When the warm weather comes it brings with it the bugs and flies, and ticks are no exception.

Summer is here and tick season is in full swing.

Typically expected to be found when out hiking or in long grassy fields, the increase in ticks in the Hamilton region have brought these critters out of the woods and onto many front lawns. This increase in the presence of ticks means even city dwellers should be cautious for ticks and aware of how to handle them should one find themselves bitten.

The threat that ticks pose is not so much the bite that they leave, but the possibility of Lyme disease they bring with them. While there are several types of ticks, it is the black-legged tick that primarily carries the Lyme disease bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi.

Only a few millimeters in size, these bugs can’t jump or fly, but rather wait at the tops of grass or shrubs for passing animals or people.

While not all black-legged ticks carry Lyme disease, recent studies show that the number of carrying bugs in the Hamilton-Wentworth and Dundas areas is increasing. Recent results showed that 41% of ticks brought in for testing were infected with the disease.

How can you prevent tick bites?

Both people and pets can take preventative measures to decrease their chances of getting tick bites. Your local veterinarian will sell tick-specific bug repellent for your dogs and cats that can be administered on a monthly basis during bug season to help protect your furry friends from Lyme disease.

People also can help protect themselves using bug repellent containing DEET or picaridin.

When expected to be in areas more likely to have ticks present, wear pants and long sleeve shirts, tucking the bottoms of your pants into your socks. You can also make it easier to spot ticks by wearing light coloured clothing.

When coming in, always give yourself and your pets a thorough tick check, paying particular attention to the edges of clothing or your pet’s joints, places where the temperature is higher and ticks are more likely to sit.

What to do if you’ve found a tick?

If you find a tick on yourself or your pet, remove it immediately using fine-tipped tweezers. Be careful not to squeeze or twist the tick, as this could cause for the Lyme disease bacteria to be let out. Do not put salt on the tick or attempt to burn it as this could also lead to the bacteria being let out onto the skin. Once the tick has been removed, wash the area with soap and water.

For more information about protecting yourself against ticks and other pests, Contact Us today!