Here’s a pest that is made out of the stuff of nightmares (next to bed bugs, among many others!): the tick. No, we’re not talking about the goofy giant blue superhero some of us know…
Sadly, we are referring to the eight-legged, creepy, disease-ridden tick. You thought Black Widows were the stuff of nightmares? Honey, you have no idea.
While ticks are not exactly something we get a lot of calls about for exterminating, and they’re more of a woodland pest than a residential one, these varmints are still dangerous and worth knowing about before you pack up your picnic basket or go walking your dog…or head out for work, if you work outside. Amazingly, there are some misinformed facts about ticks that exist on our favourite world wide web, some of which are dangerously incorrect! To keep our fans safe and tick-free, we’re going to go over a bunch of know-how and help you understand the truth versus the lies.
True or False: Ticks Don’t Live on the Lower Mainland
False! As it turns out, there are 40 types of ticks known in Canada, but only one that you really, really need to beware of: the deer tick, a.k.a. the black-legged tick. While they only nest in woodland areas and are more of a camping nightmare, these varmints can still get around by a few ways: birds and other animals. This makes bird pests an even bigger threat in the summertime (although not nearly as bad as the noise birds make!). Deer ticks can be found even in southern British Columbia, which does include the Lower Mainland.
True or False: Ticks Can Spread More than Lyme Disease
This is unfortunately true. Not only do ticks spread Lyme disease to you (and in some cases your own pets), but also they could potentially spread one of 12 possible other diseases! One of the most rapidly growing ones is called the Powassan virus, reported on last year by CTV News (thankfully, cases of Powassan are rare in Canada…it’s still possible to contract the virus from ticks, though). The deer tick can spread two other bacteria in addition to Lyme, called babesiosis and anaplasmosis. Some ticks can even cause paralysis in victims.
True or False: You’ll Know if a Tick Has Bitten You
This is another unfortunately false fact, which adds to the nightmares that ticks are born and bred out of. Tick bites are actually painless, so you may not even realize you’ve been bitten until it’s too late.
True or False: Ticks Can Jump from Person to Person
Thankfully, this fact is false. It’s actually fleas you need to worry about hopping from one warm-blooded host to the other (usually your poor pets!). Ticks do not possess the ability to jump (phew!). Unfortunately, ticks are still incredibly sneaky and small enough to go unnoticed after a certain period of time. A tick is NOT what you want to find two days after the fact! If that’s the case, do yourself a favour and go see a doctor ASAP, especially if you are allergic to bites and if you’ve noticed the following symptoms:
- A red, inflamed, itchy spot or rash near the bite OR a full-on body rash
- A burning sensation on or near the bite
- Difficulty breathing (in severe cases)
- Neck stiffness
- Muscle or joint pain or aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
All of these require immediate medical attention and treatment!
True or False: Ticks Don’t Infest Homes
This is partially true. The good news about deer ticks is they will dry out if they don’t get a blood meal any sooner than a few hours after their last bite. This means that it’s unlikely to find ticks nesting in your own home, so relax!
That being said, you do need to keep an eye out for infestations especially in…wait for it…your backyard. Like we said, ticks are found more outdoors than in, so odds are high that a tick may be looking to nest in the lawn full of grass you haven’t mowed for a while, or in sheds and other dark places that are outside but well hidden. Ticks are also fans of humid, moist environments, so your untrimmed and overgrown bushes are their dream real estate.
I know, I know, you probably hate yard work, but in light of tick season and for the sake of prevention, it still needs to be done. Mow that lawn, trim back those bushes, and clean out that shed. If it’s been too long a time since you last checked, you may find there are other pests you probably didn’t realize were nesting nearby, like ants or silverfish!
Whether it’s ticks trying to hang out in your yard or ants are finding their way into your home from outside, call your local Pest Boss. We’ll get those varmints!
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