TICK SAFETY

Tiny, crawling critters that are a part of the arachnid family. Ticks are part of our local ecosystems and can be found around the world. Find out more about what types of ticks are around, prevention measures, tick removal info, and the importance of ticks below!

What are Ticks?

THE BASICS

Ticks are arachnids, not bugs. They are a part of the same group as scorpions, spiders, and mites. Like mini-vampires, they feed on the blood of their host, known as ‘blood meal’. Ticks have 4 sets of legs as adults and no antennae. These tiny creatures live in grassy and wooded areas around the world, including urban areas, fields, yards, woodlands, and grassy areas.

Ticks wait for hosts (animals or you) from the tips of grasses and shrubs, not from trees. Ticks can sense changes in temperature and humidity as well as increases in carbon dioxide. The tick waits on the end of a plant with its upper legs outstretched. When you brush by a plant, the tick quickly lets go and climbs on and crawls around. Ticks do not jump or fly!

Tick Safety

Prevention

What to do:

  • Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, a hat, and close-toed shoes.
  • Wear light-colored clothing to help you spot the ticks before they attach themselves to your skin.
  • Tuck your shirt into your pants. Tuck your pants into your socks. It looks silly, but it’s a very effective way to prevent tick bites! You can even duct tape the area where pants and socks meet.
  • Consider treating your clothing with Permethrin or buying pre-treated clothing. (a type of insect repellent for clothing and outdoor gear)

  • Use an insect repellent containing: 20-30% DEET, 20% Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Euclyptus. Read the manufacturer’s directions about use and reapplication. For details on repellents visit the US EPA Repellents.
  • When walking or hiking, stay in the middle of the trail and avoid tall grasses and shrubs.
  • Use a tarp when sitting on the ground.
  • Check for ticks on yourself every two or three hours.

  • Do a full body check after being outdoors! Check clothes, skin, hair, and gear for ticks. Be thorough – ticks are very small. If you were out with your pet, check the animal for ticks too!
  • Remove crawling ticks with a piece of tape and fold the tape over complete encasing the tick before throwing away. For attached tick removal, look at the information below on Remove an Attached Tick.
  • Take a shower within two hours of coming indoors to rinse off any loose ticks that you may have missed.
  • Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors. If the clothes require washing first, hot water at a temperature of 130°F is required, as cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks. (National Library of Medicine)

If your property is unattractive to ticks, they won’t come for a visit! Ticks are seldom a problem in well-maintained lawns.

  • Keeping your grass mowed and weeds cut will help.
  • Clean up items that attract rodents that can carry ticks, such as spilled birdseed, brush and leaf piles, or garbage piles.
Tick Safety
Tick Safety

How Ticks are Beneficial