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Tick Infestation

Summary:  Learn how to get rid of a tick infestation before they become a problem for your family.   

Prevention is easier than the cure. To keep Fido from coming home with a painful tick in the corner of his eye or having Johnny bring home Lyme after playing in the yard, keep grass and tall weeds cut short. Ticks need long grass and water to survive and thrive. Long grass is also central to their plan of attack since they cannot fly or jump. Unless an animal or hiker brushes against the grass that harbors them, ticks are unable to travel. Well-mowed lawns are their natural enemy.

Apply pesticides to the edges of your property where you cannot mow. A granular pesticide like Talstar Granules is good for applying around the shady perimeter of a property where ticks like to hide. If you prefer to use a non-toxic material you can appy the Eco Exempt G Granules in the same manner. For treating inside, try the Temprid SC. Read the label and follow the instructions exactly and you will have no problem with being over-exposed to the pesticide. It's misuse that causes problems.

Ticks are masters of disguise hiding in the high grass and weeds in the shade of your yard, just waiting to hitch a ride on an appealing canine or succulent hiker. So, how can you get rid of ticks? First thing, you need to understand their habits.

Ticks are classified as hard or soft ticks depending on whether they have a hard shell and their preferred hosts include dogs, deer, mice, but when their favorites are not available, they may decide to munch on you. Of all tick species, the hard-shelled varieties are most likely to be dangers to you and your pets since most soft-shelled varieties prefer other hosts, such as birds.

Ticks mature through four stages in a complex cycle that begins with an egg, then a six-legged larva, next an eight-legged nymph and ends with the adult tick. During the course of its life the tick commonly feeds on woodland creatures such as mice and rats and it is there that the most dangerous pathogens are obtained. 

Ticks are not insects, but are more closely related to scorpions, and like scorpions. they can be deadly. A partial toll of their depredations includes: Lyme disease, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis, Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness, Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever, tularemia, Colorado tick fever, Powassan encephalitis, and Q fever. At 29,000 cases annually, Lyme disease takes the prize for frequency, although none of these illnesses are any picnic and can cause brain damage and death. Both Q fever and Tularemia rank among the diseases under study as bio-warfare agents.

Since many ticks feast on rodents and pick up dangerous pathogens in their blood, remove sources of food and shelter for mice and rats. No woodpiles where they can hide. No spilled grain.

If people or pets are found with ticks, remove the tick carefully with a tweezers and drop it into an alcohol filled container for identification. Many tick borne illnesses are transmitted only after hours of feeding by the pest, so prompt removal may be enough to avoid problems. Be aware of the tell-tale bulls-eye rash of the most common problem, Lyme disease. Effective treatment will prevent complications later.

Make the environment inhospitable to the tick and the animals that it feasts on during its multistage lifetime, and you can assure that it and the diseases it hosts will go elsewhere.

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