Ticks are a serious threat to you and your dog.
Ticks can transmit serious diseases to humans and pets including rocky mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease and encephalitis, to mention just a few vectors. Ticks are blood-feeders that are related to spiders and mites.
While there is a strong emphasis on repellents to keep ticks off people and pets, it might simply not be enough with tick vectored diseases on the rise in the US. Tick management issues are most likely to be increasingly important. It is important to understand the need for prevention and control where you can do so, such as your yard and a little habitat modification. If traveling, hiking, or spending time in the woods or even a park, knowing that ticks are an issue there are preventative steps you can take to avoid ticks and protect yourself.
- Manage landscape to reduce humidity where ticks are likely to be found.
- Reduce cover for mice. Eliminate wooded, brush-covered habitat, prune lower branches of bushes, clean-up storage areas, woodpiles, and junk piles.
- Rake leaf litter and use wood chips or plant shade-tolerant grass under shade trees to reduce tick abundance.
- Trim trees and brush to open wooded areas in and around areas of human activity. Allowing sunlight to penetrate to reduce moisture and thus reduce tick habitat.
- Keep grass mowed.
- Remove leaf litter, brush, and weeds at the edge of the lawn.
- Restrict the use of ground-cover in areas frequented by people.
- Discourage rodent activity. Cleanup and seal stone walls and small openings on your properties.
- Move bird-feeders away from buildings.
- Avoid landscape plantings that attract wildlife that could host ticks. Use exclusion fencing to keep unwanted animals off properties.
- Keep playground equipment at least three feet away from tall grasses, bushes, and shrubs. Place them on a maintainable foundation, such as concrete, crushed rock, rubber matte or wood-chips.
- Trim trees and shrubs on the properties to permit more sunlight.
- Trail-users should keep to center of trails and avoid or minimize contact with woody vegetation and tall grasses.
- Do not allow leashed pets to wonder deeply into shrubs and tall grasses.
- Wear light-colored clothing with long-pants tucked into socks when going into tick-infested areas.
- Educate yourself about ticks, tick-vectored diseases, and the proper use of repellents.
- Wash and dry clothing at the highest temperature setting upon returning from a tick-infested area.
- At the end of the day after being outdoors, carefully inspect the entire body. Carefully remove any attached ticks using fine-tipped tweezers to gently grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Pull the tick straight upward with steady even pressure. Save the tick for future identification by placing it in a waterproof, crush-proof container with alcohol.
Prevention and Control of ticks by a professional is highly suggested
Most importantly, especially in Phoenix, getting prepared prior to the emergence of a new tick season this spring is an important step in keeping your yard tick free. Once the weather warms up, and people start taking the dog(s) for more walks, chances of bringing home an invader, like ticks, is very possible. A professional pest management company can treat your property and help prevent ticks from taking hold of your property.