5 things to know about Ticks!

The warm weather in Ontario over the past several years has created ideal conditions for ticks thrive and spread. Brought into the area primarily by migratory birds, ticks are becoming much more common in the Hamilton region, particularly in Dundas and Ancaster.

WHAT ARE TICKS?

Ticks are small arachnids (like spiders or mites), and are considered as parasiteformes. Ticks bite mammals (including people), birds, and sometimes amphibians and reptiles. Ticks survive by feeding off the blood of their host.

There are approximately 40 different species of ticks in Canada, and almost all of them carry diseases or cause rashes and skin irritations.

ARE TICKS HARMFUL?

Black-legged ticks are found in the Hamilton-Halton- Niagara regions and can carry Borrelia burgdorferi, a bacterium known to cause Lyme disease. Lyme disease can cause symptoms including arthritis, respiratory and cardiac problems, and can affect the neurologic system.

A recent study published in the International Journal of Medical Sciences has shown that 41% of ticks collected over the past 2 years in the Dundas area carried the bacterium. This issue is becoming more common in the area, and unless treated within 36 hours, Lyme disease can be life threatening.

WHERE DO TICKS COME FROM?

Ticks haven’t just suddenly appeared, but they are becoming a bigger problem in the Hamilton-Halton- Niagara regions. Ticks were primarily brought into the area by migratory birds, and with the warmer weather in Canada, those birds are often staying north throughout the year – and so are the ticks. Also known as deer ticks or dog ticks, these animals are also known for carrying the ticks.

Female ticks and tick nymphs survive over the winter and take to feeding in the spring. So, ticks have been here all year, but when people and animals become more active outdoors when the weather warms up, we see more cases of ticks as they feed on hosts.

WHERE DO TICKS LIVE?

Ticks love to spend their time in long grass, dense shrub, or in leaf or lawn waste. They particularly enjoy moist or humid environments, like swampy reservoir areas. The climate and geography in the Hamilton- Halton-Niagara regions are ideal for ticks to live and breed.

IS MY PROPERTY AT RISK FOR TICKS?

All properties could carry ticks, however, if your property has long grass, dense shrub, leaf or lawn waste or if it backs onto a park or reservoir, you’re at a greater risk for ticks. Generally speaking, if your lawn is well maintained and you keep open-area gardens, ticks won’t want to live there.

HOW DO I GET RID OF TICKS?

GroGreen Lawn Care provides effective tick control on your property by applying a bio-insecticide that controls ticks. Field trials have shown 80-100% control of tick populations after 2 applications. The bio- insecticide we use contains a naturally occurring fungus found in soils worldwide. Once the spores come in contact with ticks, they penetrate the exoskeleton and begin to grow inside, causing the tick to die within 3-7 days of contact. This product is very selective and will not harm people, pets, wildlife or beneficial insects such as honeybees.

If you live in the Hamilton-Halton- Niagara regions and have found ticks on your family, property or pet, or would like to know if your property might have a higher risk of ticks, please contact us for a free consultation for tick control.

Let’s keep you comfortable in your own back yard.