Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Tick Pest Control Explained

Like fleas, ticks are parasites on warm blooded animals. The adult female tick must consume a blood meal to have the nutrients required for egg production. She may lay as many as 10,000 eggs in one big batch. The female tick dies shortly after laying her eggs.

Unlike fleas, ticks are not insects. Ticks belong to a group called the Arachnids. They are closely related to spiders, crabs, lobsters and other crustaceans. Ticks may have 8 legs or 6 legs depending on their stage of development. They are some of nature's toughest creatures. Ticks have been know to live for well over a year without eating while they patiently wait for a host animal to come into contact so they can "hitch a ride" and find their meal.

Ticks can be a serious health-related pest. Ticks are capable of transmitting several serious conditions. Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, and some other lesser known conditions are directly related to tick bites.

Brown dog ticks are a fairly common pest problem in central California. These ticks rarely attack humans, but they can be a very serious problem for our pets. If you are dealing with a tick problem you would be wise to hire a good professional. Do-it-yourself tick control is a tough path to follow.

Long-term control requires excellent cooperation and communication between the pest control technician and the property owner. Pesticide applications by themselves will probably not deliver a satisfactory level of control.

Elimination of harborage areas is critical. By keeping the grass and weeds in the yard cut short any ticks will be exposed to more sunlight and desiccation will kill or discourage many of them. Elimination of stored firewood, brush-piles and clutter will reduce areas where ticks can hide safely from pesticide applications. General clean-up of the yard will also reduce the number of other mammals in the area, such as opossums, squirrels, rats, etc. These animals may introduce fresh populations of ticks and fleas into the yard. Keeping them at bay will reduce the number of ticks your pest control technician has to contend with.

Along with clean-up and mowing, it is essential that pets be treated to kill any ticks on them. We suggest you take your pets to a professional such as a veterinarian or professional groomer who is equipped and trained to treat your pets.

There are several very good materials available for the professional pest control operator to apply that will kill exposed stages of ticks and provide a reasonable degree of residual control. Periodic services of the yard and continued good sanitation practices will usually provide a very good level of tick control in the yard. You can help maintain control by restricting your pet's access to areas where they may encounter new ticks and by using a good quality flea/tick collar. (Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation.) 

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