Scrubbing toilets and washing windows may be priorities when it comes to home maintenance, but focusing on the exterior and surrounding landscaping of your house is also important. While you may not pay much attention to the insects and small pests in your lawn, shrubs, and trees, understanding the dangers of these critters is smart. Considering an estimated 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported each year, preventing ticks from making your yard a home is essential. Using this guide, you will understand the dangers of ticks and learn the best options for prevention.
Although seeing one or more ticks on your dog or cat is common, you may not realize how dangerous these pests can be to your pets, children, and home. When a tick makes contact with the skin of your pet or a family member, it will latch on, biting and sucking to feed its hunger. Unfortunately, a tick bite can also transmit various infections and disease. If you or a family member has been bitten by a tick, you may experience the following symptoms:
- red spot/rash
- discomfort/stiffness in neck
- joint/muscle pain
The symptoms are not always associated with the transmission of an illness or disease, but they can often be early signs of Lyme disease, requiring antibiotics and other medical care in severe cases. Ticks may also carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and ehrlichiosis, a bacterial infection.
Preventing Ticks at Home
Tall grasses, shrubbery, trees, pine needles, and grass are appealing places for ticks to make their homes. Of course, removing the landscaping around your home's exterior is not always feasible solution. However, mowing your lawn each week during peak seasons is smart for keeping the grass trimmed.
Remove any piles of grass clippings, leaves, and mulch to decrease the possibility of ticks gathering in this debris. Make sure stacks of wood are neatly stored in a dry environment. Remove old lumber, broken pieces of furniture, and other yard debris that may contain moisture.
Also, avoid planting flowers and shrubs that deer find appealing, since deer will often carry ticks through wooded areas. Do not add perennials such as geraniums and candy lily to your landscape. Berry-producing shrubs should also be avoided, since these plants attract deer and other wildlife that may be carrying ticks.
Here are a few tick-repelling plants to consider for your landscape:
- Sage—Plant sage in flower beds and pots around your home. Sage plants have a distinct aroma that repels ticks and other insects.
- Lemon Grass—Ticks and most other insects do not find the lemony aroma of this plant appealing, so incorporate this fragrant and lush plant in your landscape design.
- Peppermint—Known for its flavor and calming odor, peppermint is a great addition to any landscape. This natural tick and flea repellent will be a favorite around your home due to its flavorful aroma.
Even if you keep your yard clean, tidy, and in good condition, your dog or cat may bring in ticks from outside. Thankfully, proper care of your pets can reduce the risk of a tick infestation inside the home.
While surprising to learn, many flea medications do not offer protection against ticks. Consult your pet's veterinarian to learn which medications prevent both fleas and ticks.
Bathe your pet regularly and use the time to inspect it for signs of ticks. If one is found, use tweezers to grab the tick off your pet. Make sure to grab the end of the tick closest to your pet's skin. Pull the tick in one motion, ensuring the entire tick is removed. Place the tick in a lidded container with rubbing alcohol, which will kill the tick. Clean the bite on your pet's skin with antiseptic.
Ticks may not seem like dangerous pests, but they can wreak havoc on your home and health. Using this guide and the help of pest control specialists, your home and outdoor spaces will be free of ticks. If you feel you have a tick problem in your area, contact a professional from a company like A-Alert Exterminating Service Inc to set up an appointment.