By now you’re aware that we have a bit of a tick problem around these parts.  Unfortunately, that problem keeps getting worse.  But, thanks to UConn, we now know some tips that’ll help us manage these pests.

UConn Today agrees that this summer isn’t one for venturing outside due to the insane amount of ticks.  Not to mention the increased chances of getting one of the nasty diseases they carry.  But, we can’t stay inside forever and hope for the best.

So, UConn wants to help us understand the threat so we can stay safe outdoors.  For example, they know exactly how far away ticks can be found outside of wooded areas.  Also, which animals tend to work as their personal taxis.

Honestly, this information is invaluable to those who want to be proactive and keep their yard a safe haven.

So, here’s what you need to know.

Most importantly, the warm summer also boosted chipmunk and mice numbers.  Basically, they’re exploding in numbers, which definitely helps out ticks, too.

These little critters serve as the perfect meal for tick larvae.  While the baby ticks hide in cool and damp areas, like stone walls, they also feast on the various mammals that hide in the same area.  So, chipmunks and mice not only serve as blood bags to the nymphs, they also help transport them around your back yard.

With more ticks and more rodents in your back yard, it means you have a higher chance of getting bit.

Not to mention, these little rodents expose the larvae to those horrid diseases like Lyme and Powassan.  Yeah, the ticks aren’t born with the viruses in their system.  Mind blowing, right?

UConn calls mice, voles, and chipmunks “reservoirs” for those deadly pathogens.  So, if you want to keep you and your family safe, you might want to take care of the rodent problem first.

UConn recommends setting traps so you can cull their numbers by transporting these guys off your property.  For individualized plans of attack depending on which species you want to remove first, click HERE.

It’s also encouraged to keep deer away from your property.  Again, due to a reduction in hunting, their population has also swelled.  Which means that deer ticks have another mobile buffet to latch onto for a ride.

Sandra Bushmich, associate dean of agriculture, health, and natural resources, says:

“Deer are the host that is best for reproduction in the deer tick life cycle, and the deer population is out of control in this area.”

Beyond the wildlife, vegetation also plays a key role in aiding ticks.  For example,pachysandr,  hosta, ivy, and rhododendron all invite deer and rodents to your yard.

But then again, if you’re an accomplished gardener, going after the plants you nurtured over the years might not seem like a preferred solution.  So, fences and repellents might be the way to go.

Also, putting dry wood mulch and crushed stone around the base of the wooded areas and stone walls that abut your land can help.  It’s because ticks can travel at least 9-feet away from these areas by themselves.  By putting up those barriers, you’ll impede their little quest to latch onto a tasty human.

Or your pet.  So, whenever you let your cats or dogs outside, thoroughly check them for a tick before letting them back into your home.

Ticks can’t fly or jump.  They get around by “hitchhiking,” which is otherwise known as “questing.”  Basically, they cling onto a blade of grass or leaf with their hind legs and rear up, hoping to catch onto whatever brushes past it.

So, that questing will become more of a hassle if these ticks have to trudge through dry-mulch or gravel.

But, if a tick manages to climb on and latch onto you, it’s imperative you pull it off ASAP.  The best way to do that is by gripping as close to your skin and pulling.  Grabbing them anywhere else increases your chance of them regurgitating the contents of its stomach into your bloodstream.  Which increases your risk of getting whatever viruses they’re carrying.

Also, getting a tick throw up in your blood is just gross.

So, be safe and smart this summer.  Ticks are no joke.

 

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