There’s a lot to look forward to during the summer. This time of year is perfect for BBQs, summer holidays, vacations and stay-cations. But something wicked this way comes, and it cometh in droves. Ticks! They are in the grass. They are in the trees. Most notably, ticks are in your yard. These small, blood thirsty arachnids (Yes, arachnids! Ticks are more closely related to spiders and scorpions than insects.) can be identified by their small, oval bodies, leathery skin and flat-to-bulbous idiosoma that expands as it sucks your blood.

Ticks size can range anywhere from the size of a poppy seed to the size of a small fingernail. They don’t jump or fly. Instead, they crawl onto the foot of their potential prey and scurry around until they find the best patch of skin to latch onto and start sucking.

Inspecting Your Body for Ticks

As many know, ticks are infamous for being carriers of Lyme disease. The only ticks that carry Lyme disease, however, are Deer ticks and their “cousins.” Deer tick “nymphs” are as small as the head of a needle and will look a little like tiny dark seeds on your skin. One in four of these nefarious creatures are Lyme disease carriers. Most ticks carry something equally sinister: disease causing pathogens. Follow these easy tips to avoid possible tick infections!

After any outdoors excursion where there’s grass afoot, it’s important to get into the habit of inspecting your body for ticks. The following tips will put you one step closer to leading a tick-free life.

  • Check your clothes before going inside. Ticks habitually hang from clothing until there’s a safe time to migrate to a tastier area of the body.
  • Ticks love dark, warm places, so make sure you check between your joints! Ticks often covet areas such as knees, elbows, armpits, behind the ears and behind the neck!
  • Take a shower. You might get lucky and wash that pesky tick right off! Or, more likely, it’ll be easier for you to spot where the tick is hiding.
  • Check your pets. Ticks love lots of warm-blooded critters, including dogs. Make sure to regularly check your pets for ticks.

These are all good habits, but the best defense against ticks are preventative measures such as yard inspections and treatments.

The Importance of Speedy, Safe Tick Removal

A lot goes into removing a tick. They bury their entire head under your skin, which makes them difficult to dislodge. To begin, removing a tick is a time-sensitive process. Although not all ticks will transfer disease, ticks can transfer disease in as little as 24 hours, which is why it’s important to check your entire body after a hike or a romp outside.

When it comes to tick removal, stick with tweezers! A common tick removal myth involves burning a tick off your skin with an extinguished match. However, applying heat can create a surge in the tick’s saliva production, increasing the possibility of tick-born pathogens and disease.

To remove a tick, you’ll want a pair of sharp, sterile tweezers and rubbing alcohol. You should always use sharp tweezers to get as close to the head as possible and avoid tearing the tick’s body. Follow these four easy steps in the unfortunate event a tick has chosen you as its next snack.

  • Clean the area around the tick
  • Get the tweezers as close to the skin/tick’s head as you possibly can
  • This bit is important. Don’t twist or try to wriggle the tick out of your skin. That will only serve to irritate the bite site and possibly tear the tick. Pull upwards firmly with steady pressure.
  • Clean the area with rubbing alcohol. If you don’t have any, soap and water will do.

Don’t be alarmed if the tick head stays embedded in your skin. Like a splinter, it will work its way out.

Tick Tips for the Tenacious Traveler

Tuck your pants into your socks before you frolic. Because ticks are firmly land-bound, they usually start with your feet and work their way higher. If you’re hiking, running or picnicking, keep those legs protected.

Pack sharp, sterile tweezers for your next hike or camping trip. The faster you remove the tick, the less likely they can transmit any disease.

Don’t forget your tick spray! It never hurts to have an extra layer of tick repellant. There are plenty of effective tick repellants on the market, but if you’re looking for a more natural remedy, ticks find the smell of lemon eucalyptus to be particularly vile.

Call Orkin Today for a Free Quote!

To prepare for your next big Barbeque, make sure Orkin has thoroughly inspected your yard to avoid any unwanted guests in the potato salad!