There are lots of fun things to look forward to in the spring—warmer weather, longer daylight, and the beginning of all kinds of outdoor activities. There’s only one problem that usually comes along with the season: Ticks.
According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA)’s bi-annual Bug Barometer®, a seasonal forecast of pest pressure and activity, this year, spring is expected to be more unseasonably cold and rainy across the entire U.S., and that means we might see an influx of ticks.
“While regions across the country were either unseasonably cold or warm this past winter, there’s one factor that almost all of them had in common – excessive moisture,” said Jim Fredericks, Ph.D., chief entomologist for the NPMA. “From record-setting snow in parts of Texas and Arizona to excessive rain in the southeast, continued precipitation predicted for most of the country this upcoming season will allow pest populations to continue to thrive and multiply.”
This info might be a bit frightening for some, since ticks are known for spreading Lyme disease, as well as a host of others. Each year, approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to CDC by state health departments and the District of Columbia.
On top of that stat, the number of illnesses being transmitted by ticks, as well as by mosquitos and fleas, have recently tripled in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with more than 60 percent of diseases being caused from ticks.
The type of tick we really need to be cautious of are deer ticks. These are the type of ticks that spread Lyme disease, but they can be so tiny you might not even see them on your skin.
It seems like none of us are in the clear this year with how many ticks we’ll see, and we need to take precautions for what we can control (since we can’t do much about the weather, unfortuantely).
Since ticks thrive in places that are damp or have high humidity, and many are probably hiding in your own yard or neighborhood. Ticks breed in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, so it’s important to try to limit any shady or damp areas in your yard as much as possible and get rid of plants that deer might like. Always check your clothing for ticks after you’ve been outside, and even if you don’t see anything, it doesn’t hurt to jump in the shower afterwards.
Ticks also like to cling to the fur of pets, so if you’re going on lots of walks with the dog, especially in wooded areas, be sure to carefully check them as well.
If you ever do find a tick on you, use tweezers to grasp as close to the tick’s skin’s surface as closely as possible, and pull in an upward motion with “steady, even pressure,” the CDC says.
For more tips on how to avoid ticks during the inevitable explosion of them this season, check out the video below.
Do you normally get a lot of ticks in your yard? How will you avoid them this year?