While Upstate New York has consistently seen an increase in Lyme-carrying ticks due to residential expansion into tick territory, many scientists are predicting an additional surge this year as a result of growing mice and deer populations, coupled with a mild winter. In fact, this summer is expected to be worse than usual for tick bites and the spread of Lyme disease, which means it’s more important than ever to take precautions when you and your pets are outside.
In addition to covering up and staying out of the tall grass, here are some practical tick bite prevention tips for Queensbury, Lake George, Saratoga and the rest of Upstate NY.
How to Avoid Tick Bites
Use Insect Repellant – The most effective defense against tick bites is tick-repellant clothing treated with permethrin. The insecticide can be sprayed directly on clothing, camping gear, socks, boots, insect nets, even gardening gloves, and kills ticks after only five to 30 seconds of contact. Permethrin should only be used on clothing, as it is deactivated by the oils in your skin, so apply a bug spray with at least 20% DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) to your skin as a second line of defense.
Stay in the Sun – The outer surface of tick larvae, known as tick nymphs, lose moisture rapidly, which means they need humidity to live. In fact, they cannot survive in environments with lower than 80% humidity for more than eight hours. By planning your outdoor activities during the sunniest hours and placing swing sets and jungle gyms in sunny locations, you can limit tick exposure and reduce the likelihood of tick bites.
Toss Your Clothes in the Dryer – While ticks can survive the wash, a hot dyer is deadly. After high-risk activities, you should remove your clothes and, if you are unable to wash and dry them immediately, give them a tumble in the dryer on high heat for 10 minutes. It’s also wise to do a tick inspection and shower promptly after outdoor activities, even in your own backyard.
Protect Your Pets – Not only are cats and dogs susceptible to tick bites and Lyme disease, but they can carry the unwanted guests into your home where they can bite you and your family. In addition to using year-round tick control products, such as tick collars, sprays, shampoos, chews and topical medications, , give your pet a thorough brushing and inspect them for ticks before bringing them inside.
Treat Your Yard – Regularly remove leaf piles and clear tall grass in your yard, where ticks can lurk. Ticks won’t cross a pile of wood chips or gravel since it drives them out, so use them to create a barrier between wooded areas and your lawn. Just remember not to use mulch around your foundation, where it can lead to termite problems and carpenter ants. You can also apply tick control chemicals to your yard, or they can be applied by a professional pest control expert.
Deter Deer & Mice – Discourage deer from entering your yard, and bringing ticks with them, by planting an herb garden of sage, thyme, rosemary oregano and lavender. Mice are another common carrier of Lyme-carrying ticks, often bringing them into your home. Learn how to get rid of mice in your house, or contact your local mice exterminator to eliminate a mice infestation.
Tick Treatment & Prevention
Although a tick bite is never pleasant, it’s important to remember that it takes ticks several hours to transmit Lyme disease, so early detection and removal is key. To learn more about ticks and Lyme disease, check out our Tick FAQs, and if you would like more information about tick treatments and prevention in Queensbury, Saratoga, Lake George or other parts of Upstate NY, contact Nature’s Way Pest Control for a Free Inspection.