Labor Day has come and gone and the summer season is quickly coming to an end. This is the time of year where we turn or attention away from summer fun and gear up for another football season (go tigers and gamecocks) as we turn our attention to tailgates, school and fall getaways. While much of the country begins to move into noticeably cooler temps, here in the Carolinas and the CSRA region, the temperatures will remain warm for the foreseeable future, and that means prime breeding ground for ticks.
Whether you are planning a fun weekend getaway to the mountains or a slumber party in the backyard this fall, make sure the outdoor fun remains outdoors with these tick tips from Terminix.
Where Do Ticks Live?
Ticks mostly hang out in wooded or tall grassy areas and thrive in warm, moist conditions. Areas with high humidity, like our service area, are especially comfortable for ticks, especially the five different types of ticks found in the South and Mid-Atlantic United States.
Types of Ticks Found In Our Area
- American Dog Tick (Dermacentor variabilis)
- Blacklegged Tick (Ixodes scapularis)
- Brown Dog Tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus)
- Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum)
- Gulf Coast Tick (Amblyomma maculatum)
Ticks are members of the arachnid family, the same as spiders and live off of blood from mammals. Ticks go through four life stages (egg, larvae, nymph and adult) that each require the tick to feed on blood in order to mature.
Ticks lie in wait in shady, moist and warm areas for a host. Ticks are very patient and can wait for more than a week to attach to a host before beginning their necessary blood meal for survival. Ticks do not embed their entire head into a host, only the mouthparts. To keep the blood from clotting, the tick will inject a clotting agent. Ticks can also stay attached to the same host (mammal) for many days at a time. Once they have fed, they leave the host.
According to the CDC, there are more than 30,000 cases of tick-borne disease reported each year. Babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and Lyme disease are just a few examples of the illnesses caused by tick bites. Symptoms of these diseases may not occur for several days after feeding but can last for many years. There’s even a disease they can transmit that leads to the victim developing a serious allergy to red meat. Yikes! Also, there is a phenomenon called tick paralysis. Some people, and pets, slowly develop paralysis while the tick is feeding. If the tick is not found and removed it will lead to death, but once removed recovery from the paralysis is almost instantaneous. For more information on tick-borne diseases visit the CDC website.
Prevent Being Ticked Off Outdoors With These Tips
- When venturing outdoors, wear pants and long-sleeve shirts to cover as much of your skin as possible from these blood-thirsty pests.
- Use insect repellent that contains DEET to protect any exposed skin.
- Before returning inside, do a thorough body check for ticks. Ticks like to attach themselves to hidden areas like armpits, waistline, behind the ears, and under hair.
- Maintain your yard. Be sure to keep grass cut, bushes trimmed, and remove clutter such as leaf piles as they can all be prime breeding ground for ticks.
- Dogs will get ticks when they venture into certain areas and bring them back home. If you do have dogs be sure to keep them on a veterinary prescribed tick prevention medication. Also, be sure to regularly examine them for ticks and carefully remove them when found.
- If your yard borders a field or wooded area that you suspect has ticks, treating the perimeter of the yard with an appropriate pesticide will help keep them from wandering onto your property. Ask your Terminix professional about this service.
- Wildlife, such as deer, can bring ticks into your yard. Use fencing or other methods to keep them out. Consult with a Terminix wildlife expert for tips on keeping animals out of your yard.
What Should You Do If You Are Bitten By A Tick?
- Once the tick is completely removed with tweezers, wash the affected area with antibacterial soap.
- Place the tick in a small ziplock bag or pill container along with a note of the date it was removed. Keep the tick in the freezer in case symptoms of an illness begin to occur.
- If you begin to experience symptoms such as fever, numbness, muscular or joint pain, chills, or confusion go see your doctor and take the tick with you.
Defend Home Turf With Our New Tick Service
Grossed out yet? Enlist the backing of Terminix with more than 70 years of local expertise defending home turf in the Carolinas and CSRA. Our new Tick Defend system attacks ticks from every angle and begins immediately reducing the tick population in your yard, helping protect you and your family in the process. The best part is it’s backed by the best guarantee in the industry.