Discover the Truth About Ticks, Debunk a Few Myths & Learn How to Protect Yourself Against the Pest
It may not be every bite, but all it takes is the wrong tick bite to make you sick. One important truth about ticks that everyone should be aware of across the country is that these small pests can spread parasites, bacteria, and viruses as they feast on the blood of people and pets.
Tick-borne illnesses include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and plenty of other according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
But there’s a lot of misinformation that is easily spread. Many people don’t understand the truth about how ticks find their prey, how dangerous the pest is, and the optimal ways to eliminate the pest.
The more you know, the safer you and your loved ones will be throughout tick season. Start with debunking nine of the most common myths about ticks and uncovering the truth behind each.
In the past decade or so, the tick population in the New England area has increased exponentially. From Providence, Rhode Island, to Boston, Massachusetts; New Haven, Connecticut, to Nashua, New Hampshire — tick season actually starts earlier than many people expect.
You may already know that as the weather warms up, ticks begin to appear, but how many of these nine tick facts and myths can you guess correctly?
Myth: Burning or Swabbing Ticks with Soap Removes Them More Effectively Than Using Tweezers
When it comes to facts and myths about ticks, proper removal is one of the most common areas of confusion. It’s also among the most problematic issues because removing a tick correctly is an essential step in minimizing your risk of getting sick. The safest, most effective way to remove a tick is with fine-tipped tweezers. Use steady, even pressure, and position the tweezers at the head of the —
right at skin-level before lifting straight up.
Myth: Ticks Jump
Many people mistakenly think that ticks jump from trees onto their victims.
Instead, the pest typically crawls onto people and animals from the edges of grass or brush. The pest can also find their way around the property or into homes by a nuisance wildlife host — like a mouse.
Ticks wait with their front legs sticking out until they can grab onto a host that walks by. The pest will typically crawl up to the necks, heads, or ears of their hosts. The skin in these areas is thinner, making it easier for ticks to feed.
Myth: Tick Season is Limited to the Warmer Months
This tick myth leads to many people being surprised when they find ticks on themselves, pets, or livestock during cool months like March.
In the Northeastern United States, ticks are typically most active from the middle of March through May and from the middle of August through November.
Certain species, such as brown dog ticks, can move indoors during colder months.
Additionally, even though ticks are less active in winter, they can survive under leaves and thick brush. On those occasional warm winter days, ticks can come out of their shelters and look for hosts.
Myth: You Only Have to Worry About Ticks if You’re in the Woods
Sure, ticks live in wooded areas, but those aren’t the only places these tiny pests like to call home.
Ticks are attracted to shady areas like tall grass, leaf piles, dense brush, trash or compost areas, patio furniture, and even playground equipment. People can be bitten after spending time in the woods, but they can also be exposed in suburban and urban areas.
Myth: People Can Feel a Tick Bite
Most tick bites are surprisingly painless. That’s why ticks often remain undetected if you don’t do a thorough body check after being outdoors. People typically don’t feel itching or irritation, making it essential to perform a visual inspection of yourself and loved ones after spending time outdoors. Running your hands over your skin or through your hair is another way to check for ticks.
Myth: Ticks Sense Blood
The truth about how ticks find potential hosts has little to do with blood. They follow the scent of carbon dioxide, which humans and animals breathe out with every breath. Ticks can also detect body odors, moisture, vibrations, and body heat — all of which alert the pests to the presence of a potential host.
Myth: Ticks Are Only One Size
Different tick species come in different sizes, but each species typically goes through three life stages and is a different size at each stage.
Larvae are typically the size of a grain of sand, while nymphs are usually roughly the size of poppy seeds. Adults tend to be closer to the size of apple seeds. Ticks that are substantially larger may have fed recently.
The species of tick will also determine if it is smaller or larger than another species. The American dog tick, when fully grown, will be larger than the lone star tick or the deer tick.
Myth: Deer Ticks Are the Only Ticks to Worry About
Although deer ticks carry and transmit Lyme disease, they aren’t the only ticks that could cause health problems.
For example, the lone star tick, which is moving more pervasively into our region, can cause a dangerous meat allergy called alpha-gal syndrome. Groundhog ticks and blacklegged ticks can carry Powassan disease. The American dog tick and brown dog tick can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Becoming familiar with the ticks that are common in your area and understanding the potential diseases they carry can help you better protect yourself and your loved ones.
Myth: Lyme Disease Always Comes with a Bull’s Eye Rash
Many people with Lyme disease never get the characteristic bull’s eye rash. It’s also possible to get the rash in spots other than where the tick bite occurred.
If someone gets a tick bite but has no sign of a rash after a few days, it could be tempting to think there’s no reason to worry.
However, watching for other early symptoms, including joint pain, fever, facial muscle weakness, and shortness of breath, can paint a more accurate picture. If you think you may have been exposed to Lyme disease, have the tick tested to be sure.
The Truth About Tick Removal & How to Protect Your Property
Ticks are a threat throughout the New England region. The biggest danger is that you or someone you love, including pets or livestock, could end up with a tick-borne illness.
Removing a tick immediately is important, but prevention can minimize the risk of ever getting bitten. Preventing ticks from taking over is equally critical, if not more so for homeowners and business owners.
Your home should be a safe place. That’s why Catseye Pest Control works hard to remove pests and restore peace of mind safely and effectively.
Since ticks are one of the most consistent threats plaguing property owners, Catseye created a tick removal program that is designed to put your mind at ease and allow you to enjoy the property once again.
Our program will eliminate the ticks found on your property while creating a barrier that works to deter ticks from entering the property, therefore helping to prevent future tick-related issues. The process is environmentally friendly and can be administered once a month during tick season.
Contact Catseye today to learn more about our three-step tick removal process and to schedule a free inspection. Taking the first step today means being able to enjoy your outdoor living space sooner this summer!
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