With summertime approaching here in Maryland, more outdoor play, hiking, gardening and other outdoor activities are on the horizon. Unfortunately, tick bites are also growing more likely. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 300,000 people each year in the United States catch Lyme disease.
At Royal Greens, we are proud to offer our very own tick control services. But there are also ways for you to help yourself avoid these nasty critters, beyond the old-standby advice to “cover up and avoid tall grass”. From wood chips to a quick ride in the dryer, here are 10 ways to avoid tick bites.
- Buy The Right Clothing
Permethrin, the insecticide found in antimalarial bed nets, kills adult ticks as well as those in their larval stage, called nymphs, which are the likeliest to harbor Lyme disease. Ideally, people should buy permethrin-treated clothing, socks, and shoes.
- Be Vigilant At Home
It’s estimated that 3/4 of people pick up ticks in activities in and around the home – with children’s play and gardening being some of the riskiest activities. Parents should make sure to do tick checks on children when they come indoors.
- Stay In The Sun
Ticks have leaky cuticles (outer covers) that rapidly lose moisture. As a result, they can’t survive in environments with lower than 80% humidity for more than eight hours. As a result, ticks congregate in leaf piles in shady, humid environments. Therefore, sticking to sunny areas can reduce tick exposure.
- Change Your Landscape
Most ticks around homes stay within a few yards of the interface between the yard and a wooded area. To keep your Maryland lawn tick-free, use landscaping that deters mice, deer and other rodents that carry ticks. Removing tick-friendly habitats such as leaf piles, shrubs, and groundcover near the house will also help. Any playsets should also be kept in the sun, away from the shade.
- Check Your Dog
Although American dog ticks don’t usually harbor diseases that sicken people, the lone star tick can often hitchhike on a pet into the home. Therefore, pet owners should check pets for the bugs as soon as they come indoors.
- Lighten Up
Nymphal ticks are about the size of a poppy seed, so if you wear lighter-colored clothing (socks, lighter-colored pants, etc), you are going to have an easier time spotting them.
- Quick Dry Clothing
Ticks can actually survive your washing machine, and people who have to both wash and dry their clothes may just toss their clothing into a pile for later. Therefore, it’s better to do a quick dry cycle immediately than to let the tick linger.
- Shower & inspect
After high-risk activities, it is advised that people take their clothes off and do a tick inspection and then shower. People who are in the habit of showering immediately after outdoor activities are less likely to get Lyme disease because any biting ticks can be caught before they’ve transmitted the disease.
And there you have it! We hope that these tips help you have a safe and fun time in the outdoors this summer!