Ticks (acarina) belong to the spider family and are active year round, even after a frost. Blood is their only source of food, and they feed by latching on to a host–human or animal—which can then lead to transmitting diseases from one host to the next. To find their hosts, ticks use sensory organs in their legs to detect body odor, body heat, and breath. Some ticks can even detect a host’s shadow.
While they can’t jump, they can be patient as they wait in the grass, ready to climb onto a passing host. Some ticks attach quickly, while others crawl around searching for thinner skin—like the neck or ear. Unlike mosquitoes, ticks are slow to begin eating. Once they find a spot, they grasp the skin, make a small hole, and insert a tiny feeding tube. They can feed for several days before dropping off their host and entering a dormant phase.
Tick Signs and Symptoms
Ticks prefer to wait for you in dark, damp, shady wooded and grassy areas. They can be found along the perimeter of a yard, or where cropped grass meets the taller brush of an adjacent field or forest.
Ticks can be difficult to detect. Depending on the type of tick, you can catch them feeding and remove them carefully. While their initial bites are painless, the site can later become inflamed, itchy, or even painful. Other symptoms of a tick bite include a rash, fever, or aches and pains.
There are ways for you to keep your lawn healthy and free of places for ticks to hide. Regular lawn maintenance—including mowing, weeding, and clearing leaves—helps to keep ticks from your yard. Arrange outdoor furniture and playground equipment away from the edge of your yard or tree line where ticks like to live. Build and maintain a sturdy fence to keep out unwanted animals that could be carrying ticks, such as deer, possum, raccoons, and stray dogs.
Acaricides, or tick pesticides, are easy to use and can be effective in ridding your yard of ticks. You only need a small amount of acaricide applied at the right time of year—typically May or June to control the ticks most likely to transmit Lyme disease, and then another application in early fall can be used to control adult blacklegged ticks. The lawn care professionals at Cardinal Lawns can help you plan and carry out the appropriate applications to help keep your family and pets safe.
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