PETERS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — The warning from state officials is loud and clear. Every county in Pennsylvania is vulnerable to Lyme disease, borne by the blacklegged tick.
But before you can get bitten and infected, the ticks have to make their way into your world, and more specifically your yard. There are things you can do to severely reduce your tick\Lyme disease risk.
“Ticks don’t jump, they don’t have wings, they don’t fly, and they don’t climb trees and drop down on top of you,” says Ehrlich Pest Control Entomologist Chad Gore, Ph.D.
Instead, Dr. Gore says the blacklegged tick is the ultimate hitchhiker and every breathing mammal provides them with a blood meal and a free ride. Deer are their favorite mode of transportation.
“They are a huge mammal that goes through the woods and grasses,” says Dr. Gore, “and they’ll pick up and drop off ticks all over the place.”
Hiring a professional to treat your yard for tick prevention may be the most effective line of attack, but there are products you can buy to treat your own yard.
“Coming out here and spraying the yard down will not have much of a dramatic effect on what you’re trying to do,” Dr. Gore explained as we walked through a yard in Peters Township.
Ticks jump off their host when they’ve taken in enough blood and live in the grasses and underbrushes of your yard until they are hungry again.
Dr. Gore says they then climb to the top of the grass blades – use their carbon dioxide sensors to detect your approach or your pet – then jump aboard as you brush past.
So Dr. Gore says you need to treat the areas where they choose to layover:
- Keep your gas cut short
- Clean out yard debris and litter
- Treat compost piles
- Treat mulch beds
- Treat shaded areas under trees, especially those partially hidden by low hanging branches
- If you can’t keep the deer out of your yard, observe their habits and treat areas where they commonly feed or bed down for the night.
And finally, one treatment will not be enough. April is the prime time for treatment, but with April comes rain and the treatments will wash off. So after an extended rain a retreatment will be needed.