You may think enjoying the outdoors is safer in your backyard than in the woods. Unfortunately, this isn’t always true. Fleas and ticks aren’t restricted to wild areas like fields, forests, and hiking trails. Your family could be exposed to these harmful pests lurking on your lawn. Discover how to identify and protect your family this spring.
What Do Ticks Look Like
Lone Star Ticks
Lone Star ticks are named for the white spot on their backs. The bites from these females are not only annoying, but they can also cause you to have an allergic reaction to red meat.
Also known as Deer ticks. These annoying buggers are active even in winter, so long as the temperature is above freezing. And unlike other species, where only the adults can bite, all stages of the black-legged tick life cycle can bite humans. Deer ticks are the only ticks that can carry Lyme disease, but they can also be carriers of babesiosis and human granulocytic anaplasmosis. The nymphs are brown and about the size of poppy seeds. Adult female deer ticks are red and black. Males are black. Adult deer ticks are about the size of a sesame seed. Consequently, their tiny size and coloring make them difficult to spot when hidden among pet fur.
American Dog Ticks
These ticks can potentially carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Dog ticks are reddish-brown and are larger than deer ticks.
This is not actually a tick species, but we’d like to address it since many people get white ticks confused. These are actually engorged ticks, meaning they are full of their host’s blood. As such, they may appear lighter in color.
What Do Fleas Look Like
Fleas are reddish-brown and wingless, with narrow bodies no bigger than 1/6 of an inch long. Their eggs are small and white and sometimes get mistaken for pet dander. Sometimes, you may see the leavings of fleas on your pet before you find the fleas themselves. Using a flea comb, you may find small dark particles after brushing. This is known as “flea dirt,” but it’s really their poop.
Fleas prefer the blood of your pets rather than humans, so they’re more likely to bite your animals, unlike ticks, which aren’t as picky eaters. However, fleas pose a much bigger risk when they get into your home. Unlike ticks, which cling to their host, fleas are mobile and can easily roam looking for new hosts. Once a female flea is brought into your home, she can lay up to fifty eggs a day for up to six months, which can land in your carpet and furniture upholstery. Fleas can cause allergies, tapeworms, and Murine Typhus. And while flea bites on humans aren’t as problematic as tick bites, it is no less annoying or upsetting.
Where Do Fleas Ticks Live
Tick nests need to be close enough to potential hosts so they can easily find food. Unlike fleas, which can jump great bounds to catch a meal, ticks will cling to grass and plants waiting for a host to brush by. When this happens, they will cling to their host.
The most common places you’ll find them in your backyard are:
- Tall grasses – both ornamental or unmowed turfgrass
- Under structures like decks and porches
- Shaded areas of your lawn
While you’re not likely to go crawling under a deck and expose yourself to a potential tick infestation, your furry friends might. As we’ve already discussed, ticks are extremely tiny, which makes them difficult to spot. That’s why having a professional flea and tick treatment is really the best option for eliminating the problem. Your tick control technician can reach all areas where these pests could be lurking.
How To Prevent Fleas And Ticks
Many reputable bug spray brands that prevent mosquitoes also are effective to some degree at controlling other “biting insects,” including ticks.
Stay On Top Of Lawn Maintenance
We’re certainly not suggesting that you take away your child’s jungle gym because it may harbor ticks. Clean it with disinfectant soap from time to time and try to keep it away from wooded areas or your property. Many people like to stick playscapes at the edge of their property so they can more easily mow the lawn, but this makes it easy for ticks to migrate from the woods to your home. Keep these structures as far from wooded areas as possible. And mow every week. Even the small amount of shade that blades of grass provide is enough for fleas and ticks to take shelter in.
Wear Protective Clothing
If spring yard cleanups require you to go into the tall grass, wear long sleeve shirts, crew or knee-high socks, and tuck pant legs into shoes. The less skin you have exposed, the less likely a tick will choose you for its next meal.
Get Professional Help
The absolute best thing to do is to seek professional help. A flea and tick spray provided by a professional lawn care service will kill existing bugs and prevent future ones, keeping you and your family safe. You’ll have peace of mind all season long, and you can ditch that smelly chemical bug spray. Your yard should be an extension of your home, a place where you feel safe and welcomed. Organic options exist if you are concerned about conventional chemical methods.
Schedule A Flea And Tick Control Application
The technicians at Duncan’s Green Team Lawn Care know pest control well. Our flea and tick treatment significantly reduces exposure to harmful fleas, ticks, and even mosquitoes. Take back control of your yard this spring! Call (770) 478-0098 today! You can also leave us a message online here. To read more tips on lawn care, pest control, and check out the latest deals and offers, read our monthly blog and be sure to like our Facebook page!