How To Keep Ticks Away From Your Katy, TX Property
Parasites are among the worst types of pests in Katy, Texas. In addition to being annoying and disgusting, parasites are often very dangerous. The local ticks are an example of why parasites are so harmful. Unfortunately, ticks are common pests. If you don't want to deal with ticks and tick bites, you should know a few things.
About The Ticks In Katy
Texas is home to more than one type of tick. Several ticks often make their way into Katy's backyards. Although there are several key differences among these ticks, they all share the trait of being ectoparasites. They feed by drinking the blood of humans and animals.
All of the local ticks have eight legs and no wings. While their body shapes and patterns vary somewhat, they all have oval-shaped bodies and legs that can grasp onto a host. Some ticks are so small that they're easy to miss, but others are more easily visible. Because certain ticks are more dangerous than others, you should know more about each type of tick in Katy.
American Dog Tick: This brownish tick usually has whitish-gray or yellow markings. The markings are somewhat marbled. Although it prefers to feed on dogs, this tick sometimes chooses a human host.
Black-legged Tick: Also known as the deer tick, this species of tick feeds on deer, humans, and pets. It's dark brown in color and has distinctly darker legs, which is where you get the name. With the adults being about the size of a sesame seed, these ticks are difficult to see. The nymphs are only the size of a pinhead.
Brown Dog Tick: It's easy to mistake this tick for the American dog tick. Similar to the American dog tick, this pest prefers to feed on dogs. It's reddish-brown and doesn't have any other noticeable patterns or markings. Typically, it's rare for this tick to feed on humans.
Lone Star Tick: If you're familiar with the lone star flag, you won't have difficulty identifying this tick. It has a white spot on its back that stands out. While females have one bright spot, the males of the species have several more minor white spots. Lone star ticks prefer large mammals to small mammals.
What Makes Ticks In Katy Dangerous?
When a tick bites you, there's a good chance you won't feel it. Ticks aren't dangerous because they deliver a painful bite; they're dangerous because they spread diseases. While a tick feeds on you, it has the potential to spread a dangerous tick-borne illness.
As a Katy resident, you could be susceptible to Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and Lyme disease. Not all ticks carry and transmit diseases, but you never can tell when a tick bite will result in serious illnesses. Lyme disease is particularly hazardous and comes with long-term complications. If you don't treat the condition in the early stages, you could end up with a lifetime of health issues.
Even if you don't become the victim of a tick-borne illness, you could experience a secondary infection. Once a tick embeds itself into your skin, it doesn't want to leave until it's complete. You need to pry the tick off using tweezers, but that could still leave the head of the tick in your skin. No foreign body should remain in your skin, which is another reason ticks are dangerous. You could develop an infection that becomes serious.
What To Do About A Tick Bite
If a tick bites you, act calm. Depending on where the tick is, you may need someone to remove it for you. Use a pair of tweezers to gently pull the parasite out, grasping it as close to your skin as possible. To prevent the tick from breaking, don't jerk or squeeze it. Removing a tick takes a gentle touch, and you should work with a professional if you have concerns about pulling it out.
After you remove the tick from your body, put it in your toilet bowl and flush it. If you put the tick in your garbage pail, it might remain alive and crawl out. It could be a matter of time before you or someone else becomes a host.
It would be best if you were on the lookout for symptoms of illness for a few days and even weeks after a tick bite. In some cases, the symptoms are apparent. One of the tell-tale signs of Lyme disease is a bulls-eye rash. Other signs, like fatigue and nausea, are less noticeable. You might confuse them for a cold or flu. If you don't feel like yourself after a tick bite, call a doctor immediately. They can run tests to determine whether or not you have a tick-borne disease.
Understanding What Ticks Like
If you want to effectively keep ticks away from your Katy property, you need to know more about their habits. Ticks can walk on their own accord but prefer to rely on people and animals to move around. Therefore, ticks often wait on grasses and leaves. Once a suitable host comes by and brushes against the tick, the parasite grasps on and hitches a ride.
You can usually find ticks in thick vegetation, which is why hikers need to be wary of ticks. As fun as it is to traipse through the woods, ticks may be lurking along the trail. But ticks may also be in your backyard. If a squirrel, deer, or mouse has a tick on it, the pest could bring a tick onto your property. Likewise, dogs and cats often carry ticks from one yard to another.
Once ticks are on your property, they could choose you as a host. If you brush up against a grass blade with a tick on it, you could become the tick's next meal. Ticks often look for warm places with moisture, such as the armpit, groin, and scalp. After the Katy parasite picks an ideal spot, it uses two hooks to dig into your skin and attach itself.
The tick eats until it becomes full, and then it drops off. Although it won't eat again right away, the pest could remain in your home and wait for its next meal. You could end up with a serious threat in your household.
Tips For Keeping Ticks Away
No one wants their backyard to be a dangerous place. Think about all the time and money you put into making your yard and home a safe, comfortable haven. By allowing or encouraging ticks in your yard, you undo all the hard work.
Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to keep your property free from ticks. These tips are just what you need to make your yard a less attractive place for ticks:
Tip#1: Use A Tick Preventative On Your Pets
If you have dogs or cats, you should make sure they have a way to stay safe from ticks. Your veterinarian can recommend a tick preventative medication or topical. However, you can also buy these products in stores. If you choose to buy a product on your own, research its effectiveness.
Many of the tick preventatives you can find in stores aren't very effective. If you buy them, only use them as directed. Otherwise, the health of your pet is at stake. Remember that you may want to protect your indoor pets from ticks, as you never know when they will sneak outside.
Even with tick prevention, your pets may be vulnerable. Every so often, check your pets for ticks. Keep in mind that ticks are small and hard to see. You may need to comb them and look closely to find evidence of the parasites.
Tip#2: Clear Your Yard
By cleaning up your yard, you accomplish two things. First, you make your yard less appealing to pests that might be carrying ticks. Rodents are often hosts for ticks, and they are much more likely to come to your property if you have yard debris. Secondly, a clean yard is less appealing to ticks. If you don't have any tall grass or bushes, it's more difficult for ticks to wait for a host. You're less likely to have an encounter with a tick.
To follow this tip, mow your lawn regularly or hire a lawn company to do so. The shorter you keep your lawn, the less likely you are to have ticks. You should also trim back your bushes and keep them far from the walls of your home.
After you tidy up your Katy greenery, clean up your debris piles and dispose of the debris properly. Rodents love piles of twigs and leaves, which means you need to work hard to make your property clear. Your effort goes a long way in protecting yourself.
Finally, don't leave the junk in your yard. As soon as your yard becomes a junk pile, you increase your chance of having ticks in it. Avoid using your yard as a storage facility, or rodents and their parasites will see your yard as their new home.
Tip#3: Keep Rodents Outside
If rodents get into your home, they are likely to bring ticks with them. Therefore, one tick prevention measure is to keep rodents outside. You can accomplish this by sealing up the holes and gaps around your home. When rodents don't have a starting point to chew an opening, they may not invade.
Rodents are also more likely to remain outside if you don't have much food available for them. If you have open food in your pantry, Katy rodents have easy meals. Store your food in thick containers with lids, or rodents can get inside. Instead of keeping open food out on your counters, store it in your fridge or freezer.
Tip#4: Practice Proper Trash Storage
If you have indoor or outdoor trash cans with no lids, rodents might bring ticks into your home or onto your property. An effective way to keep rodents away is to use garbage cans with lids that seal tightly. If you don't use lids or have cans that are overflowing, rodents can get into your garbage at any time.
For proper trash storage, you may need to buy new garbage cans. It's a small investment, but one that can save you from having ticks on your property. Doing so also may protect you from other pest infestations and the long list of trouble that comes with them. If you buy new cans, make sure you don't overfill them. Explain to everyone in your household that the garbage cans should always be closed.
Tip#5: Work With A Licensed Pest Control Company
On your own, it's nearly impossible to keep ticks away. This is because tick prevention entails keeping both ticks and their hosts away. Your pets, wildlife, and your kids can bring ticks onto your property or into your home. Unfortunately, the small size of ticks makes them difficult to see. You may not know you have ticks around until you find one in your skin or you see signs of a tick-borne disease.
For the best results, you should work with an experienced professional. You need someone who understands tick behavior and what attracts them. Furthermore, you need someone who has access to the right tools for tick prevention and elimination. Without professional assistance, you can't be sure that ticks will stay away.
Here at Modern Pest Control, we've spent years dealing with the various pests in Katy. We've seen many people suffer at the hands of ticks, and we don't want to see that happen to you. All of our technicians receive ongoing training and have access to the best methods of pest control. Additionally, they are dedicated to keeping you happy and safe.
If you want to receive ongoing home pest control protection against ticks, call us at Modern Pest Control. Schedule your first appointment with us and get the peace of mind that your yard is safe.