Gardeners, Take Heed: It’s a ‘Tick-y Year’

Now is a great opportunity to study up on ticks, if you haven’t already. Tick activity is highest in the spring, between April and June. Ticks, however, can be encountered at any time of the year. An overview of ticks and their habits and lifespan follows the table of contents.

What to Do If You Get Bitten by a Tick

Fear is a natural response when you discover a tick attached to your body after spending time in the garden, yard, or on a hike, especially if you discover it hours later. Keep your cool and do as instructed:

  1. Grab the tick as near to the skin as you can with a pair of fine-tipped tweezers, then pull it out quickly and carefully.
  2. Once you’ve got it, drag the tick up until it comes free.
  3. Please wash your hands and disinfect the bite.
  4. To kill the tick, do not pressure its body with your fingers.
  5. Placing the tick in alcohol will kill it and preserve it for later use in diagnosing your disease.

Illnesses Caused by Ticks in the Commonwealth of Virginia

The American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum), and the black-legged tick are the three tick species most commonly involved with disease transmission in Virginia (Ixodes scapularis, also called the deer tick).

Ten or more human diseases, ranging from quite minor to fatal, are transmitted by these three species. Lyme disease is the most widespread, followed by ehrlichiosis.

The black-legged tick is responsible for spreading Lyme disease, which is caused by the Borrelia bacteria. Rash, at least two inches in diameter, that appears at the point of connection.

  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Hurting places in your body, usually your joints or muscles
  • Sore throat aching muscles

The neurological system could be affected, and chronic arthritis in the major joints could develop if this condition is left untreated.

The Virginia Department of Public Health claims that Lyme disease has tripled in the state of Virginia since the 1990s, using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Home gardens are a major risk factor for Lyme disease transmission, thus gardeners should take extra precautions to avoid being bitten by ticks.

The bacteria Ehrlichia causes Ehrlichiosis, which is spread by the lone star tick. Echinococcosis symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Schills
  • Aching muscles and a pounding head
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • A decrease in appetite and the onset of diarrhoea
  • Causes of a rash of bewilderment (most common in children)

It is possible to die from ehrlichiosis if it is not treated.

Protection From Lyme Disease and Other Tick-Related Disorders

  1. Antibiotics are an effective treatment option for tick-borne illnesses if administered promptly after the onset of symptoms. The most effective strategy to protect yourself from a tick-borne disease is to take precautions to avoid getting bitten. Take care to avoid getting bit by a tick by following these steps.
  2. Stay away from tall grass and leaf litter in wooded areas to reduce your risk of being bitten by ticks. Keep your grass cut and stick to the middle of the trail.
    Build a buffer zone of three feet or more between your garden and any nearby wooded or brushy areas using wood chips, boulders, or a freshly mowed strip of lawn. Don’t stack wood next to the house, clean up the leaves, and prune the bushes and trees so they don’t block the sidewalks and patios. Installing fencing or using animal repellents to discourage wildlife from a lawn or garden is a good idea.
  3. Wearing light colours makes it easier to identify ticks when gardening, therefore it’s important to take precautions. Don’t forget to wear socks with your jeans and tuck your shirt into your long sleeves.

The Question is, “Where do Ticks Make Their Home?”

Depending on their host, ticks can inhabit a wide variety of environments. Ticks can be found in a variety of different habitats, including bird nests, the burrows of small mammals like mice and chipmunks, brush heaps, leaf litter on the soil’s surface, and wood piles.

Ticks that pose the greatest threat to human health prefer grassy or wooded environments, and can often be found in the unkempt spaces or shrubbery that separate forests from lawns.

Ticks need a humid environment, as this is one of their preferred habitat types. Because of their size and surface area, ticks do best in environments with high humidity. Ticks are rare in sunny, open regions because they dry out easily.

The Life of a Tick

Adult ticks, like other arachnids such as spiders and scorpions, have eight legs. The blood of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians is the sole sustenance for ticks, which are external parasites.

Nearly 90 tick species have been identified in the United States, while more than 900 species have been identified worldwide. In contrast to insects like spiders and scorpions, which only go through three phases of development during their lifetime, ticks go through four:

How Ticks Act

The tick’s questing activity is fascinating since it is the means through which the tick makes touch with its host. Ticks don’t actively jump, fly, or drop upon their hosts from vegetation when they’re questing; it’s a purely passive habit.

Ticks are most numerous in the spring, and if you look closely, you might be able to spot them sitting on their hind legs, with their front legs extended, on the very tips of plant stems, a good one to three feet off the ground.

Ticks will attach to a host when they detect carbon dioxide, body heat, vibrations, or even shadows, all of which are triggered when a host brushes against vegetation.

Ticks can either quickly connect to their host or look for a good attachment site on the host’s body. Whenever possible, they’ll settle inside the warm, damp parts of the host body, such as the following on humans.

Last Words

The last word! In order to avoid introducing saliva or stomach contents into the bite wound, it is crucial not to pinch the tick’s abdomen while removing it. Avoid squeezing the tick with your fingers or nailing it with your nails. The infectious microorganism could potentially infiltrate wounds in your skin.