When the summer sun begins to disappear, a lot of animals and insects do too. As colder temperatures begin to arrive many animals will be busy building their food reserves in preparation for winter. Insects may not stockpile food, but their behaviour changes. They try to find shelter and warmth. If they manage to do that inside your home, you’ll quickly discover that you have a pest control problem.
Ticks aren’t an insect you can ignore – even in winter. Tick season may be coming to an end but it doesn’t mean that you should let your guard down. These small and dangerous bugs are still active throughout fall and if they burrow their way into your skin, there can be long-lasting consequences.
Why Ticks Are Still Active
If like many people, you thought ticks were no longer active into the colder months, then you were wrong. Even after the first frost has arrived ticks remain active, and you should be cautious of their presence. In fact, throughout Canada, many unsuspecting victims are increasingly reporting the discovery of ticks in winter.
Ticks don’t die during winter and they’re capable of surviving frosty temperatures. They don’t hibernate either. Instead, they enter a period of minimum activity, a sort of diapause. Metabolic rate is reduced and as little energy as possible is spent. Since some tick species enter this diapause sooner than others, it means that there is less competition when it comes to finding a host. Couple that with less awareness of the presence of ticks and they have a much higher chance of going unnoticed.
Ticks and Lyme Disease
Blacklegged ticks are the most common carrier of the bacteria which causes Lyme Disease. 40-60% of black-legged ticks carry that bacteria and if your bite goes unnoticed, it could become very serious. Ticks burrow into your skin to feed, normally with half of their body submerged. If they manage to go unnoticed for more than 36 hours, the symptoms of Lyme Disease may begin to develop. Normally a red rash is left around the bite, but this could be days after the bite. For this reason, it’s important to remove a tick as soon as possible – preferably within 24 hours.
If it’s diagnosed quickly, Lyme Disease can be treated. Without treatment, the disease quickly becomes complicated and can have long-lasting implications on your health. When it comes to ticks, the best form of defense is prevention.
How to Avoid Ticks
Just because there are still ticks it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself outdoors. Even when they remain active, there are simple habits you can adopt to reduce your chances of finding a tick on you or your pet. Follow some of these tips and they’re sure to help:
- Wear long sleeves and light-colored clothing. This keeps your skin covered and also means that if a tick finds its way onto your clothing, you have a better chance of being able to spot it.
- Ticks are normally found around knee-height in wooded and bushy areas. They can’t fly, jump or crawl particularly quickly. Take care moving through these areas and also perform a check afterward.
- Use an effective insect repellent and make sure DEET is present.
- Be sure to perform regular checks on your pets and on yourself. If you spot a tick, remove it as soon as possible.
They aren’t the most common pests, but ticks can also find their way into your home and workplace to create a pest control problem. Be sure to call Truly Nolen if you suspect there are ticks on your property.