Ticks most often live near forests or heavily-wooded areas. These locations have lots of plants and tall grass on which the ticks can wait for a host. Some species require moisture to live while others simply need animals to feed on. Ticks need to be able to reach the height of their host so that they can grab onto it when it walks by.
Ticks climb tall weeds and grass, fences and building walls, waiting for hosts. Other places you might find these pests include shingles, window moldings, piles of leaves, shrubs and stacks of wood. Ticks prefer humid areas; they can’t survive hot, dry conditions.
The most commonly found species of ticks indoors is the brown dog tick. They can survive inside a building but won’t usually enter unless they’ve been carried inside by a pet or on a person’s clothes.
Ticks are arachnids that feed on animal blood through all four stages of their lives: eggs, larvae, nymphs and adults. They attach to clothing, fur or hair and bite through skin to get to blood. Humans are not their primary targets but ticks will frequently attach to people who brush past them in a wooded area.
Hard ticks and soft ticks differ in several ways. Hard ticks have a hard back and often thrive in areas with lots of mammals and lizards. These ticks can live up to about three years but will only feed on a few hosts. Soft ticks live in caves and animal burrows and are more resilient in hot, dry climates. A soft tick feeds quickly on many hosts over a lifetime of up to 16 years.
Tick bites are not usually painful, so a person might not immediately notice that they’ve been bitten. Bite spots will be tiny red marks on arms, legs or less visible areas. While a tick bite is not always dangerous, these pests are known to transmit several dangerous diseases to their hosts. American dog ticks transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever and other species can carry Lyme disease.
If you notice a tick on your skin, the first step is to remove it calmly. Wear gloves and use tweezers to avoid crushing it and squeezing fluids out while it’s still attached. A tick buries its mouthparts into its host’s skin. Grab it with the tweezers as close to your skin as possible and pull it slowly and steadily out. If the mouthparts don’t come out with the body, it’s okay to let the skin heal over them.
Keep the tick in a bag or jar with rubbing alcohol so that a doctor can identify it if you start to develop a fever, rash or other symptoms of an illness.
Ticks can be dangerous to pets and humans because of their tendency to transmit diseases. They’re difficult to notice until you see a bite or feel the symptoms of an illness. It’s important to take preventative measures to keep these pests far away from your home and family.
Call an Aptive professional to ensure that you and your home won’t be the target of ticks. You can also follow our tips to avoid attracting them:
Keep your lawn short. When mowing, bag the grass clippings and rake leaves into piles that you can take to a composting facility away from your home.
Inspect your skin, clothes and your pet every time you return from walking near woods or tall grass for ticks that have attached themselves.
Keep piles of firewood and other landscaping materials away from the walls of your house.
Use a border of mulch to separate your yard from the woods. Mulch will become a hot, dry area that ticks won’t be able to cross easily.
Call your local Aptive branch to discuss a customized tick control plan.
Tick infestations can put you, your family and your pets at risk of catching dangerous illnesses. Count on Aptive Environmental to ensure that your property is protected from these tiny pests.