Sunny and beautiful spring days have seemed a bit hard to come by in New England this year, with cold and damp weather ruling the day. Unfortunately that’s not great news when it comes to our tick population, which thrives in the dampness and is less active in the dry, hot weather. 2017 promises to be a banner year for these pests – which means the diseases they carry pose an added concern for all of us. When it comes to the most common one – Lyme disease – the recent surge of cases has sparked a lot of awareness and some rumors, too. So how do we separate fact from fiction when it comes to tick-borne illness, and how we can best protect ourselves?
First, some basic facts about ticks and Lyme:
- Ticks aren’t born carrying Lyme disease; they contract it from animals they feed off of, and then spread it to other animals and people through bites.
- Ticks are most likely to infect people when they are at the nymph stage, when they’re the size of a poppy seed, and their bite is painless. In fact, some studies report that only about 30% of people diagnosed recall ever getting a tick bite.
- Contrary to popular belief, not all people infected with Lyme get the tell-tale bulls eye rash! So it’s important not to rely on that visual cue to determine your risk.
- The most common early symptoms of Lyme include flu-like feelings (achy, feverish, nauseated); painful or swollen joints; feeling light headed; feeling especially stiff in the head and neck area; and shooting pains in limbs.
So how can you best protect yourself and your family from tick exposure? Our experienced teams at Freedom Pest Control can come to your home and assess your risk. And there are also preventive steps you can take on your own right now:
- Cut your lawn. Ticks like hanging out in the cool long grass, waiting for a person or animal to latch onto.
- Move leaf, wood, and mulch piles. These are other favorite spots for ticks to hide and breed. Bag up the leaves, get rid of extra mulch, and keep wood piles off the ground and away from the house.
- Keep deer and rodents away. Ticks don’t usually move by themselves, but rather hitch a ride typically with mice, rats, and deer. Deter rodents by moving any bird feeders out to the perimeters, where any tasty seeds that drop are well away from the house. If you live near an especially high deer population, consider installing a deer fence; alternatively, dot the property with patches of fragrant lavender and herbs that help mask the scent of shrubs that deer love to nibble on, like azaleas, fruit trees, berry bushes, and clematis. Stone walls are a magnet for mice to hide in – so if you’re thinking of building one, consider alternatives.
Want more information? We’re here to help! Call us anytime at 888-974-3902, or chat with a live representative on our website!Tags: bulls eye rash, deer fence, lawn, Lyme Disease, Ticks