Tick Tock: Time to treat your yard for summer pests

Summer is prime tick season, when you are most likely to be bit by the black-legged tick which carries the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which can cause Lyme disease. These ticks are tiny, about the size of a sesame seed, in their nymphal stage and can be difficult to spot. Still, it’s essential to check yourself, your gear, and your pets for signs of ticks after being outdoors in the summer.

Pennsylvania and Delaware are in the top states nationally with the highest number of Lyme disease cases, with over 300,000 estimated new cases of Lyme disease in the United States each year. Many bites occurring in the yard – not out in the woodsy-wilderness as many assume. You can encounter a tick in your backyard, around your house, in your neighborhood, or anywhere that doubles as a tick habitat.

If you do find a tick, don’t touch it with your bare hand, instead Johns Hopkins Hospital’s website recommends that you:
  1. Use a pair of tweezers to remove the tick. Grab the tick firmly by its mouth or head as close to the skin as possible.
  2. Pull up with slow and steady pressure until it lets go. Don’t twist or squeeze the tick, and don’t use petroleum jelly or a lit match to kill the tick.
  3. Place the tick in a plastic container or a bag for future testing.
  4. Wash the area with soap and water and use an antiseptic lotion or cream on the site.
  5. Call your healthcare provider to find out about follow-up care.
Because of the difficulty of finding black-legged ticks, you should be vigilant for post-bite signs of infection which include the telltale bull’s eye rash, swelling and pain in your joints, and facial nerve palsies.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to fighting ticks, and here are some tips to fight the bite this summer:
  1. Shower within two hours of being outdoors.
  2. Walk in the center of trails, away from tall grass.
  3. Apply a topical insect repellant according to label instructions.
  4. Treat your yard for ticks with Home Paramount’s nuisance abatement summer program.