PESKY BACKYARD BITES

Ahhhh, summertime … swimming pools, backyard BBQs, campouts, vacations, picnics and more. Summertime is the time of year that most people anticipate all year long. It’s also the time that Mother Nature throws a curveball to the nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts in the tristate.

Fleas, ticks and mosquitos are just a few of the insect pests that enjoy the warmer temperatures as much as we do. All of these pests look at our pets and us in the same way – we are the picnic, just another warm-blooded animal that represents their next meal. A warmer-than-usual winter followed by cool and moist spring months could produce a bumper crop of fleas and ticks.

Normally, fleas and ticks are associated with the family cat or dog. However, with the increasing population of raccoons and opossums, the average home could have a flea or tick infestation even without having a family pet. Discouraging local wildlife from cohabiting in your home or yard can help, and consulting with your veterinarian about your pets’ health will also help control these pests.

One type of tick, the deer tick, has been associated with the spread of Lyme disease. These diseased ticks are more commonly found in the Northern and New England states, although that doesn’t preclude them from our area. These ticks are incredibly small – an adult is as large as the period at the end of this sentence. Any tick that is found on a pet or family member should be captured for identification and reported to your vet or family doctor.

As for mosquitos, they only need an incredibly small amount of water in which to lay eggs. Good housekeeping on the outside of your home will prevent water from pooling and providing these insects a good breeding ground. The use of citronella torches and some foggers can also give temporary relief for parties and other backyard events.

Chiggers or harvest mites are small insect relatives that inhabit shaded, overgrown, moist areas around your home. These pests usually target the area under our belt lines or where clothing constricts around our bodies. Most insect repellents are effective, and many over-the-counter remedies help with itching caused by their bite.

As a general tip to help control of all of the above-mentioned insects and their relatives, it’s important to keep your land well groomed and trimmed. Keep your lawn mowed and watch watering habits to ensure areas have a chance to dry completely between. If you have any questions, contact us – we’re happy to talk in person about any of your pest problems or worries.

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