Pumpkins are everywhere and people are picking out their costumes. Fall is in full swing but there’s one part of summer that’s still hanging on: ticks.
Our warm autumn weather means that ticks like the American Dog Tick, Deer Ticks, Black Legged Ticks, and the Lone Star Tick are still active and even breeding. Tick bites can spread tick-borne diseases at any time of year, but right now—when we’re out enjoying the last warm days hiking and playing outside—they have a better-than-average chance of latching on.
When a tick uses its mouthparts to feed it can transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme, as well as several types of parasites and viruses, so it’s important to remove a tick as soon as you see it on you. Generally speaking, a tick must be attached for 36 hours to transmit Lyme disease so it’s important to remove them as soon as you see them. If you find a tick, use tweezers to grasp the head as close to the skin as possible and pull straight out.
Ticks love wooded areas and the female tick lays her eggs in leaf litter. So while it may be tempting to jump in that big pile of leaves you’ve just raked up, consider that there could be hundreds, or thousands, of tick nymphs living inside.
To keep the tick population at bay keep your grass trimmed, clear fallen leaves as soon as possible, and keep a 3-foot barrier of wood chips or gravel between your lawn and wooded areas. Without these barriers, adult ticks have no problem traveling to all corners of your yard.
When outdoors, if possible, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts to keep ticks off of your skin. For extra protection, you can treat your clothing with Permethrin or use a spray with DEET to help repel ticks and other biting insects.
When you get back inside be sure to do a full-body check especially:
- Under the arms
- In and around the ears
- Inside the belly button
- Back of the knees
- In and around the hair
- Between the legs
- Around the waist
By following these steps you’ll have a much better chance of avoiding tick bites and having a safer and happier fall!