The Weather Network announced in May that tick season has kicked in across Canada and the season goes from mid-spring to October. Officials are reminding people to keep a vigilant watch on or around their property to protect loved ones, including their pets. Of utmost important is the fact that you should be aware of Lyme disease, which is often a risk attached to tick season. Lyme disease is more common in parts of southern Canada and the U.S. where specific tick populations reside.
According to a report by CBC News, cbc.ca and the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation, canlyme.com Dr. Andrew Peregrine of the Ontario Veterinary College says that the area near Kingston is a hotbed for ticks right now. The reports goes on to say that other areas with lots of ticks and Lyme disease are Long Point, straight south of Brantford on the shores of Lake Erie, where 60 per cent of ticks are infected; nearby Turkey Point; and Point Pelee National Park, in Leamington, where the deer population is booming. Dr. Peregrine says, even if you’re just travelling in those southern Ontario hotspots, you can “dramatically” increase your risk for Lyme disease and bring ticks home.
What are Ticks?
Ticks are part of the arachnid family, which also includes mites, spider and scorpions. Ticks are external parasites that attach itself to the skin of an animal and lives from sucking on the blood. Ticks can carry of a number of diseases that affect both humans and other animals, such as:
- Lyme disease
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
- Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis
- Relapsing fever
Although there are hundreds of kinds of ticks found almost everywhere on the planet, the most common types that people refer to are the deer tick and the dog tick. The size of the deer tick is about the same as a pin head and one of the diseases it carries is Lyme disease.
Where Do They Live?
If your house happens to be located near wooded or brushy areas, it is possible that you may come in contact with ticks during the warm weather. If your skin is exposed to the elements, the tick attaches itself somewhere on your body and buries its head into your flesh. Ticks can be found attached to anywhere on your body, including armpits, inside the ears, your groin, in your hair or your pets because they seek out warm and moist areas. A tick infestation can occur if you or your pet carry a tick into your home and reproduction occurs. Since ticks are very small, they may not be noticed immediately and can lay their eggs in many parts of the house, preferably in cracks or crevasses in floorboards.
Ticks on your Property – What to Do:
Not only are ticks on your property a nuisance, they are dangerous due to the diseases that they carry and the infestation that can occur if they get into your home. Their favorite habitat is in the grassy, bushy areas of your property that are warm and moist and often sheltered with trees and shade, but there are other locations in your yard where they may frequent as well. The first thing to do is make your property inhospitable to them by targeting any favorable tick conditions in your backyard. Start by getting rid of dead, scraggly and overgrown vegetation by cutting it back and keeping your yard trimmed regularly. Avoid grass from overgrowing and eliminate vines and other plants where ticks might hide. Allow as much sun as possible to enter the backyard because ticks dislike sunny environments that are dry with few clumpy areas to populate. You can discourage ticks taking up residence by mowing your lawn regularly which deprives ticks of tall grass, evaporates the morning dew quickly and lets the sun shine in. Mowing regularly also keeps other bugs at bay which makes your life more pleasurable overall. If you have any tall grasses around your house or lawn, clear them away. In addition, clear your yard of any damp and dark brush and dead leaves. Dead leaves are especially a haven for ticks to hide in because of the darkness, warmth and moisture. Use an approved pesticide on your lawn and surrounding area in late spring to early summer. By using a certified and safe pesticide, you can reduce the tick population by fifty percent. Check with your local retailer for pesticides approved for your area. Since ticks travel on mammals, a fenced yard will prevent animals, such as deer or coyotes from passing through and leaving a trail of ticks behind. Fencing will help control the tick population from entering your property. Keep your firewood in a dry location and neatly stacked to discourage ticks from setting up home and entering your house when the wood in brought indoor. Lastly, thoroughly clean the underside of bird feeders because ticks can nest there undisturbed until you go to change the seed where upon they jump on you. Evergreen Landscapes can assist you in designing and altering your property should you need help.
Signs & Symptoms:
According to the Mayo Clinic, (read their article) Lyme disease usually affects more than one system such as the skin, joints and nervous system, therefore the signs and symptoms vary. Within a month of being infected you will find a small, red bump that is the site of a tick bite. This condition is normal; however, over the next few days, you might notice a bull’s-eye pattern has appeared as the redness expanded resulting in a red outer ring that surrounds a clear area. This rash (erythema migrans) is the hallmark of Lyme disease, resulting in flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, fatigue, body aches and an accompanying headache. You may experience additional symptoms several weeks to months after you have been infected. These symptoms may include developing bouts of severe joint pain and swelling, especially your knees, but the pain can shift from joint to joint. You may also experience meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes surrounding your brain or Bell’s palsy, a temporary paralysis of one side of your face. There may also be numbness or weakness in your limbs and impaired muscle movement.
Seek Medical Attention:
Lyme disease is contracted by only a minority of deer tick bites, but the longer the tick remains embedded in your skin, the greater your risk. If you think you’ve been bitten and experience signs and symptoms since you live in an area that ticks are widespread and Lyme disease is prevalent, contact your doctor immediately. Treatment for Lyme disease is most effective if begun early. Overall it is tick season and southern Canadians should be cautious and aware of the dangers caused by ticks on your property and know what to do to in order to avoid them. Canadians should also be informed of what to do when faced with a tick bite in order to reduce the damage. If you want help to keep your property tick free then Contact Evergreen Landscapes today and ask about what we can do to your property to prevent any ticks from spreading into your backyard.