How to Get Rid of Ticks
Ticks are small pests that can cause several serious diseases and illnesses such as Lyme disease, Powassan virus, and more. If your property is backed up to a woodline or you have heavy vegetation around your property, you can be susceptible to tick activity. It's important to take precautions when spending time in your yard with family, friends, or pets to avoid coming in contact with potentially dangerous ticks. As a homeowner, you should be informed about the dangers of the diseases ticks can transmit to humans and animals. Are you finding ticks on your property or pets? Or maybe you want to learn more about how tick services work. Our library of tick information will answer your questions.
Tick Library Shortcuts
Ticks have been making the headlines across national and local news outlets due to their resurgence and potential threats to your health and well being. We suggest that you prepare for ticks even if you have never found ticks in your yard or have been bitten. Just because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean that it can’t happen in an instant. A combination of preventative steps you can take on your own with the aid of professional pest control is the best way to assure that you can enjoy your yard this summer without the worry of tick-borne diseases.
Ticks need a host to survive. They live in tall grasses where they are concealed and can easily latch onto their victim. If your property is backed up to a wood line or you don’t regularly mow your lawn, it greatly increases your chances for tick activity. If your property has these elements, any host (dogs or humans) can fall prey to ticks, in turn bringing them indoors. If your dog was outdoors somewhere other than your property, there is a chance they can bring them back to your home. Dog parks, nature trails, and even walks around your neighborhood are common breeding grounds for ticks.
Deer and other wild animals are even more susceptible to ticks simply because they live outdoors and venture back and forth between your yard and the woods or other natural habitats. Even homes without wood lines can fall victim to tick activity through visits from these critters.
In all likelihood ticks live near you. Ticks live in places such as unmanicured lawns, brush, along wood lines, tall grasses, fields, and parks. Areas with an abundance of tall foliage are conducive to tick activity, giving them a perfect place to latch onto while waiting for a host. When humans or animals such as pets walk through these areas of dense growth, ticks cling onto exposed skin to feed off of their new host. New Jersey and Pennsylvania are no exceptions, having one of the highest tick populations this season than ever before.
Dogs are just as venerable as humans to tick bites and infections. Spending time at dog parks, in backyards, and taking walks in the woods with their humans makes them exposed. Unlike humans, dogs are not clothed and walk lower to the ground, exposing nearly all of their body at all times. It is very important that you check your dog for tick symptoms and bites after spending time outdoors.
How can I remove a tick?
Trusting online message boards or getting tips from your friends and family can be dangerous when it comes to tick removal. Please follow our guide to ensure that you are treating the situation safely and effectively.
What not to do:
- Petroleum jelly or nail polish– This will not make the tick any easier to remove. Ticks embed into a host with their mouths which are not likely to unlatch or dissolve by using this method.
- Excessive heat– Using excessive heat could cause parts of the tick to break off such as its mouth, leaving parts in your skin that are open to infection.
- Using your hands – Not only is this extremely difficult, but you may squeeze the tick and release its infectious bodily fluids.
What you should do:
- Tweezers - Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skins surface as possible.
- Pull gently - Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don't twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
Powassan virus is a very serious disease that is transmitted by ticks. It has recently made news headlines due to the potentially fatal nature of the disease and the fact that there is no known vaccinations or medications to treat the infected individuals. Fatalities from the disease occur in approximately 10% of the time, however among survivors nearly 50% suffer some type of permanent neurological effects, ranging from headaches, muscle deterioration, and memory loss.
What makes this disease so scary is the speed of transmission by ticks. Diseases like Lyme disease can be prevented simply by removing ticks with the first 24-36 hours after their mouthparts have been embedded into their host’s skin. In contrast, Powassan can be transmitted by ticks in less than 3 hours, and it is believed to be as short as 15-30 minutes after the tick’s mouthparts have been embedded. This leaves virtually no time for prevention of disease transmission by detecting and properly removing ticks before they have had the opportunity to inject the virus into their host through their blood feeding activity. Ticks are a very serious public health pest. Most people are familiar with Lyme disease but there are at least 15 other diseases that ticks are known to transmit to humans in the U.S., and at least 9 of these are transmitted by ticks that occur in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
What can I do to reduce ticks on my property?
- Make your property less attractive to ticks
Proper lawn maintenance and planning of landscaping and lawn features can go a long way in reducing tick activity on your property. Here are some examples of what you can do.
- Keep the lawn well-manicured by mowing grass frequently, at least once per week. Also remove brush, debris and leaf litter.
- Keep children’s play sets, sandboxes, at least 10’ away from property edges that border tick environments.
- If installing a fence, keep a manicured buffer zone between the fence and wooded areas or un-manicured fields.
- Keep piles of firewood away from the structure and store on the part of the property away from decks, patios, play areas. Firewood piles are a favorite nesting area for deer mice and will promote tick activity associated with rodents.
- Avoid dense landscaping and heavy ground cover such as ivy, pachysandra, crawling juniper, or thick shrubs. Densely landscaped areas are attractive to birds, rodents, and a variety of small animals that will introduce ticks to these areas.
At Cooper, we believe that it’s better to prevent ticks than to eliminate them once they are biting your family and pets. When you are considering preventative tick services at your home, ask the other companies if they will target known tick breeding areas on your property, attacking the root of the problem. With continual treatments throughout the tick season, our customized plans can more effectively attack tick populations.
Cooper’s Tick Prevention Program is priced by the square footage of the area that is going to be treated. This means that pricing will vary between property size and amount of breeding and harborage areas that need to be serviced. After determining the square footage of your property and all of the areas that need to be treated, our customized pricing is developed for your home. Depending on the month that service starts, you can have between 2 and 4 preventative treatments. We begin providing service for clients as early as April and as late as October with an average price of $75 per treatment.
DEET is a repellent that was developed by the U.S. Army in 1946 for the protection of soldiers in insect-infested areas and became approved for use by the general public in 1957. It’s primarily used in products that are applied directly to the skin or on clothing to repel mosquitoes and ticks in the form of lotions, sprays, roll-ons, and bracelets.
It’s important to know that DEET does not kill mosquitoes and ticks. DEET repels these pests that approach you by creating an invisible barrier around the areas where the product has been applied, making you undetectable to mosquitoes and ticks. Products that contain DEET display the amount of the ingredient by percentage. It’s important to note that higher percentages do not indicate a higher strength of DEET. The amount of DEET within a product dictates how long it will last once applied. For example, a product with 25% DEET will last several hours. However a product containing 4% DEET will last a much shorter length of time. When applying DEET, it’s important that you follow the instructions to remain safe.