They are tiny, they bite humans and animals to prey on our blood, and they live in your yard. Think we’re talking about mosquitoes? Good guess, but think again. Nope, we’re talking about a pair of equally annoying critters…fleas and ticks.
Keep reading to learn how to protect your family and furry friends from these blood-sucking bugs.
Where Do Fleas & Ticks Live?
When they’re not hitching a ride on your dog or latching on to your leg, fleas and ticks can still be surprisingly close to – and even in – your home. Outside, fleas prefer shady spots where the air is cool and moist. In Indiana, this often means woodpiles, shrubbery, and in and around trees. Likewise, ticks prefer to hide in the shade and hate the sun, so they often show up along wood or brush lines along the perimeters of your home. They also hang out in tall grass, leaf litter, and limbs and branches, where it takes only a slight brush of your body for them to take hold.
How to Treat Fleas & Ticks
Although they are small, fleas and ticks are big carriers of all sorts of bad stuff, including lyme disease, cat scratch fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, typhus … even the plague!
When a person gets bit, wash the affected area as soon as possible with lukewarm water and a gentle soap. Do not scrub. Afterward, treat with ice to help prevent swelling and to soothe the area. Talk to your pharmacist or dermatologist about lotions and antihistamines, which can help greatly when used as directed. Whatever you do, don’t scratch!
For ticks in particular, use tweezers. Carefully grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible and gently pull upward with steady pressure. Don’t squeeze too tightly. Place the tick in a sealed plastic sandwich bag and kill it with rubbing alcohol. If you are unable to remove the entire tick from your skin, or if you develop a rash or other symptoms, visit your doctor and take the baggie with you. NEVER use heat (lighters or matches) or “paint” (nail polish or petroleum jelly) to try and remove a tick, as this can cause the tick to burrow further, not to mention burn you.
For cats and dogs, use specially formulated shampoos or spot treatments. Other products such as tick dips and flea/tick collars can be used, but follow the directions and keep an eye on your pet, as some may be allergic or suffer side effects from the strong medication. If you find a tick on your cat or dog, remove it with the same method as mentioned above, and visit your veterinarian if the tick embeds itself or breaks apart, or your pet starts acting differently.
How to Prevent Fleas & Ticks
You can limit the reach of fleas and ticks by keeping your lawn well mowed and manicured; planting trees, shrubs, and gardens away from your home; and keeping swing sets, tree and dog houses, and basketball hoops away from wood and brush lines at the far reaches of your property. If your kids and/or pets like to explore, be sure to check their bodies every time they come back inside your home.
Indoors, use a long-lasting pest spray and lay down a perimeter around doors, windows, baseboards, floor vents, and any other high traffic or drafty areas of the home.
As an added level of precaution and peace of mind, you can contact Lawn Pride. Don’t let our name fool you – we’re proud of our pest control solutions, too. Ask us about full barrier applications that kill and prevent fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and so much more. We can customize a plan of attack based on your property size, as well as your family’s particular needs – pets included. It’s not too late to take your summer back and protect the ones you love. Say hello to Lawn Pride, and say goodbye to fleas and ticks for good.