Are you ticked off by the sight of ticks? These tiny pests can be as small as an apple seed, but they can cause much problems if they manage to find their way into your home. Ticks are blood-sucking creatures that carry diseases and can harm not only your family members, but your pets. If you would like to find out how to prevent ticks from entering your home, read on to learn more about them, and how you can keep them out for good.
What are Ticks?
It is easy to mistake ticks for insects, but these eight-legged creatures actually belong to the family of arachnids, the same family as spiders and scorpions. They are health hazards because of their nature of sucking blood from their host. From humans, to birds, to dogs, to cats, ticks latch onto any host that they can feed on.
There are 14 species of ticks known to reside in Singapore. They can be categorised under soft and hard ticks. A soft tick is oval in shape and their mouth is not visible, while a hard tick is shaped like an orb, has a dorsal shield and a mouth that is more apparent.
The Invasion Plan
How does a tick infestation occur? To understand this, we need to find out how their survival tactics and home invasion plan work. Ticks prefer to live near their hosts. If your family member or pet is a targeted host, your home makes a suitable environment for them to live in. Here is a breakdown of how ticks invade your houses:
Hideout in Thick Foliage – Ticks reside in wooded areas where there are long grass, thick foliage, woodpiles and dense shrubs. These places are good areas of shelter for ticks, and allows them to latch onto any humans or animals that are passing by. Be careful when you walk through parks or gardens with thick foliage, these blood suckers will latch onto you or your pets as you pass by.
Finding Hosts – Ticks are on the hunt for hosts. On people, they usually target the armpits, between the legs, in the belly button, behind the knee, or in the scalp. On animals,they target areas such as the ears, where it is warm and moist. If you keep a pet at home, it is important to be aware if ticks have latched onto the fur of your pets. Ticks will attach themselves onto animal fur such as dog fur or cat fur, as they are attracted to warm-blooded animals. Once latched on, a tick can stick to you for hours or weeks. This is how ticks are brought back from outdoors to your homes.
Staying Near the Host – Ticks do not like direct sunlight, and will find shelter when they can. They like to stay near their hosts as they find a suitable place to reproduce and lay their eggs. This makes a house an ideal place for them to reside in, especially when pets are around. From dog kennels, to the beddings of your cats, to carpets and rugs, ticks will seek shelter in these areas around homes. Remember to regularly inspect these areas for any signs of ticks, and maintain proper hygiene standards to prevent ticks from getting comfortable at your place.
Signs of a Tick Infestation
You can identify a tick infestation through close observation. Here are some tell-tale signs of a tick infestation:
Group of Ticks – You may find a large group of ticks attached onto yourself or your pet. It is important to look out for small brown or black lumps on your skin or on your pet’s fur, especially when you come back from places with thick foliage and long grass.
Symptoms of Tickborne Illnesses – Just like mosquitoes, ticks like to feed on the blood of people or animals. This can leave the skin infected from the tick bites. If your pet is behaving unusually due to skin irritation, or you spot rashes and reddish areas on skin that has been bitten by ticks, it is best to check if there is the presence of a tick infestation. Additionally, tickborne illnesses can also result in fever or chills.
Common Disease Caused by Ticks
Lyme Disease – A tick bite can lead to Lyme disease, or Lyme Borreliosis. Some of the symptoms may range from having a bullseye-shaped rash, to experiencing headache, to the feeling of numbness. In more severe cases, a person with Lyme disease can also experience paralysis and memory loss. It is important to prevent ticks from invading your homes to reduce the chances of family members getting the disease from tick bites.
Tick Infestation Prevention Tips
Dressing – Before you go outdoors, remember to wear covered clothing if you are entering wooded areas. Wearing light-coloured clothes helps you to look for ticks easier as they are often brown or black in colour. Wearing sleeves on your arms, long pants, and socks helps with protecting your body from ticks if you happen to brush across long grasses or go through thick foliage.
Body Checks – Before reaching home, it is important to check for ticks around your body, especially in areas where there is more warmth and moisture. Remember to check for ticks on your pet’s body if your pet is outdoors with you too.
Maintain Good Hygiene Standards – Showering as soon as you reach home is also a good practice as it may help with removing ticks latching onto the body. Vacuuming your carpets and rugs regularly, or cleaning your pets’ kennels or beddings frequently can also help minimise the risk of a tick infestation occurring at home.
Professional Pest Control Services for Tick Infestations
Do you suspect a tick problem at home or in need of professional prevention measures? First Choice Pest Specialist is at your service. With proper inspection services and tailorable solutions for your home, our experienced team of pest controllers will provide treatment measures that are safe and effective. Misting and spraying are some ways that we can remove ticks from your home, or prevent them from invading.
Ticks will find any opportunity to latch onto you or any pets that you have at home. It is important to stay alert for any signs of a tick infestation, take measures to reduce the chances of being bitten by one, and prevent ticks from entering your home. For additional information about ticks, find out more here.