Years ago, tick bites and Lyme disease were not common occurrences. Nowadays, ticks can easily find their way into our backyards – even if you don’t live near a wooded property. As more natural areas are developed, humans have increasing contact with small rodents, like mice, who are a perfect carrier of ticks and diseases. Unfortunately, this problem isn’t going away anytime soon. Still, there are many methods of tick control you can employ to protect yourself, your family, and your pets from these harmful critters.
Types Of Ticks Found In Massachusetts
Before we discuss how to keep ticks away, you should know what you’re dealing with. There are three species of ticks in our state.
Lone Star Ticks
This type of tick is not as common as the other two we’ll discuss, but since it is present in Massachusetts, why not be aware of it? Lone Star ticks are reddish-brown with a white spot on their back which inspired their name. While you’re not as likely to encounter them, their bites can actually cause you to have allergic reactions when eating red meat. It’s called Alpha-gal syndrome, and it’s caused when the tick passes a sugar molecule called alpha-gal into a human’s bloodstream through their bite.
These ticks are also known as black-legged ticks. Of the three tick species in Massachusetts, this one is probably the worst. Deer ticks are active year-round, so long as the temperature is above freezing. And unlike other ticks, even their nymphs can bite. They are also the ticks that carry Lyme disease. If that’s not bad enough, they can also transmit babesiosis and human granulocytic anaplasmosis.
American Dog Ticks
These ticks can potentially carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Dog ticks are reddish-brown and are larger than deer ticks. In fact, deer ticks are about the size of a freckle, while dog ticks are as large as a watermelon seed.
How To Prevent Ticks In Massachusetts
Think Like A Tick
Blood-feeding insects like fleas and ticks often get lumped together because they live in similar areas and can easily be transmitted to humans. However, knowing what makes a tick tick – pun intended – can help you know where you might encounter them and thus avoid them. Tick nests need to be close to food sources because they can’t jump as fleas can. Instead, they hold onto plants and wait for a food source to brush against them. Then they let go and grab the unlucky animal or person.
Some common places where tick nests can be are:
- Ornamental grass beds or neglected lawns
- The undersides of decks and porches
- Shaded areas of your lawn
Now, we’re not suggesting you remove your child’s treehouse or chop down lovely landscaping. Just be aware as we enter tick season in Massachusetts. Clean it with disinfectant a few times a season. And if you’re thinking: I don’t hang out under my porch, why should I worry? Well, you don’t, but your pet might. That’s why having a professional tick control application is so important. Your lawn care technician has the knowledge to seek out all the areas where ticks love to hide. And speaking of pets:
Inspect Pets After They’ve Been Outdoors
Give your pets a brushing with a flea comb after being outside, and be sure to check between the pads of their paws. This an area that often goes overlooked. It’s easy for ticks to hide there and multiply.
Use Bug Spray
Bug spray is not just for mosquitoes. You can find decent over-the-counter bug spray that will also help repel ticks. Look for something with 25 – 30% DEET as it is a safe but effective substance.
Practice Regular Lawn Maintenance
Ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, and other insects like shade. By sticking to a good lawn care regimen, you will keep your yard looking its best and discourage bugs from moving in.
Wear Protective Clothing
As much as possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when going outdoors near tall grass, woods, swamps, or doing extensive yard work. Ticks need to bite exposed skin, so covering up is a simple way to protect yourself. The same holds true for mosquitoes as well, so by protecting yourself from one pest problem, you can kill two birds with one stone.
Get Professional Help
All of the above are good methods of tick prevention, but if you want to get rid of ticks – not just repel them – the absolute best thing you can do is call professional lawn care and pest control service like Sea of Green. Our tick control application will kill existing bugs and prevent future ones. You’ll have peace of mind all season long, and you won’t have to cover yourself in gross-smelling bug spray.
Protect Your Family From Ticks – Call Sea of Green Lawn Care
Sea of Green Lawn Care can protect your family from a variety of pests. We offer perimeter pest control and a tick and mosquito control service for Newburyport and the surrounding area. We’re pleased to use mostly organic products for our tick program, so your yard is not exposed to strong chemicals.
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