A Mild Winter Might Mean a Tough Tick Season
A relatively mild wintertime weather is a signal that homeowners need to be extra
vigilant in controlling ticks on their property.
A lack of significant hard freezes are ideal conditions for ticks to not only survive but thrive, said Justin Talley, head of Oklahoma State University’s Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology.
Domesticated pets and wild animals alike can serve as hosts for ticks and help to transport them from one area to another.
There are multiple tick-control products available, both in granular and spray form. These products can be purchased at any home improvement store and will be labelled as effective against ticks.
“When treating a lawn to control ticks, remember to establish a boundary between the property and natural habitat or wooded area,” Talley said.
Treating wooded areas will require a high-pressure sprayer that can turn over vegetation. Homeowners who do not have access to the proper equipment may want to contact a professional pest control operator for assistance.
How long a product remains effective can vary and depends on factors such as weather and severity of a tick population in and around the yard. Sprays can be diluted by rain and heavy dew, but some granular products are activated by water.
“To determine how bad a tick infestation may be, take a walk around the area and see how many ticks you attract,” Talley said. “Wear light-colored clothing so it’ll be easier to see them.”
A well-designed pest control program for pets also can play an important role in managing a yard’s tick population.
“Pets are the No. 1 way ticks get in the house,” Talley said. “Animals will go into wooded habitats and bring back ticks, so pet owners should keep their tick protection up to date whether it’s a spot, pill or collar. Remember, this is a year-round process for pets since Oklahoma has staggering tick populations that can affect them.”