Did you know that certain female ticks can produce thousands of eggs after their last blood meal?  Believe it or not, it’s true!  Ticks are arthropods who survive by feeding on the blood of animals, birds and human beings. Once a tick attaches to its host, the tick’s saliva, which contains anti-coagulant and anti-inflammatory molecules, allows the tick to feed without the host feeling anything.

Ticks are vectors (a vector is something that can transmit disease) of several diseases termed “tick borne illnesses.” Two common diseases are Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. The American Dog Tick can be a vector of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. The Black-Legged Tick, also known as a Deer Tick, can carry pathogens associated with Lyme Disease. In either case ticks may be a health hazard to humans.

To learn more about how to control ticks, we need to learn more about the habitat that ticks like and develop a plan to control them. It is important to not make your property attractive to ticks. First of all, ticks like wooded and shaded habitats. Heavy foliage is also attractive. Low hanging branches of trees provide easy hangouts for ticks just waiting to catch a ride on unsuspecting victims. Weedy areas or leaf litter also provide areas where ticks thrive. Ticks do not prefer well-trimmed grassy areas or areas that are in full sun.

Here’s the most important tip. The best way to protect against ticks is to stay away from areas where ticks like to live. Another tip is to apply repellents containing Deet when visiting areas that might be a tick infestation. There is a chemical option to treat outside areas if desired. Placement of pesticides labeled for ticks can be very effective if placed in tick habitats. Treating lawns that have full sun may not the be best option for treatment. Wise use of pesticides and using them according to the label is always the best policy.