Ticks, external parasites, thrive on the blood of mammals (including humans), birds, reptiles and amphibians. They carry many diseases, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever – the most common in Tennessee.
These blood-feeding parasites hang out in tall grass where they will then attach to any passing host by inserting their feeding tubes and mandibles into the skin. The mandibles, covered with curved teeth, act as a hammer.
Physical contact isn’t the only way ticks can hitch a ride. While they can’t jump or fly, some species emerge from cracks or crevices in the woods at ground level. They can get into your home on clothing as well as firewood, plants and pets. Once there, they can start laying eggs at an alarming rate and before you even realize it, you have a wild infestation to deal with.
Only immediate attention from a tick exterminator in Nashville can save you from further infestation. Here are some FAQs about ticks to consider.
Q: What diseases are spread by ticks?
A: Ticks transmit many diseases, primarily Rocky Mt. Spotted Fever, Lyme disease, Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness and Ehrlichiosis, all of which are native to the Nashville area.
Q: How do ticks attach themselves?
Ticks attach to their hosts with their sharp mouthparts, which act like little crab claws. First, they secrete a numbing chemical so their stabbing mandibles can’t be felt as they pierce the skin. And because their mouthparts are barbed, the host cannot scratch, rub or otherwise dislodge the tick.
Q: How do ticks feed on their host?
A: Because ticks do not digest solids, they first dribble some saliva into the wound so they can dissolve the tissues and better suck out the blood. In their saliva is enough bacteria and protozoa to make them one of the most dangerous disease vectors on the planet.
Q: If I see a tick crawling on my skin, am I at a high risk for disease?
A: No. Ticks only transmit pathogens while attached and actively feeding with their mouthparts in your skin. Once it has its fill, it will drop off your skin and would not be crawling.
Q: How do you remove a tick?
A: Because ticks burrow into your skin to suck out the fluids, squeezing them will not work. Don’t try to burn them, slather petroleum jelly on them or pour alcohol on them. The best method for safe tick removal is to use a pair of tweezers to gently ease the insect out. Do not twist. Grab it by the head, not the body. That’s because the head is the first thing that enters the skin.
Q: How do you kill a tick?
Place the tick in alcohol to kill it. Don’t just flush it down the toilet. This won’t kill them. Don’t squish the tick with your fingers either. Alcohol is the best way to kill a tick.
Contact PureGuard Pest Control
Have you been inundated with ticks in your yard or home this summer? Don’t let them pass on disease to you, your family and your pets. Instead, call our Nashville and Brentwood pest control technicians at 615-502-2855 for your free quote.