Protect Your Home With Winter Flea and Tick Prevention
- December 21, 2020
It’s that time of the year where we happily put away our lawn tools and park the lawnmower for the last time. But as we put the stress of summer behind us and begin to spend more time with our families there are still two things that can threaten our homes; Fleas and ticks. After winter arrives we tend to think that it kills off all the creepy crawly insects. But that’s not the case with fleas and ticks. The deer tick, for example, can survive in temperatures as low as 30 degrees. That makes flea and tick prevention in Kentucky a year-round job.
In Kentucky, the most common types of ticks are the lone star tick and the American dog tick. Bites from these ticks are usually harmless and may cause itching, a small percentage of ticks carry diseases. Even though incidences of the tick-borne disease remains low in Kentucky, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take your eye off the ball.
The female lone star tick has a white spot on her back and is about the size of a pencil eraser. Lone star ticks can transmit ehrlichiosis, a disease that can cause fever, headache, chills, muscle pain, and in some cases a rash. If not treated properly, it can be fatal.
The American dog tick is reddish-brown with white markings on the back. It is about the size of a pencil eraser. These ticks can carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which can cause sudden onset of fever and headache 2 to 14 days after being bitten.
Ticks are tiny, about the size of a pinhead before they engorge themselves on blood. Tick bites are not painful and usually, you won’t feel a thing. If you have pets that spend time outside then they can still be at risk of ticks even in the winter. It’s best to check your pets regularly after they come back inside. Check under the fur near the ears, eyes, head, and feet.
Sometimes you may have to come face to face with a tick. When this happens you need to remove the tick in a timely but calm manner.
Once you have identified the tick you need to remove it as soon as possible. The longer the tick is attached, the higher the risk that it may transmit disease. Start by using tweezers and grasping the tick as close to the skin as possible. Then pull straight out with gentle, even pressure. Do not squish the tick. Wash your hands with soap and water afterward and clean the area with an antiseptic.
Fleas are less tolerant of the cold but once inside they can reanimate and begin their life cycle. Unlike ticks, fleas will choose the blood of your pets over yours. Fleas have a short lifespan but they can reproduce very quickly, especially in a nice warm house. Getting rid of fleas involves a diligent effort of constant cleaning, washing, and vacuuming to ensure every flea and every egg is gone. It’s a very difficult task which is why we recommend protecting yourself from fleas before it becomes an issue.
After you or your pets have spent any time outdoors, do a thorough check for ticks using a mirror. Hotspots to check are behind the knees, under the arms, around the waist, on the neck, and head. To kill ticks on your clothes just toss them in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes.
Natural ingredients like apple cider vinegar, garlic, lemongrass, citronella, and lavender are despised by fleas and can prevent them from coming into your home.
The number one method fleas and ticks enter your home is on your pets. That’s why it is so important to give your pets a bath more than once in a while. Use a flea comb to check for fleas and check the neck, head, and behind the ears for stragglers.
At Farison Lawn Care we aren’t just experts in lawn care. We are also experts at dealing with fleas and ticks. Without the flea and tick program, we will create an invisible barrier that will keep these pests from getting close to your home. Our highly-trained staff will identify areas that are prone to fleas and ticks and come up with a plan for you.