Ticks are not actually insects. They're eight-legged arachnids that feed on blood. A tick attaches to is host and draws blood into its body as it feeds. A tick can suck blood from people, birds, cats, dogs, other mammals and even reptiles. They can carry dangerous diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease, so taking measures to limit the number of ticks in your yard is important.
Here are a few things you can do to protect your family from ticks:
Keep your lawn and weedy areas well cut.
It is important to keep the area around your home free of hiding places for ticks. After hatching, ticks can attach to grass and other vegetation around your home, waiting for a host to pass by. As you or another host walks through the vegetation, the ticks cling to you, find a place to latch onto your skin and begin feeding. By keeping vegetation low, you can limit the number of suitable hiding places for ticks in your yard. In addition, if there are large amounts of fallen leaves in your yard, it is best to remove the debris so that ticks can not lie in wait on the leaves.
Don't allow your pets to run in wooded areas.
If you live in a rural environment, there may be lots of wooded areas nearby. Even if it is not illegal for your pets to roam these areas unleashed, it is unwise. Your dog or cat could pick up a tick and bring it back to your home.
If you know that ticks tend to inhabit an area that you will be visiting, wear only long-sleeved shirts and long pants. For added protection, you can tape the sleeves and cuffs to ensure that no small bugs can access your skin through these entry points in your clothes.
Wear lighter clothing to make ticks visible.
To help ensure that any ticks that try to attach to your clothing remain visible, wear light colors. Since ticks are often dark in color, they can be easily seen against a light background. You can pick them off before they relocate to your yard or living space.
Form a tick barrier.
Surround your yard with a band of mulch or small decorative rocks to act as a barrier between your lawn and wooded areas. Ticks can have a difficult time crossing the barrier to invade your yard.
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