Of all the tiny critters we get calls on, the tick has taken center stage as of late. The August 8th article in the Dallas Morning News did help to increase awareness of this problem. Do not take a tick problem lightly. Aside from giving most folks the heebie-jeebies, they carry some very nasty diseases. Ticks just don’t show up in an area. They are brought in by birds, rabbits, rats, squirrels, raccoons, etc. This brings us back to controlling our environment. Wildlife needs food, water and shelter to live. If you feed the birds, you are meeting one of those requirements. Stop feeding for about a month or so. Do not leave bird food or pet food outside. Keep the grass mowed, shrub beds maintained and thinned out if necessary. Very dense shrub beds can provide very nice shelter for some of these animals. Pick up brush including stacks of firewood.
There are both all-natural and synthetic insecticides that will kill ticks. Due to the pathogens tick carry I tend to lean towards the synthetic side. And because I like products that are the simplest to use, I tend to lean to the ones that attach to the hose. A product called Cyonara fits my requirement. It contains lambda-cyhalothrin which is very effective on ticks.
If you find a tick on a pet, the problem has now increased. Consider ticks to be in the house. Treatments for yard, house and animals should be within a 24 hour period. I am a fan of the dip method for pets. There are all-natural and synthetic products that work equally well. See the “Happenings” section for the next free pet dip. Spot-on insecticide products have had a lot of bad press in the past. Most issues have been traced to improper application of the product. They do work for keeping the pests off your pet. As for treating the house, foggers are still very effective. Most foggers will kill ticks but you should select one with an IGR (Insect Growth Regulator). An IGR is just like the word says, it breaks the life cycle of the insect. And as always, read and follow the label directions. Click here for more tips on controlling ticks. To find out what the CDC has to say about ticks click here.