It’s fall, which in the Hudson Valley, means a lot of things.
It means changing colors and a chill in the air.
It means apple cider and pumpkin spice lattes (and Oktoberfest beers!).
It means cozy nights with family and friends around the fire pit.
It means seizing the opportunity to get outside and enjoy fall’s crispness as much as possible before what might be one of New York and Connecticut’s snowiest winters in years.
But while you’re celebrating autumn’s return, a familiar but very dangerous pest is gathering strength: the tick.
Fall conditions are a perfect breeding ground for ticks, who love warmth and can find plenty of places to hide out in the autumn months, including the piles of leaves children love to play in after the grown-ups spend hours raking them up.
And of course, ticks aren’t just pesky. They can also carry diseases like Lyme disease and Powassan, which can be life threatening if left untreated.
Fortunately, vigilant homeowners can easily protect their families from tick bites and the diseases that can result from them.
Here are five steps you can take to keep ticks at bay.
Tick prevention tip #1: use professional-grade chemicals
Most professional lawn care companies, including Neave LawnCare, offer tick prevention sprays. Most of Neave’s sprays take place during spring and fall, though homeowners who notice ticks in summer may want to do three sprays per year.
Chemicals are your best line of defense against tenacious ticks! For families who are wary of chemical applications, especially when they see lawn care crews in masks, boots, protective gear and elbow-length gloves, it’s important to remember that these crews are around these materials full-time.
These chemicals, once dry (usually within a couple of hours), are safe for you, your family, and pets to be around.
Tick prevention tip #2: clear away fallen leaves
Ticks gravitate to warmth, and piles of decomposing leaves, recently pruned brush and tree branches can be a perfect breeding ground for them. It’s important to clear that debris as quickly as possible before ticks make a home inside of them.
And if you need to collect leaves and brush before a neighborhood pickup, be sure to keep that material as far away from your home (and any other areas where people might gather) as possible.
And if your kids enjoy jumping in those piles of leaves you’ve spent so much time raking up? Maybe they’d enjoy a nice trip to the pumpkin patch or playground instead.
Tick prevention tip #3: be vigilant in heavily wooded areas
Going for a hike or spending time out in nature? Be sure to cover your arms and legs, wear a hat and wear insect repellent when you head out.
And, of course, check yourself and the kids when you return! If you find a tick, hang on to it. Not all ticks carry disease, and your doctor will be able to run a simple blood test on the pest to find out whether you’re at risk.
Tick prevention tip #4: safeguard your pets
Just like fleas, ticks also love your furry friends. They’re warm, a nice place to feed, and can provide transport into your home. There are plenty of tick-prevention solutions out there for pets that are worth exploring.
The second ticks make it inside your home, you could have much bigger problems on your hands.
Tick prevention tip #5: be proactive!
The plant health professionals at Neave LawnCare can help add tick prevention to your comprehensive landscape care program. Our team can help fulfill all your lawn care needs, including protecting your home and family from potentially disease-carrying ticks.
With the risks of tick-borne viruses and diseases at an all-time high, this is a call you can’t afford not to make!
Image credit: timsackton