If you're an outdoor enthusiast or pet owner, you've probably noticed the large number of ticks this year. But what you may not have realized is that Ticks carry Lyme disease which is a health hazard to you, your family, and your pets.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the bite of an infected deer tick. Untreated, the disease can cause a number of health problems. Lyme disease rates have significantly increased in the northern states between 1992 and 2007 due to the increased population of ticks.
But Why Is The Tick Population Rising?While we can't say definitively, there are a number of contributing factors including:
- Climate Change: With warming temperatures and more unpredictable weather (especially in the northern states) ticks are showing up in places that were once thought to be too cold for them to survive. Typically, cold nights that are under 40 degrees would kill them off, but with that happening less frequently, ticks are surviving and multiplying.
- Changes in Bird Flight Patterns: The change in weather also has other effects that are causing increased tick populations, such as birds flying to new areas that are now deemed warmed enough for them to travel to and live. Ticks will attach to birds and travel through the air for long distances, bringing them to new places. It's like a vacation for them, but not a vacation for those who have to deal with them!
- Increased Deer Population: Deer are a popular host for ticks, so it only makes sense that the more deer that are around the more ticks will be around as well because they have plenty of hosts to feed on.
- More Suburbs: New neighborhoods are popping up everywhere, and reaching further and further out into the wilderness. All this construction is causing confusion amongst the wildlife, as they begin to appear in the neighborhoods they once called home. This wildlife will have ticks on them, bringing them around the homes. Ticks aren't picky when choosing a host, so if they're around you and your dog they have no problem latching on for a meal.
What You Can Do To Protect Yourself From TicksThe following safety measures can be easily incorporated into your lifestyle and will help you avoid getting ticks on you, on your pets, or in your home:
- Wear Light-Colored Clothes:That way you can see the ticks crawling on you before they reach the skin
- Wear Long Pants with Sneakers or Hiking Boots:We know it's hot out, but tucking your pant legs into your socks and your shirt tucked into your pants can help keep ticks out. If you want to go a step further, duck tape around your ankles over your socks. You won't win any fashion shows, but you will be tick free! Win some, lose some, I suppose.
- Spray your clothes and any exposed skin with DEET free insect repellent: Stop the ticks before they bite! Insect Repellent Natural Insect Repellent allows you to repels ticks and mosquitoes without soaking yourself in conventional pesticides.
- If you suspect there are ticks on your clothes, place them in the dryer on high heat:Ticks can survive the washing machine, even with hot water, but that can't tolerate the dry heat of a dryer.
- Spray your yard with a natural tick treatment:You should use anatural alternative to conventional pesticides that will kill the ticks instantly and repel them from coming into your house in the first place.
- Check for ticks daily:Check for ticks every day, especially if you've just been outside so they don't drop off and wander around your home.