Tips on dealing with ticks

By Keenan Bishop Published:

We’ve heard a lot of folks commenting on the abnormally high number of ticks this year.

There was hope that the extremely cold temperatures last winter would have reduced the population of this creature with very few predators, but apparently not.

Summer is the time we like to spend in the great outdoors. It’s a fact that ticks like hot weather; therefore, they are also outside this time of year. I thought this would be a good time to learn a little more about this arachnid so I went to University of Kentucky’s entomologist Mike Potter for the details. He wrote:

Ticks are parasites that get their nutrients from you or your pet’s blood. Unfortunately, they are also excellent transmitters for many diseases.

Ticks prefer to live in woods, tall grass, weeds and brush. They climb onto low vegetation and attach to suitable hosts that pass by, including pets and people.

Ticks are seldom a problem in well-maintained lawns although edges of property supporting tall weeds and brush can be a source of infestation. The best way to avoid acquiring ticks is through prevention.

Avoid walking through uncut fields, brush and other areas likely to harbor ticks. When hiking or picnicking in these areas, wear long pants tucked into socks and consider using tick repellents. Walk in the center of mowed trails to avoid brushing up against vegetation.

Inspect yourself, family members and pets after being in tick-infested areas, and promptly remove any ticks that are found. Ticks most often attach at the neck and scalp. Use the method of removal described below.

Keep grass and shrubs in your yard trimmed, and clear overgrown vegetation from edges of your property. Ticks avoid direct sunlight and will not infest areas that are well maintained.

Free-roaming pets are much more likely to become infested with ticks than are those which are confined. Pets may be treated with insecticide dips or sprays, although these products generally lose effectiveness in about a week.

What’s the best way to remove an attached tick?

Using fine-point tweezers, grasp the tick just behind the point of attachment and pull slowly and steadily until the tick is dislodged. Vaseline, matches and other alternate methods of removal should be avoided. Wash the bite area, apply antiseptic and cover with a bandage.

For more details on ticks, the diseases they transmit and treating areas for control, contact the Franklin County Extension Office, 101 Lakeview Court, 502-695-9035 and ask for Entfact-618.

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