Enjoying nature in summer can come with some dangers such as tiny blood-sucking ticks. There is usually a surge in tick-borne diseases in the summer.  They are known to carry various diseases, including Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tularemia.

Find out in this easy to use guide how to prevent bites before they occur and make sure you have tick free summer.

  1. Avoid Tick Habitats
  • It is best to avoid walking through wooded, overgrown areas where ticks nest and go “questing”—waiting for passing hosts on which to feed.
  • While keeping to well-trodden and marked trails is important, it is not a guarantee of safety. Ticks are known to hang out near highly frequented areas too, so you should steer clear of tall grasses by the side of trails, where ticks can easily climb aboard.

 

  1. Tick-Proofing Your Yard
  • Keeping your lawn mowed and tidy can help to lower your risk of tick bites at home.
  • If your yard is close to a wooded area, meadow, or taller grasses, create a tick barrier using mulch or gravel to prevent ticks from traveling into your yard.
  • Because mice transfer Lyme disease to ticks, make sure you don’t have mice nests in or around your home.
  • Deer also carry ticks, so install a deer fence to protect your garden—and your family and pets—from these blood-sucking bugs.

 

  1. Properly Dressed
  • While working outdoors or hiking or camping, wearing the correct clothing to stave off ticks is key.
  • You should wear loose-fitting layers that cover your arms and legs.
  • Light-coloured clothing is best, because it enables you to spot a tick—which looks like a dark speck—more easily.
  • Also, look for special clothing treated with tick and insect repellent.

 

  1. Pants in Socks
  • While ticks cannot fly or jump, they do wait in grass and bushes for unsuspecting hosts to pass by.
  • If going hiking or camping wear pants instead of shorts to minimise exposure.
  • Always tuck your pant legs into your socks. You can even duct-taping the top of your socks over your pants or leggings to keep ticks out.

 

  1. Chemical Repellent
  • There are a few chemicals that can assist in repelling ticks. Examples of these are DEET, permethrin, and picaridin. Repellents that use DEET have caused some concern over health risks, but if used correctly, this chemical is considered the gold standard for preventing tick and mosquito bites—and cutting down on the risk of disease.
  • If you’d prefer not to put chemicals directly on your skin, look for sprays that contain permethrin. This common tick pesticide can be applied to clothing and lasts for months. Be sure to follow product directions for application and maintenance.

 

  1. Keep Tweezers in Your First Aid Kit
  • Ticks latch onto skin, so if you do get bitten by one, it is important to know how to remove the tick safely and completely, without turning, twisting, or crushing it.
  • To do this, you will need tweezers. Keep a pair in your first aid kit —which should be easily accessible in your car.
  • Remove a tick by grasping its head with the tweezers as close to the surface of the skin as possible. Withdraw it slowly and steadily, using a smooth, constant motion.
  • Once it is out, clean the bite area and your hands with soap and water or rubbing alcohol.

 

  1. Shower Immediately
  • If you have been working or playing outdoors, be sure to shower right away when you get home.
  • Showering in hot water within two hours has been shown to reduce the risk of getting Lyme disease and may reduce the risk of other tick-borne diseases too.
  • Showering will also wash away any unattached ticks and give you a chance to do a complete tick check on all areas of your body.

 

  1. Body Check
  • Checking your skin for ticks is essential after you have spent time outdoors, especially in tick-prone areas.
  • To be able to transmit Lyme disease, ticks typically need to be attached to the body for between 48 and 72 hours—but don’t wait that long.
  • Using a handheld or full-length mirror, look for small red bumps (bites) as well as bumps that have a black dot in the middle (where part of the tick remains).
  • Be sure to check the entire body, including in and around ears; under arms; inside the belly button; around the waist; between the legs; behind the knees; and on ankles and feet.
  • Have a friend or family member assist you in checking your hair and scalp, using a fine-tooth comb.

 

  1. Remember Pets, Car, and Gear
  • Ticks can also hitch rides your kids, animals, clothing, camping gear, and even your vehicle can harbor ticks too.
  • For your kids, follow the same precautions as you would for yourself, and make sure to do a full body check and have them shower when they come in from outdoors.
  • If your pets go outside, follow the CDC’s approved methods daily, and ask your vet about tick-control products. Treat gear and clothing with permethrin before you head outdoors to save you and your family from tick bites and infestations later.

 

  1. Heat Is Your Friend
  • Wash your clothing and gear (if possible) in hot water, then tumble dry on high.
  • Washing alone is not enough, clothes need to be machine dried to kill the bugs.
  • Cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks, nor will air-drying or drying on low-heat settings.

 

Contact Sydney’s Best Pest Control for all your pest control needs. Call us on 1300 760 045 or email us using our easy contact us form.