The threat of ticks never really goes away. Ticks are resilient bugs that can survive in the harshest of climate conditions. One reason is that they live predominantly on warm-blooded mammals. But, in our East Texas service area, they do not need to rely on the warmth of friends to get through the winter. Winters here are usually not cold enough to stop ticks.
Another reason ticks are a year-round concern for East Texas residents is that some ticks are able to complete their entire life cycle inside our homes. We have one of these types of ticks right here in our area. It is the brown dog tick. If you get an infestation of these ticks, it isn’t going to go away on its own.
Two other ticks we deal with a lot in our service area are American dog ticks and blacklegged deer ticks. While these ticks can’t establish themselves in your home the way brown dog ticks can, you could have a permanent infestation if you have an ongoing rodent problem. Mice, rats and other wild animals can go in and out of your home, bringing these two kinds of ticks in each time they go out. And since the weather in East Texas is warm enough year-round for rodents to stay active, the ticks they carry are always a threat.
Common Tick-Borne Diseases
What threat do ticks pose? We don’t want to scare you, but ticks can be really really bad. While every tick that is brought into your home isn’t going to be carrying a disease, the diseases they are associated with are startling. You’ve probably heard of some of them. But, you might not know the full story.
There are many tick diseases that can be fatal and people die from tick-borne illness every year. The worst, by far, is Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF). This is a tick-borne infection, caused by Rickettsia rickettsii, it has a case-fatality rate as high as 30%. Even with treatment, hospitalization rates have been reported to be as much as 72%. The onset of symptoms are often mistaken for the flu or the common cold.
Some other tick-borne diseases that can be fatal include ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, Powassan virus, Bourbon virus, Heartland virus, and Lyme disease. These all come with a wide range of symptoms and medical complications. As many as 400,000 cases of tick-borne illness are reported annually in the United States.
If all this isn’t enough to make you never want to go out of your home again, there are some diseases that can become chronic and lead to lifelong fatigue, neurological issues, and allergies. The most notorious is Lyme disease which is called the great imitator because it can mimic virtually any disease, including chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, bipolar disorder and more. That is some scary stuff.
Tick Bite Prevention
There are many strategies for personal protection.
- Be aware that ticks climb up your body. Wearing bright colors and tucking your pant legs into your socks can prevent attachment.
- Be aware that ticks wait in tall grass to cling to you or your pet as you pass through.
- Be aware that ticks can live in your landscaping.
- Do tick checks when you come in from your yard, especially if you’ve been noticing ticks in your yard. Early detection and removal can prevent the spread of disease.
- If you have pets, make sure they have tick collars. While a flea and tick collar isn’t the end-all for tick control, it helps.
Professional Tick Control
Due to the serious nature of tick-borne diseases, it is essential to invest in a residential pest control plan. When routine treatments are applied to key locations around your home, ticks are unable to hide and wait to get on you, your kids, or your pets. And, since rodents are so closely connected with the introduction of ticks inside homes, be sure to get a plan that includes coverage for rodents. With ongoing monitoring of rodent activity, those rodents won’t be allowed to explore your yard, leave ticks around outside, and chew their way into your home to deposit ticks inside. For assistance with setting up residential service in Tyler Texas, reach out to Innovative Pest Control.