With increasing reports of ticks and Lyme Disease activity in Cincinnati and the surrounding areas, it’s important to know the facts. We wanted to provide a guide to ticks so that you can realistically address these concerns and know if there is anything that can be done to protect your family and pets.
In this article, we’ll aim to uncover some of the most common questions when it comes to ticks and dangerous diseases that these pests can carry. You likely have many questions when it comes to the tick problem in Ohio. Some common questions include:
- How serious is the tick problem in Ohio?
- Where will I encounter ticks around my home?
- How likely is it that ticks are near my home carry disease?
- Is there anything I can do to protect my family and pets?
- Can I get rid of ticks and keep them off of my property?
- What should I do if I find a tick on a pet or family member?
Learning more about ticks and challenging misconceptions you may have, will help you and your family to stay safe while still being able to enjoy the beautiful outdoors.
Ticks in Ohio: A Serious Concern
Ticks are most active from April to September, but it’s important to take preventative measures all year long – particularly in areas that can occasionally experience a warmer winter.
In nature, young ticks first prey upon small rodents and then start to move onto larger mammals such as dogs, deer and humans.
Over the past decade, ticks have become a growing concern in Ohio, as their habitat has transitioned from less developed areas to many spots around the home and populations have skyrocketed.
Throughout the past ten years, an increasing number of cases of tick-borne diseases in Ohio have been well documented.
Do All Ticks Carry Diseases?
Most ticks do not carry diseases, but some species of ticks are more likely to transmit diseases, which can result in illness or death. Even though most ticks you may encounter won’t carry disease, that doesn’t mean that it still isn’t a possible issue you should dismiss.
There are several tick species to be aware of in Cincinnati. The common varieties include the very common American Dog tick, the Brown Dog Tick, the Blacklegged Tick (also known as the Deer Tick and most notorious for carrying the most serious diseases), and the Lone Star Tick.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, tick-borne diseases in Ohio include:
- Lyme disease (carried by Deer Ticks)
- Powassan virus (carried by Deer Ticks)
- Anaplasmosis (carried by Deer Ticks)
- Babesiosis (carried by Brown Dog Ticks)
- Ehrlichiosis (carried by Brown Dog and Lone Star Ticks)
- Spotted fever rickettsiosis, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever (carried by American Dog and Lone Star Ticks)
- Tularemia (carried by American Dog and Lone Star Ticks)
Most tick bites on humans often result in inflammation, swelling, irritation and the potential for a bacterial infection at the feeding site. These bites can lead you to experience fever or flu-like symptoms. If these problems occur, contact your healthcare professional immediately.
The most serious tick-borne illnesses that can occur is Lyme Disease from the bite of an infected Deer Tick. This disease can present with rashes, headaches, fevers, and possibly result in arthritis, neurological, or cardiac disorders. The sooner this condition is identified by a healthcare professional, the more successful the treatment can be.
Dogs (and other pets) can also become infected with some tick-borne illnesses. Your pets may become lethargic, anemic or stop eating. Any pet that displays these symptoms should be examined by a veterinarian.
As you can see, ticks are a serious concern on virtually every residential property in the Cincinnati area. Even if you cannot recall finding ticks around your home, doesn’t mean they’re not there. It’s important that you’re vigilant and take preventative measures to help protect your family from ticks.
Tips for Protecting Your Home, Family and Pets From Ticks
Many homeowners are unaware of the rise of ticks in their population and confused about how their family members or pets are picking up ticks. The first part of tick prevention is understanding the places where you may encounter ticks around your home.
There are many misconceptions regarding where ticks live. The reality is that ticks will be in areas where they can find a host to feed on. If it seems like a spot where a rodent could hide, you’re likely in a tick habitat.
Common Areas Where Ticks Live
- Wooded areas
- Fields with tall grasses and vegetation
- Low-growing plants such as groundcovers and perennials
- Shrubs and low tree branches
- Rock walls and wood piles
Since it’s not practical or even possible to eliminate every possible habitat, it’s important to be very aware of these nearby hot spots. Being unaware of these likely habitats could lead to a serious potential to harm you and your family’s health.
By focusing on tick prevention in these likely habitats, you can reduce the chances of picking up ticks.
Tick Prevention Tips
Since you may frequently spend time in these habitats, there are a number of preventive measures you should take.
Keep Yourself Covered: When spending a long time outdoors in tick hot spots, wear long sleeves, pants, long socks and boots to protect yourself from ticks.
Use Insect Repellents: When spending time in tick habitats, use a repellent containing 20 percent of more DEET. This will help protect you for several hours. Remember to always follow the product instructions, especially when applying it to children.
If you’re looking for a natural tick repellent, you can mix essential oils with a water or oil base. The CDC lists rosemary, lemongrass, cedar, peppermint, thyme and geraniol essential oils as effective natural tick repellents. Although not quite as powerful as DEET, spraying an essential oil mix on your body and clothes may help to keep ticks away.
Check Your Clothing and Body After Coming Indoors: Even if you use an insect repellent, be sure to check your clothing and body for ticks after coming inside – especially if you spent time in a potentially tick-infested area. Use the buddy system for this, as there are a lot of areas that you can’t easily see on your own.
Areas to check include under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, back of the knees, in and around your hair, between the legs and around the waist.
Check your kids, and have adults help one another do these clothing checks. Also, turn your clothes inside out and inspect them for ticks.
If you find a tick, remove it by grasping it with tweezers as close to the skin as possible, and pull it straight out. Learn more about properly removing a tick by visiting the Center for Disease Control’s website.
Take a Shower: Showering within a couple hours after coming indoors can help reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease. Showering may also wash off unattached ticks and provides you with a good opportunity to do a tick check.
Use Tick Prevention Products on Pets: Using tick control products on your pets will help prevent them from bringing ticks into your home. Since it’s easy to forget, develop a routine to regularly apply these topical tick treatments to protect your pets.
Always consult your veterinarian first before starting tick control products, and be sure to use these products according to the directions on the package.
Getting Rid of Ticks in Your Cincinnati Lawn
Even with the best preventive measures, you will still come in contact with ticks outdoors. Many of these areas are common to residential properties. Tick treatments for your yard are an effective way to reduce the number of ticks on your property.
When done by a professional, the materials used for tick yard treatments in Cincinnati can not only target ticks, but also can provide help with ants and fleas on your property. These applications are timed so that you can enjoy a safer property with less nuisance pests all year long.
You don’t need to hide away in your home! It is possible to still spend time outdoors without risking the health of your family and pets. By being better informed, taking the proper precautions, and finding help to regularly reduce ticks on your property, you can live life to the fullest.
Oasis Turf & Tree’s ant, flea and tick program can effectively reduce these pests from their common hiding spots on your property. The five-step application begins in late spring and goes through early fall when ticks are most active.
Stop worrying about pests, and start enjoying your backyard. Learn more about how Oasis Turf & Tree can help you get rid of ticks on your property in either Cincinnati, Dayton, or Northern Kentucky by requesting a free estimate.
Image sources: deer tick