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Hall Extension: Tips to keep the ticks off you

POSTED: July 22, 2011 7:00 a.m.

If there is one thing that causes people to become squeamish, ticks will usually do it. No one likes the idea of something crawling on them.

And I do not know anyone who wants to be a source of food, either. There are things that you can do to help reduce your chances of getting a tick on you or your pet over the summer.

When someone thinks about controlling insects, they first think about getting out the sprayer and spraying an insecticide to rid them of the problem.

Spraying should be used as part of a control program.

Even though I recommend chemical applications to people all the time, sometimes taking a step back and figuring why there is a problem is really the first thing to do.

In many cases, all you have to do is think about what an insect needs to survive in order to live.

Like anything else they need food, water and shelter. Take away one or more of these requirements; typically you will solve your problem.

One of the worse jobs in the summer is cutting grass. We all do it in order for our kids have a safe and fun place to play. But we also do it to help ourselves with pest problems. Keeping the grass short on your property is a good way to reduce habitat for ticks.

Ticks prefer tall vegetation, like uncut grass, to wait for their host to come by. When they feel movement and sense the presence of an animal, they drop off the grass and on to their host. Keeping the grass on your property short will reduce the places for ticks to lie in wait.

Another good way to reduce your chance of becoming a meal to ticks is to prevent their access to you in the first place. Even though it is hot, wear pants when you are going to be in the woods or in vegetation that is prime real estate for ticks. Tape or tuck in pant legs inside your boots to make sure they have no easy way of getting on you.

You can also use bug repellents to help stave off ticks. Spray areas that are especially attractive to ticks like your ankle and beltline.

Speaking of using repellents, make sure that your pets are covered with flea and tick control chemicals. These chemicals are safe for your pets and family, and provide excellent control.

At the end of the day, make it a habit to look for ticks on you and your children. Also do not forget the pets. Simply run your hands through their coats and feel for them.

If you do end up with a tick on you, take a pair of tweezers and remove them by the head. Wash the bite with soap and water.

One thing to keep in mind is to write down on a calendar when you received the tick bite. This may help your doctor diagnose a disease if you become sick.

If you have any questions about controlling ticks in your yard, give us a call at the office, 770-535-8293.

Michael Wheeler is coordinator for the UGA Cooperative Extension in Hall County. You can contact him at 770-535-8293. His column appears weekly and on gainesvilletimes.com/life.



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