Whether you’ve got pets that you take outside or you just like to spend a lot of time outdoors in North Carolina’s mild weather, ticks are a serious concern for the residents of Durham. With eight legs and coloring ranging from reddish-brown to black, these blood-feeding pests can bring life-threatening diseases.
Not every single tick is infected with a life-threatening disease, but these pests are the most common vector for Lyme disease. While a tick bite isn't guaranteed to spread Lyme disease, ticks can carry it and transmit it to you if they are infected.
Since tick season tends to be all-year-round for Durham residents, it’s essential to understand how to protect yourself and your pets. Here’s what you should know about how ticks find their hosts, what to do if you spot a tick, and what you can do to reduce tick populations around your property.
How Do Ticks Attach To Their Hosts In Durham, NC?
Unlike some pests, ticks aren’t able to fly or jump, so they find their hosts by “questing”. When they’re outside, ticks hide in tall grass or tree branches, using their third and fourth legs to hold onto a blade of grass or branch. Their first pair of legs are always outstretched, waiting to grab onto a host as soon as they detect a shadow, breath, or body odor from you or your pet.
Once they’ve found a host, ticks attach quickly with that first pair of legs, and they’ll use the hook-like ends on their “hands” to dig into your skin. This prevents ticks from being detached very easily.
For humans, you may overlook the tick bite initially – especially if they’ve wandered onto a well-hidden part of your body. If they can manage it, ticks prefer warmer, moist parts on their hosts – like near your hair, your groin, or even your armpit.
Unlike most bug bites, ticks don’t detach after they’ve sunk their hooks into you. Ticks will continue to stick to your body, drawing blood for up to ten days. Once they’ve fed enough, some engorged ticks may detach themselves and move onto the next host.
How To Spot Signs Of Lyme Disease
When it comes to spotting the signs of Lyme disease, symptoms can vary – but most of the time, you want to look for:
- A rash that continues to spread after the tick has detached from your skin and may resemble a bulls-eye pattern
- Symptoms like fever, chills, body aches, neck stiffness, and swollen lymph nodes that persist for days after the bite
- Severe headaches and loss of facial muscle tone on one or both sides
- Nerve pain and/or numbness in hands and feet
If you have any concerning symptoms and think you may have been exposed to a tick bite, it's important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
How To Spot & Remove A Tick In Durham, NC
Whether you're dealing with a Lyme disease-infected tick or just a regular tick bite, it’s important to remove the tick as soon as you spot it. Symptoms of any tick bite include:
- A burning sensation at the site of the bite
- A rash that spreads around the bite
- Swelling or pain at the site of the bite
Removing ticks early is crucial, not just to prevent further blood loss but also to decrease the risk of a tick-borne illness. The longer they’re attached to your skin, the greater the chance that an infected tick will spread Lyme disease or another tick-borne disease.
If you’ve spent a lot of time outdoors, especially in wooded areas where ticks may be more prevalent, it’s always important to check yourself, your family members, or your pets for possible tick bites. As an added precaution, showering in hot water and throwing your clothes in a hot dryer can also prove effective for dealing with ticks that may have attached to your clothing.
How To Reduce Ticks Around Your Durham Property
While you may not be able to eliminate ticks completely, there are a couple of ways to reduce their presence around your property, including:
- Mow your lawn frequently to get rid of tall grassy areas where ticks may be hiding.
- Get rid of yard debris, including leaf litter and low-hanging branches.
- Keep your playground far away from the edges of your yard or tree line.
- Create a 3' wide barrier with gravel or wood chips between wooded areas and your lawn to prevent tick migration.
While the tips above are great preventative measures, the most effective way to reduce tick populations is with professional help – like those of us at The Eco Man Pest Solutions, LLC. With our effective, eco-friendly pest control solutions, we can treat your yard for ticks with non-toxic treatments that are safe for your entire family.
If you’re constantly dealing with tick bites every time you venture outside, call us at The Eco Man Pest Solutions, LLC. to find out more about how we may be able to help. We also offer commercial pest control to local businesses.
Kevin and his team at Eco Man came in and treated my many rental properties for an affordable flat fee per unit. They did a great job and are now coming Quarterly. My Tenants love the smell of the essential oils. Thanks