The tick season has got off to an unusually early start for us this year. In a previous blog we discussed how many bug populations would be on the rise because of the mild winter, but the early surge of ticks is due to something else entirely.
The culprit in the tick-up of ticks? Acorns. So what do acorns have to do with blood-thirsty ticks? It appears that acorns are a favorite food of mice. When there is an abundant year for acorns, there is a spike in the rodent population, therefore when baby ticks emerge in the spring, they have lots of fresh victims to dine on. However when there is a low acorn year, not as many mice survive and reproduce. The following spring means the ticks have to look elsewhere for blood. Unfortunately that means humans and pets become the next tasty tick meal.
The worst thing about ticks is they can carry dangerous diseases like Lyme disease. It goes without saying that a rise in the number of ticks will most likely mean a rise in the cases of Lyme disease, which can be quite dangerous if it is not diagnosed and treated early.
Lyme disease symptoms include muscle aches, lethargy and fever outside of flu season or a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.
What can you do to protect yourself and your family from these pests? The National Pest Management Association offers the following tick tips:
- Use tick repellent when outdoors and wear long sleeved shirts and pants, preferably light in color, so ticks are easier to detect.
- Use preventative medicine on pets, as prescribed by your veterinarian.
- Once indoors, inspect clothing and your entire body. Check family members and pets that have been outdoors.
- Keep grass cut low, including around fences, sheds, trees, shrubs and swing sets. Remove weeds, woodpiles and other debris from the yard.
- If you find a tick on your body, remove it with a slow, steady pull so as not to break off the mouthparts and leave them in the skin. Then, wash hands and bite site thoroughly with soap and water. Ticks should be flushed down a toilet or wrapped in tissue before disposing in a closed receptacle.
- If you suspect a tick bite, seek medical attention.
If you do suspect your yard or property has a tick problem, it is very important to get help from a pest control professional right away. Give us a call and we will be happy to inspect your surroundings and suggest the best and safest solution to your pest problem. Quik Kill Pest Eliminators 800-525-0505