NOTTick season has arrived here per the Indiana State Department of Health. Last year, over 250 tick-borne cases were reported in Indiana… including Lyme disease, babesiosis, and ehrlichiosis.
How to Check for Ticks on You or Your Kids
You don’t have to be out in the deep brush to pick up ticks, they’re right in your backyard. Give us a call if you’d like to treat against ticks. Pets are highly susceptible to picking up a tick or two each season so its imperative that you keep an eye out for them. If you or your kids spend time outside, the CDC recommends that you check your body for ticks in the following places:
- In and around your hair and ears
- Under the arms, between the legs, in the backs of the knees, and around the waist
- Inside the belly button
If you check for ticks immediately, you can often just remove them because they’re still traveling and not actually embedded in your skin. Her’es a great video where tick expert Kateryn Rochon explains how to check:
How to Check for Ticks on Your Pets
Since pets are outside every day, you should get in the habit of checking your pet for ticks every day, too. Brush your fingers through their hair trying to feel any small bumps. Don’t forget to check behind their ears, around their eyelids, under the collar, under their armpits, around the tail, between their toes of their paws (Yea, dogs have toes!), and in the genital region.
How to Remove a Tick
Within hours of embedding their head into the skin, ticks begin to transmit any pathogens they’re carrying. That’s why it’s so important to not waste time and immediately remove any ticks. If they aren’t embedded, just pick them off and get rid of them. Since you picked up one, you should fully inspect yourself looking for others.
If you find a tick and it’s already feeding on you, you have to be extremely careful in their removal. Many people make the mistake of pulling them out, but the problem is that they have barbs like harpoons in their mouth. You pull off the body and the head stays… still infecting and still trying to feed.
There are quite a few methods of tick removal out on the web, but one that’s tried and true is to arm yourself with a tick removal tool. You can find one on Amazon for just a few bucks (buy it today so you have it when you need it!)
Tick removal tools are specially designed so that the claw grabs the head of the tick and they can be twisted out of the skin.
NOTE: Don’t use nail polish or petroleum jelly to try and make the tick detach. The CDC advises that this is folklore and you’re putting yourself in more danger of being infected. You want the tick out as quickly as possible.
After you remove the tick, clean the bite area and your hands with soap and water, rubbing alcohol, or iodine. Within days or as late as months later, you may experience symptoms of lyme disease – headaches, dizziness, stiffness, fever, chillse, fatigue, and body aches. If you see a rash around the bite area or have any of these symptoms, you should immediately make an appointment with a health professional.
Don’t forget to get rid of the tick! Don’t crush it, just flush it down the toilet.
Your flower beds are not the only things to enjoy the higher temperatures and increased rainfall this time of year. Springtails also thrive in these warm, wet conditions. Springtails, fittingly named for their jumping behavior, are tiny insects that typically live in moist soil. They are present year round, but populations typically spike in early spring where they can overflow into your pool, patio or even into your home. Springtails do not bite or sting, and are therefore harmless to people. However, because Springtails jump when disturbed, they can easily be confused with fleas and can become a major nuisance pest indoors.
Springtails are very small, wingless insects about 1/16 of an inch long. They can vary in color from white to blue, grey or black depending on the species. Springtails prefer to live and breed in moist soil and leaf litter where they feed on decaying organic material, fungi, molds and algae. Their natural feeding behavior serves an important role in our ecosystem because springtails break down old plant material, helping in decomposition and returning important nutrients to the soil. Weather conditions play an important role in why springtails may move out of their typical soil environment. Springtails need just the right amount of moisture to survive. If their habitat becomes too dry or to wet, springtails will seek out more favorable conditions. This can lead to tremendous numbers of springtails moving onto higher ground, which can often include your home.
Once inside, Springtails continue their search for moisture where they commonly end up in rooms with high humidity such as bathrooms or damp basements. Although these areas may be humid, Springtails often die once inside the home unless a leaky pipe or similar moisture source is found. The key to avoiding an indoor invasion of Springtails is to focus on sealing the home and reducing moisture conditions.
Outside, check for windows and doors that may not close completely, or plumbing and utility penetrations that may need to be sealed. Also, eliminate breeding sites such as areas with excessive mulch or leaf litter. Pay special attention to low spots around your yard that may collect water, and avoid over watering shaded areas that may not dry as quickly. If a crawl space is present, ensure that the space has adequate ventilation. Inside the home, be sure that door sweeps provide a tight seal, and that leaky pipes or other sources of water leaks are corrected immediately. Potted plants can also serve as an indoor breeding site for Springtails. Therefore, avoid over watering plants to keep moisture levels low, and always inspect outdoor potted plants for signs of Springtails before bringing the plants inside.
Remember, the presence of Springtails can be an early warning sign of moisture issues that could attract pests and lead to costly water damage, so be sure to let us know if you have noticed Springtails in or around your home
We wanted to put an alert out to our central Indiana homeowners and business-owners that we’re seeing some pest issues earlier this year than we normally are. Specifically, we’re already seeing issues with:
- Wood Bees – also known as Carpenter Bees, these are large black and yellow bees that resemble bumblebees. Carpenter bees aren’t fuzzy, though, and have a black, shiny abdomen. The male ones are annoying but don’t have stingers and the female ones will only sting if you irritate them. Don’t… just call us before they start munching away at any untreated or exposed wood on your home.
- Wasps – you just don’t want to mess with wasps! When you actually succeed in killing a wasp, they release a pheromone that attracts more… and with hundreds of wasps typically hanging out, you’re going to wind up running into the house for safety. Give us a call before they begin building their nest.
- Ants – we’ve got a warning below that ants are on the way thanks to the early, warmer, spring.
- Ticks – along with ants, ticks look like they’re going to hit early as well. Keep an eye on your children and animals and inspect them before they come in the house. Tick-borne diseases in the United States include Lyme disease, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, anaplasmosis, Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness, Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever, and tularemia.
According to PestWorld.org:
Winter Recap: Uncommonly warmer temperatures across the region, with sporadic extreme weather including damaging winds, hail, and heavy snowfall. An abnormally warm spring could give tick populations an early boost. Expect the drier spring and summer weather to increase ant activity around homes earlier into the season than previous years.
Click on the image below to see it in full size: