Scientists predicted the severity and increased population of ticks in 2017 two years ago, and here’s how – In 2015, we experienced a “mast year”. This means that trees produced a ton of acorns. The year following a mast year always brings a large population of mice that gnaw on the acorns. The year after the mice come (bringing us to 2017), the tick population significantly rises because they feast on these mice, with the potential for dozens of ticks attaching to one rodent at a time. Because of this, these mice are a very popular host for Lyme Disease.
Mice host the bacterial borrelia burgdorferi. When ticks feed on mice blood containing these bacteria and then attach onto humans, this bacteria spreads to humans in the form of Lyme Disease and other tick-borne diseases. In addition to the mast year, we also saw a generally mild winter, which allows for adult ticks to be more active, further increasing the chances of contracting a tick-borne disease this season.
If you find a tick on your clothing or skin, it is important to look for the following common Lyme Disease symptoms in the days to follow:
- Body, muscle and joint fatigue
- Neck stiffness
- Bull’s eye pattern or rash
- Trouble sleeping
- Flu-like symptoms
- Memory loss
Lyme Disease typically takes 12-36 hours to transmit after a tick embeds. So, after finding a tick, depending on the time in your skin, you may be able to avoid contracting any tick-borne diseases. However, it is important to treat the symptoms regardless, because it is hard to know how long a tick was actually in you.
One of the most important proactive methods to managing and preventing tick infestations is repellent sprays on both yourself (skin and clothing) and your landscape/yard. Often when we say repellent sprays, toxic chemicals come to mind. But, at Red Cedar we only offer methods of tick control that are safe for your pets, family, and the environment. These tick control methods and sprays are proven to be effective in killing ticks in homeowner’s yards.
In addition to treating your landscaping and property with repellent methods, you can strategically plan your backyard design with the idea of not creating a thriving home for ticks in mind. Ticks thrive in humid, wooded areas and die more quickly in sunny and dry areas.
Here are some additional ways to prevent dangerous diseases caused by infected ticks:
- Fencing – eliminates hosts (like deer) from entering the property
- Deer resistant planting – There are certain trees that serve as natural deer repellant because of their smell, texture, or they are poisonous.
- Placing swing sets and activity areas away from woods and shaded areas
- Keeping wood piles away from your home
- Building wood chip barriers to reduce ticks on the lawn
- Keeping trees well maintained through pruning and regular mowing
- Discouraging rodent activity by cleaning and sealing small openings around the home (stone walls, wood piles, etc.)
It’s tick season, and 2017 is the year for increased ticks and Lyme Disease. Be proactive in protecting yourself, family, and your pets by incorporating a pest prevention and management plan. Looking for a new landscape design and interested in incorporating some of the “tick minimizing” methods listed above? Contact Red Cedar today for your free estimate on your landscape design build project and pest management and prevention treatment plans!