ATLANTA - Climbing temperatures and higher humidity are prime weather ingredients for ticks, and Channel 2’s Katie Walls has learned that experts believe the tick population will continue to get higher throughout the summer.
There are currently four types of ticks in our part of Georgia: the American dog tick, the blacklegged tick, the brown dog tick and the Lone Star tick.
The insects can carry serious diseases.
Experts told Walls that ticks thrive in warm, humid weather, and the region has plenty more of that type of weather still to come.
A pest control expert took Walls through a tour of a backyard to show her ways homeowners can help keep ticks from breeding in their yards.
Dave Lofquist, with Arrow Exterminators, told Walls that homeowners can start by checking out what animals may be living in their backyards that may be a meal for ticks.
“Rodents, mice, rats, chipmunks” are all types of animals that ticks may flock to, Lofquist said.
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If you can reduce the ticks’ food source, then you reduce the number of ticks.
Lofquist told Walls that keeping your yard neat is a must.
“Keep the vegetation trimmed away. With the vegetation trimmed away or trimmed up, small animals will feel more vulnerable to predation or generally more scared,” Lofquist said.
Ticks rest on the edge of a path or a fence line, waiting for you or an animal to walk by so they can latch on.
According to the Georgia Department of Health, when you’re out and about, especially in a forested or overgrown area, you should protect youself against ticks and diseases by wearing Environmental Protection Agency-registered repellant with DEET or picaridin.
The Health Department also suggests that you do a tick check after walking through grass or in the woods so you can remove them quickly to lower the risk of disease.
They must be attached for a few hours to transmit infection, meaning the sooner you get them off, the lower the risk of catching something.
If you pull a tick off you that's been attached for several hours or more, put it in a baggie and in the freezer so if you develop symptoms over the course of the next several weeks, you can take it to a doctor and be properly diagnosed.