Ticks are parasites who feed exclusively on blood. Although they may be divided into two families-hard and soft ticks- there are over eight hundred known species of ticks. Their habitat is mainly overgrown grass fields and leaf littered grounds. However, ticks survive anywhere there are shielded from the sun and wind. It is in this habitat that they pass through the four stages of their life cycle: the egg, larva, nymph and the adult. Ticks should be controlled or eradicated as their existence is a cause of nuisance (their bites are very irritating) and health hazards. Among other diseases, ticks cause Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Tick-borne Relapsing Fever.
Controlling ticks may take two forms: using pesticides and not using pesticides. Using pesticides is advised if the number of ticks involved is large. If otherwise, pesticides should not be used. Ticks maybe controlled using the following steps:
1.Keep the grass of your yard mowed. The grass should be less than three inches tall. This ensures tick hosts such as mice do not reside in your yard. It also reduces humidity level to a point where a tick’s life is not supported.
2.Rake leaf litter, brush and weed off your lawn. Litter attracts mice which is a host of ticks.
3.Open up lawns where the family frequently visits. Prune the trees around the lawns and expose it to the sun. Ticks do not survive in hot, direct sunshine.
4.Widen your lawns and clear the areas immediately after the lawns.
5.Remove vegetation that deer can feed on such as azaleas. You may also consider putting up fences which exclude deer.
6.Clear any dense vegetation near your house. Make sure all openings are sealed to keep off mice.
7.Keep bird feeders and woodpiles away from your compound. Bird feeders attract bird who are tick hosts.
The above methods involve controlling vegetation around your homestead. However, care should be taken not to suffer from tick bites. The following steps should be followed to avoid bites from ticks:
1.Always wear light-colored clothing when visiting tick prone areas. Make sure the clothes cover your entire body; long sleeved pants and shirts. Tuck your trousers in your socks.
2.Keep in the middle of a trail if visiting woodland.
3.After an outdoor visit, wash and dry your clothing. You may also check manually for any ticks on your skin.
4.Check your pets for any ticks after they have been outdoors. Clean your pets’ dwellings regularly.
Chemical control of ticks may be used if a large number of ticks exist. Spraying maybe done by trucks or airplanes is a large area is involved. Pesticides should be used as a last resort.