The backyard has long been a symbol of tranquility, family, and safety. It’s the site of bonfires and barbecues, lawn games, and graduation parties. It’s easy to think that enjoying the outdoors is safer in your backyard than in the woods. Unfortunately, this isn’t always true. Ticks are increasingly becoming a problem in New York state, and they 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 ticks and protect your loved ones this spring.
What Does A Tick Look Like
There are several varieties found in New York state. Like fleas, they need a host to suck blood from to survive. During feeding, they can transmit a variety of diseases. Here are the most likely ticks you’ll encounter and how to identify them.
Lone Star Ticks
If you’ve ever noticed a tick with a white dot, it’s a Lone Star, and it’s named for that spot. 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 tick 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.
Where Do 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 may do just that. As we’ve already discussed, ticks are extremely tiny, which makes them difficult to spot. And even if you don’t have a deck, raised porch, play structure, or ornamental grasses, something as simple as letting your grass get a little too long could be enough for ticks to make a home in your lawn. That’s why having a professional tick control application is so important. Through organic or conventional means, your tick control technician can reach all areas where these pests could be lurking.
How To Prevent Ticks
Many reputable bug spray brands that prevent mosquitoes also are effective to some degree at controlling other “biting insects,” including ticks.
Keep Up With Yard 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.
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 pest control application 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. And yes, there are indeed organic tick control options if you are concerned about conventional chemical methods.
Protect Your Family From Ticks With Griffin Organics
Don’t allow your yard to be overrun by disease-carrying ticks. Trust the experts at Griffin Organics! We offer both conventional and organic tick control programs to protect you, your children, and your pets. Call 914-788-9622 or contact us online here to schedule your application today! To learn more about yard care, be sure to check out our monthly blog! To discover the latest product offerings, deals, and services, like our Facebook page!