If there’s one thing your dog loves more than rolling in the tall grass in the summer, it’s playing in the giant piles of leaves that fill up your back yard in the fall, and on neither occasion is your pet – or you, for that matter – protected from the danger lurking nearby: ticks.
The risk of getting Lyme disease doesn’t decrease as the weather starts to cool. Quite the opposite, says Consumer Reports, indicating that, “by fall, adult ticks have had more time to become infected with disease-causing bacteria.” In some regions, up to 50 percent of the tick populations can carry diseases such as Lyme, compared to only 20 percent in the summer. As long as temperatures stay between 20 and 30 degrees, fall ranks as a high-risk time for the disease.
And even if there were a sudden drop in temperatures during the fall months, that would only bring the blood-sucking menaces closer to your home. Drawn by the heat radiating from the foundations of homes, many female ticks choose to exchange heavily wooded areas for residential properties, where they can find blood meals and shelter for their eggs.
In Canada, the most common tick species likely to bite dogs, cats, horses, and humans and spread Lyme disease in the autumn and winter months are the western blacklegged tick (British Columbia) and the blacklegged tick (other parts of Canada). The adult stages of these species become active as the season changes from summer to fall. They start becoming abundant early in October and will continue to feed actively through the winter, as long as the temperatures are above freezing and the ground is not covered by snow.
To help you and your family stay protected from ticks in the fall and winter months, we’ve put together some tips on how you can keep these dangerous pests far from your home and property.
The best way to control ticks in the fall is to remove high grass, leaves, and garden litter from around your property. Chemicals should only be used by a licensed pest control professional if large numbers of ticks are present.
Although a tick infestation is not likely to occur indoors, it may happen if a fully fed female falls off a pet and manages to lay its eggs inside. This can occur inside bedding, carpeting, furniture, or in the cracks and crevices in floors and walls. To reduce the potential exposure to ticks inside your house, you can do the following:
Before applying pesticides or other chemical control options for tick infestations on your property, it is best to seek the assistance of a professional pest control company in your local area of residence. The PMP will first inspect and sample your property for ticks, as well as for suitable tick hosts that may be living in your attic or crawlspace. If tick levels are high or if you live in an area with a high rate of tick-borne diseases, the application of safe and eco-friendly chemical treatments by a licensed pest professional will guarantee the elimination of disease-carrying tick populations from your home and property.
About the Author
Daniel Mackie, co-owner of Greenleaf Pest Control, is a Toronto pest control expert well-known as an industry go-to guy, an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions, and is a regular guest on HGTV. Mackie, along with business partner Sandy Costa, were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid gardener.