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The Importance of Tick Removal in Central Florida

If you live in central Florida or in pretty much any non-arctic location you’ll have to deal with ticks at some point. Ticks are external parasites which make their home in vegetation and wait to latch on to unsuspecting people or animals in the hope of finding a free meal. Ticks are very small and difficult to spot prior to feasting which makes them difficult to detect on your skin or on your animals. Usually once you find a tick it is too late – it has already latched on and you’ll discover it on your dog, yourself or your loved one due to the increase in size resulting from feeding. A vital part of tick prevention is an overall commitment to pest control as ticks can often come onto your property on the back of other pests such as rodents.

Proper pest control measures combined with appropriate landscaping choices and diligent self-inspection after time spent in the woods or high grasses play a critical role in avoiding the transmission of disease from ticks.

In central Florida there are five main types of ticks:

  1. Brown Dog Tick: This variety of central Florida tick feeds mainly on dogs and is usually found in areas dogs frequent (grassy areas and areas with plenty of trees and other vegetation used to mark their territory).
  2. American Dog Tick: This parasite is usually found on dogs but they will gladly attach themselves to other mammals, including humans. Unlike the brown tick this is typically an outdoor tick. While it isn’t a household nuisance, the American Dog Tick can be avoided with proper pest prevention in your backyard.
  3. Lone Star Tick:  In central Florida, the Lone Star Tick is the parasite most known for biting humans. This parasite is easily recognizable. Females have a light-colored dot on their back and Lone star ticks demand pest control measures as they carry and transmit ehrlichiosis and southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI). Particular diligence is required during July – their peak season in central Florida. Nymphs of this tick variety occur between February and October and adults are most common between April and August.
  4. Gulf Coast Tick:  Prevalent throughout the southeast, the Gulf Coast Tick resembles the American dog tick but it possesses more pronounced mandibles (mouth-parts). The Gulf Coast Tick is most commonly found on the ears of large mammals such as cattle but as with most parasites when push comes to shove they aren’t picky eaters. Adults can be observed from March through September and this variety of tick transmits Rickettsia parkeri.
  5. Black-Legged Tick:  The deer tick, also known as the black-legged tick, is most commonly known for carrying Lyme disease but they also carry babesiosis and HGA (human granulocytic anaplasmosis). In central Florida you’ll most commonly spot adult deer ticks during the winter.

In addition to contacting a reputable pest control service there are several steps you can take to monitor your pets and loved ones for ticks. Ticks lie in wait in areas with ample cover so you should mow your lawn regularly and keep leaves and foliage raked. If you have a wood pile or downed tree try to make sure that the area is dry (ticks feed on rodents so an important part of tick prevention is also rodent prevention and control). Keep play areas for your children away from the edge of your lawn and set up swing-sets and other play equipment in an area with direct sunlight. Clear away as much brush and tall grasses as you can at the edge of your lawn to keep these parasites at bay.

If you have questions about tick prevention strategies it’s always a good idea to contact a reputable pest control service in central Florida. Trained pest control professionals will be able to safely treat your property for ticks and advise you on strategies to keep ticks at bay.

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