Ticks: Some ways to keep the ticks away.
Some of you as children did not hear of these little pests. Mostly because the deet sprayed everywhere helped kill them off...and other creatures you don't really want to harm.
These eight legged small arachnids in the order Parasitiformes live off the blood of Living creatures. They attach themselves to the skin and burrow their head in order to get their food. They hang out on their porch by hanging on with their hind legs and have their front legs outstretched patiently waiting for something to brush by. They then move around until they find a spot they like and attach. They do not jump or fly like some mistakingly believe but wait. I commend them for their patience if not for anything else.
Now their are a few different types of ticks, being from Maine I am going to focus on dog ticks and deer ticks. Of the two ticks I really want to focus on the Deer tick, since the Dog tick does attach and drink your blood but does not give you a disease.
Some ticks are carriers of disease, especially the deer tick. They are not born with the disease though and do not acquire disease until After their larval stage. A deer tick for instance has three stages; larval, nymph, and adult. They feed once during each of these three stages so they have three chances to get the Lyme disease. They have to feed on something that already has the disease.
You can't completely avoid ticks, they are to prevalent. You can however help keep in mind where they are and what you can do to avoid them as much as possible and still be able to enjoy the outdoors.
If you keep in mind the areas they like to live, or even what likes to eat them you can be aware of what you are looking for and take the steps needed to at least avoid attachment of these pesky nuisances.
Tick avoidance: habitat
Ticks like to lay in wait for you. They live in areas where they can best be brushed up against and grab hold of you. For this they primarily like low hanging branches, tall weeds and dry brush. Deer ticks especially like shade and humidity. Dog ticks are not so picky as long as they have something to hang on to.
This can easily be remedied by the following:
- Mow your lawn. This gives the ticks less weeds to cling onto. The dog tick is your biggest culprit on your lawn but you will get a deer tick especially if your lawn is in a shady area. Mowing your lawn also helps keep down the wild animal population who like to eat the weeds you just chopped up, which cuts down on the animals bringing the ticks to your yard.
- Make a perimeter around your yard. If you make a three foot wide perimeter of mulch or gravel it acts like a barrier around your yard. This might not keep all the tick away but it will be a good reminder that their are more ticks past your barrier. You could also turn some of the perimeter into a garden to make it look more welcoming. You can just stretch out the mulch more.
- Trim low hanging branches. Ticks like to cling onto branches and grab a ride onto anything passing them by. If you trim any branches that have potential to be brushed up against then you are less likely to get ticks. This works well on any trails you have in your woods also.
- Rake up your yard. Rake up your leaves and loose brush. Pretty much rake up anywhere you think you or someone might be walking or running around. Ticks love dry or moist brush. They find dead brush a very hospitable environment to hang out in. Plus your yard will look so much better all raked up.
This will help you keep track of ticks. It certainly will not eradicate them but it will give you piece of mind, and give you less ticks to find.
Tick avoidance: animals
Are you distraught because the frost did not go deep enough into the dirt to kill off the ticks last winter? The frost needs to go at least six inches down to do any harm to these little critters. Not only that they can also travel on animals during one of their feast stages to be deposited in your area. A very unwelcome gift. Your pets can also bring them right to you. Isn't that great! If only something could eat them.
Ticks are such pesky unwanted things you wrack your brain for something that will make them go away. Well that is not really possible safely at this time but you can keep them down in number by keeping control of the animals around you.
- When your pets go outside to attend to nature and run around in prevalent tick locations just give them a good once over when they come in. A tick does not attach right off. They crawl around for a bit first. So checking your pet over and finding the ticks will help get rid of them. Also who wants the dog to give himself a good scratch and cast a tick or two onto your couch? When I find a tick not attached I just rip it in half. When it is attached I use tweezers, you want to get the head out so pinching it with tweezers and pulling it out is the best solution. using anything else you take a chance of having the tick throw up anything in its system before it backs out on its own.
- Certain animals are good carriers for ticks. Mice are primary specimens that both carry them and might even be the reason why deer ticks have Lyme disease. Keeping brush piles out of your yard along with wood piles and anything critters like to live in will help keep them away. With animals who like to travel to your gardens you can add plants that they do not like or put up fences. This might keep the rabbits, deer, and woodchucks away.
- Any insect eating creature will eat ticks. The most prevalent being fowl, Primarily Guinea Fowl. (African fowl that looks like a partridge, with a sort of turkey head.). Guinea fowl eat primarily bugs. They will snap at any insect within their area killing off anything in the vicinity.