Checking for Ticks
The weather is warming up which means it’s prime time for outside activities. Among the fun that can be had in the great outdoors there are also some concerns. One being TICKS. Ticks are found in high vegetation areas, usually in tall grass. They await a host (human, dog, deer, etc) that they can latch on to and consume a blood meal. Checking for ticks is important if you’ve recently spent time outside.
Ticks have 4 life stages, egg, larva, nymph, and adult. To go from one life stage to another they have to get blood from a host. Most ticks need 3-4 hosts to complete their life cycle.
Once a tick is fully engorged, weighing 200-600 times what it did before the meal, they drop off the host, digest, molt, and then find another host to feed off of.
Ticks bites can cause irritation to the skin of people and pets. In some instances they can cause allergic reaction, transfer Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. If you, your kids, or your pets have spent time outdoors it is important that you thoroughly check for ticks on the body, especially the hair.
For more information on ticks:
Dr. Goo's Corner: Ticks
Tick Prevention from the EPA
They don’t call him Man’s Best Friend for no reason. Dogs, and cats (we can’t forget our beloved cats) are truly part of the family. We treat them and take care of them just as we would any other member of the family. That’s why it is important that we protect them from outdoor pests that can cause serious health risks to our furry friends. Ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes are all predicted to make a heavy appearance this season as the weather warms up.
Ticks are most commonly found on our pets. Ticks can carry Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and cause tick paralysis.
Fleas can cause itchy, red bumps that cause animals to scratch. Fleas are also easily brought into the home where they can invade your living space and reproduce. Fleas can cause anemia, skin issues, and even tapeworms for our pets.
Heartworms and West Nile Virus are some of the more serious issues that come along with mosquitoes. A bite can manifest into a full heartworm in 6-7 months in a dog, and 8 months in a cat.
Keep your pets healthy by following some of these tips to controlling ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes:
- Regularly scheduled pest control service in and around your home will help keep pests away that can cause risks to your pets. (Call Northwest Exterminating for our NorPest Green Pest Control service. Our program is kid and pet friendly while keeping the bugs away. Our Green Mosquito Program also keeps mosquitoes away while using Earth friendly solutions.)
- Check your dog and cat on a regular basis. Check for excessive scratching, bumps, fleas, and ticks.
- Keep vegetation cut and trimmed.
- Bathe pets regularly.
- Remove standing water in yard where mosquitoes breed.
- Vacuum frequently.
- Ask your veterinarian about Flea and Tick prevention and heartworm prevention.
Contact Northwest Exterminating if you think you have a problem with fleas, ticks, or mosquitoes. Keep your pets healthy!
We know that bugs are gross and unsanitary but did you also know that they can be bad for our health. WebMD discusses some of the worst bugs and the potential harm they can do to our health:
- Ticks –Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and allergic reactions.
- Black Widow Spiders – Poisonous.
- Brown Recluse Spiders – Poisonous, can cause serious wounds, infection, and in some cases can be deadly.
- Head Lice – Itchiness can lead to infection, loss of hair.
- Fleas – Itchiness can lead to infection.
- Bee, Wasp, Hornet, Yellow Jacket – Painful sting, and can cause allergic reaction.
- Fire Ants – Painful sting, venomous, red bumps that burn and itch, and can cause allergic reaction.
- Chiggers – Itchy red welts.
- Scabies – Itchiness, sores.
- Bedbugs – Itchy, red bumps, can develop infection from scratching, and can cause allergic reaction.
- Puss Caterpillar – Poisonous, painful sting, rash, fever, vomiting, and muscle cramps.
- Scorpions – Poisonous, painful, and can be deadly.
- Deerflies – Infection, and Tularemia.
- Mosquitoes – West Nile virus, dengue fever, other diseases, and scratching can cause skin infection.
- Houseflies – Carries more than 1 million bacteria, intestinal infections by contaminating food.
- Cockroaches – Salmonella and other diseases, dead carcasses can trigger allergic reactions and asthma.
Tips to prevent feeling the sting of these health issues:
- Make sure your home is treated by a professional exterminator. A professional can diagnose current problems, and prevent new issues from coming into your home efficiently and effectively.
- Wear long clothing when outdoors.
- Wear DEET repellant when outdoors.
- Keep a clean, sanitary home and yard. This will prevent insects from seeing your home as a place for them to call home.
For more information on these insects and their health hazards, visit WebMD: Bad Bugs Slideshow: Identifying Bugs and Their Bites.
If you think you may have been bitten or stung by any of the insects above, please take note of your body’s reaction and seek medical assistance immediately.
Disclaimer: The following are general guidelines to follow and do not constitute medical advice
Ticks like to “hang out” in low lying shrubs, bushes or plants waiting for animals to come by to supply them with the blood meal that will help them complete their life cycle. Ticks then climb on the animal or human and attach themselves to obtain the blood from their victims. In the process they inject saliva and suck blood from the host, much like mosquitoes.
In general, most tick bites do not transmit disease. More commonly they are associated with infection around the site of the bite, local irritation, allergic reaction, or the cause of retained mouth parts when the tick is removed. The sooner you can remove the tick, the less likely they are to transmit diseases, so get them off quickly!
How to remove a tick
Most of the time, a pair of tweezers and slow, gentle, upward pressure will get rid of the tick. Burning the tick off may not work and may cause a burn to the patient. For a nice diagram and instructions please see the CDC website about how to remove a tick:
If there are retained parts, please see your doctor so they can recommend options for getting the head out or letting it come out on its own.
Tick Borne Diseases
There are some serious diseases associated with tick bites. Usually they are associated with fever, feeling ill, and a rash. A few of the more common illnesses are: Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme Disease, Erlichiosis, and Tularemia. Please contact your doctor immediately if you develop a rash, fever, or are feeling sick after a tick bite.
To avoid ticks, know where to expect them and use a bug repellant. Ticks live in areas that are grassy or near woods. They are often found in bushes and shrubs and can become a big problem when grass is too high. A bug repellant, such as DEET, can protect you for several hours.
If you find ticks on you, someone in your household, or a household pet, call Northwest Exterminating to speak to someone about a way to get rid of ticks.