Our mild climate in South Texas means we can enjoy the outdoors year-round. However, the joy of being outdoors is sadly accompanied by the dangers of ticks. Now more than ever, these small, blood-sucking arachnids are present in our yards, on our playgrounds, and in our parks.
In the end, there are steps that people can take to prevent tick bites and infestations, but professional solutions are often the surest way.
Common Ticks In South Texas
Since they can stay active throughout the year, Texas has several pervasive tick species:
- Lone Star Ticks: Named after our very own state, these ticks can actually be found all over the continental US and Mexico. They are typically very small and brown in color — males have black patterns on their backs and females have a big white dot.
- Black-legged Ticks: Also called deer ticks, this variety like to feed on large, mobile wildlife. Like their name suggests, they are distinguishable by their eight dark, black legs.
- American Dog Ticks: So-called for their tendency to target household pets like dogs, these ticks nonetheless feed on any animals they come in contact with. Also known as wood ticks, they are brown with white or gray markings on their backs.
Risks of Tick Bites & Contact
Because they’re so small, ticks can seem relatively harmless. But make no mistake, the risks of exposure to their bites can be severe. Ticks are infamous carriers of serious diseases, most notably Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Their bites are itchy and can become infected through repeated scratching.
Preventative Measures To Keep Ticks Away
Humans most often encounter ticks when they are doing outdoor activities like gardening, hiking, or camping. Contrary to some urban myths, ticks don’t jump onto people or animals, and since they can’t fly. they have to rely on crawling in order to gain access to flesh. Ticks hang out on vegetation and wait for unsuspecting creatures, including humans, to brush by. Then, they latch onto their body and crawl around until they find a suitable place to feed.
Although encounters with ticks is practically inevitable, there are some precautions you can take to reduce the likelihood of tick contact while outdoors:
- Cover Skin: It may be tempting to wear short pants and sleeves when it’s hot out, but keeping your skin covered reduces exposure to ticks.
- Wear light colors: Ticks are less attracted to white, beige or other light colors.
- Mend Clothing: Along those same lines, it’s important to fix up any holes in clothing items. A quick duct tape job can work in a pinch, too.
- Wear Repellent: Store-bought products can be effective at warding off ticks, since clothing treatments or topical sprays contain chemicals and compounds that ticks loathe. There are also tick-proof clothing items that you can buy to specifically ward off ticks.
Household Tick Prevention
What about if ticks are already on your property? How do you keep your family and pets safe from tick bites and infestations?
- Yard Maintenance: Trimming back vegetation, especially keeping trees, bushes and flowerbeds away from residential structures, is important for keeping ticks away. Frequent mowing will also keep grasses low enough to avoid ticks.
- Skin & Hair Inspection: When children or animals come inside from a stint outdoors, check them thoroughly. Work slowly, and use a fine-tooth comb to check fur and hair.
- Keep Wildlife Out: The best way to keep ticks out of your yard is to make sure they aren’t hitching a ride in on other animals. When deer or other wildlife roam the yard, ticks gain access, so putting up fencing or barricades to keep wildlife off of your property will likely reduce your tick population as well.
Tick-free Solutions From Romney Pest Control
When you’d rather be outside enjoying the nice weather that Texans love, turn to the experts for tick prevention and elimination. The professionals at Romney Pest Control have experience ridding homes and yards of the eight-legged pests, and we tailor solutions to your home and budget. Don’t let the danger of tick exposure ruin your time in the sun, contact Romney today.