We have a relatively small yard but it’s large enough to have a nice border with large shrubs, trees and ground cover around the perimeter. Those are very attractive features when ticks are looking for a home. They work with tick realtors who show them features like nice high, dense ground cover with shrubs to hide in and trees to climb. Throw in some nice mammals like deer and mice and bingo! You’ve got a deal. From those vantage points they can assault mammals with ease – dropping off trees and climbing legs.
So is the case in my yard. Although I occasionally get one, my poor cat Jake gets them every day. He brings the little hitchhikers into the house on his lustrous fur. No spot treatment kills them until they have bitten into his hide which I work hard to make sure doesn’t happen.
The last few weeks have been especially bad. There is at least one, sometimes two or three to pick off. He is oblivious to all this but loves the extra attention. Occasionally one will get by me and I will see the little bugger walking across a sofa or the floor. I always make sure that visitors don’t see them because it’s….well….gross.
Growing up, we didn’t have ticks. The fields surrounding our house were treated with DDT so we didn’t have much in the way of insects. Actually, it was pretty effective in keeping the human population in check, too.
The first time I saw a tick attached to my cat was about twenty years ago. I took the poor thing to the vet because I thought she had little tumors. I thought the vet would die laughing as he plucked out the ticks one by one.
After I moved from that house, I didn’t have tick trouble until I moved here and put in all that lovely groundcover. At first, picking them off was like….ewwww! Get me a tissue, pullease! Now I just pick off the suckers and kill them with my bare hands (which, by the way, you are not supposed to do.) All I have ever seen here are the big dog ticks, not the lyme disease carriers but you never know what lurks behind lovely green leaves.
Since ticks prefer cooler weather, tick season dies down when the temperature soars. Usually by now we don’t see them as active. Besides that’s when flea season starts! Now I do know how to keep those suckers at bay.
By the way, I don’t live in the country. I am a few blocks outside of city limits with other homes nearby all with manicured lawns.
- Tick Populations Explode in Philadelphia Increasing the Risk of Lyme Disease. Giroud Tree and Lawn Offers Its Top Five Tick Control Strategies (prweb.com)
PS: As I finished writing this post I gave Jake a scratch only to find a tick looking for a meal.