Some ticks carry germs that are known to cause disease in humans and pets. In the United States, some of those diseases from ticks include babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Different types of ticks carry different types of diseases. For example, the blacklegged tick can carry babesiosis while the American dog tick can carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Ticks are basically mites that are blood feeders. They require a host for their food. Diseases from ticks can be transmitted to the host, human or animal, after a tick bites the host to feed on its blood. Generally, a tick must remain attached to the host for a period of 24 to 48 hours before the germs that cause diseases from ticks will be transmitted.
An integrated management approach can be used to minimize the number of ticks in the areas around the home that a family uses frequently. Those areas may include walkways, the mailbox, play areas and gardens. An integrated management approach involves taking action to minimize the areas where ticks can hide, and the effective and responsible use of chemicals. Brush areas, woods, groundcover vegetation and the edges of lawns are the highest risk zones.
Actions that can minimize the areas where a tick can hide include the following:
- Remove leaves and leaf litter
Clear brush and tall grass from the edges of the lawn and around the home
- Frequently mow the lawn
Install patios and playground equipment in areas away from the lawn edges and trees
- Remove trash and old furniture from the yard
Chemicals are best applied by a professional pest controllers or exterminators. Simply applying a chemical to a lawn will generally not help the situation much. There are certain times of the year when it is best to spray a chemical to help prevent diseases from ticks. For example, depending on the type of tick that is prevalent in the area and the time of year that type of tick emerges as an adult, the best time to apply a chemical can range from early spring, spring and early summer.
Some chemicals are less effective than others for a particular type of tick. There are also chemicals that are labeled for certain types of ticks and will do nothing to help control other types. Chemicals must be applied at a specific measurement per area of land for the best results. There are many things to consider when applying chemicals. The best way to make sure money is not wasted and that the chemicals are effective is to use a professional pest controller or exterminator. They will know which chemical to use and how to apply it to ultimately help prevent diseases from ticks.