Recently, there has been a boom in reported cases of Lyme disease: ticks are no joke – be careful as they can easily infect you with Lyme and several other diseases as well, if you’re not cautious to prevent them biting you, or to properly remove them if they do.
In the year 2013, Lyme disease was shown to be extremely common in the North-eastern part of the U.S., ranging from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania and all up the East Coast. These numbers show that the little pest can be quite a problem in areas such as these. The state of Massachusetts, for instance, is completely covered in blue, in the map showing a blue dot on a white map for every case confirmed.
What can be done to prevent such outbreaks? Well, doctors agree that it all comes down to a bit of domestic discipline. The issue at hand is that people still do not know how best to deal with ticks. Mainly, they have no idea of how dangerous they can be, there is no knowledge of how to prevent these critters jumping into your yard and then on you or on your pets, and especially people seem to have strangely imaginative ideas on removing them.
Though it may seem unlikely that after such a winter, the ticks of the U.S. have survived. Yet, so much snow has apparently helped them survive, instead of killing them off. Ticks need heat, obviously, but also prefer moist environments and need to have a source of nutrients to feed of when they don’t inflate their bodies 13 times their size with blood.
So in the winter, the pests search for piles of dead leaves leftover from the recently passed autumn. After they have found an appropriate spot, they like to take shelter underneath the leaves. This way they have something to eat for the whole of the cold season, as well as the leaves providing a good guard against the cold. The gathering snow further encloses this environment and protects it from the cold.
So, this cannot be prevented. But what you can do is burn up all the remaining leaves just before going into winter. Furthermore, you have to keep your garden clean and orderly. And a great step in defense from ticks is to put some rubble all around your grassy backyard. Ticks only like to travel on grass, and will avoid dryness for fear of getting stuck there.
Also, if a tick bites you, don’t try to burn it, or take it out with a needle. A pair of tweezers will do just fine.
Always use tweezers to remove ticks by grabbing the part that is closest to the skin, without squishing the bug. If the head remains in, you should really see a doctor ASAP.
Image source: doh.wa.gov