infestation
The most visible sign of a tick problem is the ticks themselves. Although they are hard to spot before they feed, these parasites grow significantly in size once they start feeding making them pretty easy to find.
Secondary signs include medical symptoms that result from diseases transmitted by ticks. These symptoms will vary and are best diagnosed by a professional medical practitioner.
How to prevent a tick infestation
You can prevent ticks from invading your home by:
- Keeping your yard tidy. Mow your lawn, prune trees and bushes and clear any other unnecessary vegetation on your yard. These provide ticks with a suitable habitat as well as high grounds for them to leap onto hosts from. Also, remove dead leaves and other debris from your yard as these also provide good places for ticks to thrive.
- Store your wood piles properly. Wood piles should be stored in neat stacks in dry locations with ample sunlight to prevent ticks from moving in.
- Keep larger pests away. Pests such as feral animals, birds, and rodents should be kept away from your property as these could introduce smaller pests such as ticks and fleas to your home.
- Inspect your pet often. Furry pets are tick magnets as the parasites can hide in their fur and go undetected for long periods. Run your hands through your pet’s fur to feel for ticks that have already attached themselves and begun feeding.Be careful not to crush the tick as you remove it as this could release harmful fluids into the animal’s blood. Use a tick removing tool to detach the tick safely.
Some of the tick control solutions available include (see Pestrol:
- Pest repelling Dress your pet in pest repelling accessories such as bandanas or vests to keep nasty pests away when you go outdoors. They are effective and safe for your pet.
- Dusting or spraying a pesticide (specifically one that is pyrethrin based) inside your home and on your yard can effectively get rid of all the stubborn ticks around.