How to Properly Check and Remove Ticks from Your Pets

When tick season rolls around, your pets are much more susceptible to bites and tick-borne diseases. Even if they are on preventative medication for fleas and ticks, it’s still important to check them regularly and after they have been outside. It never hurts to be sure that your pets are safe from these parasites.  

While you may be more vigilant about checking your dog for ticks, it’s also important to check your cat(s). This is especially true if they spend most of their time outside. The quicker a tick is removed, the better the chances are that it won’t pass on any diseases to your pet.  

What Do Ticks Look Like? 

Because there are different varieties, ticks come in many different colors and shapes. Some are grayish-brown, while others are brown, black, reddish, or even yellow in color. They are a flat oval shape and can be as small as a pinhead. This is why they are difficult to notice on your pets if you don’t check for them regularly.  

Ticks have eight legs and will start to get bigger in size the more they feed on your pet. The bigger a tick is, the longer it has been attached. They don’t have wings, which, is why they spend most of their time hiding and waiting for a human or animal to walk by so they can latch on.  

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Where Do Ticks Hide? 

Ticks will hide in tall grass or heavy vegetation. Because of this, it’s very important that you keep your grass cut short during tick season to help keep them out of your yard. When your pet walks through the grass, ticks will latch on and start to feed.  

Ticks latch onto your pet in places that are easy to hide. Check their head and ears, making sure to pay special attention under the collar. They will also latch onto their armpits or the underside of the tail. These warm and dark areas are perfect for hiding, so it’s important that you check them thoroughly. 

Finding and Removing Ticks on Your Pet 

To find ticks, start by putting on a pair of gloves and combing through your pet’s fur with your fingers, checking for any bumps on their skin. If you feel anything, carefully separate the fur and look for any ticks. If you see one, you should then remove it as quickly as possible.  

Using a pair of tweezers or a tick removal tool, grab the tick’s head and pull it up with a smooth, upward motion. Make sure that you have completely removed it and then clean the area around the bite with antiseptic.  

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Should I Save the Tick? 

It’s a good idea to save the tick in some rubbing alcohol for a few weeks after you have removed it. If your pet starts to get sick, bring it to the vet so they can test the tick for diseases. This is the best way to be sure that your pet gets the right treatment for whatever is ailing them.   

Prevention is Your Best Defense 

Preventing ticks is the best way to make sure your pet doesn’t get bitten in the first place. On top of keeping your grass mowed, you should also be sure to keep woodpiles far away from the house and other areas where your pet usually goes. Keeping your pets away from heavily wooded areas is another great way to prevent them from coming in contact with these pests.  

But for the best prevention, barrier sprays are a great way to keep pests like ticks out of your yard. The pest control experts at Mosquito Joe can help control ticks by spraying the perimeter of your property and targeting shrubbery and thicker vegetation. Our targeted approach can keep both you and your pets free from ticks all year round. 


Best Ways to Protect Kids and Pets from Ticks This Fall

Fall is a favorite season for many people. The crisp air and the cooler weather bring up many feelings of nostalgia and happiness. However, fall also brings an unwelcome addition: ticks. Ticks are a problem in many areas of the United States and can be a serious public health issue. Knowing how to protect you, your kids, and your pets from these parasites can help you enjoy your autumn months much more.  

In this article, we have laid out how you can protect your family from ticks. By taking some extra precautions, you can be sure that everyone enjoys the fall season and without worrying about dealing with these pests.  

Protect Your Kids 

One of the best ways to protect your kids and yourself from ticks in the fall is to dress appropriately. Ticks can only latch onto bare skin. If you have long sleeves and pants, you don’t have to worry about them getting onto your arms or legs. Tucking your kids’ pant legs into their socks can be a great way to ensure that no ticks get in between the gap on a long hike. Light clothing is also highly recommended if they are going to be walking in an area that could be a habitat for ticks. It is much easier to see insects if they get on light clothes, and the kids won’t accidentally bring them into the house.  

You can also use a natural insect repellent like citronella or peppermint. These essential oils are a great way to keep ticks and other pests away when on a hike. Before anyone comes back into the house, though, always make sure that you do a thorough tick check all over their body to ensure that they are clear.  

Protect Your Pets 

Pets provide a perfect environment for ticks. They have long fur that is easy to hide in and it’s a lot harder to control where they go. Dogs and cats will often walk through tall grass, which is where ticks like to live and hide. This makes them much more likely to pick up one of these parasites. One way to protect your pet from ticks is to keep them away from tall grass, weeds, and any overgrown shrubbery. If they do happen to wander into such areas, check them thoroughly for ticks using a pet comb. Also, perform a close visual inspection before bringing them into the house. 

Check your pets starting at their head. Then, move down their body combing through their fur with your fingers. If you see a tick and it has latched on, don’t try to pull it out right away with your fingers. Use a pair of tweezers and grab it by the body, making sure to completely remove it. Then, place the tick in rubbing alcohol to make sure it is dead.  

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Protect Your Yard 

You can safeguard your yard from ticks by preparing it in a few different ways. Ticks like to hide in woodpiles, so keep any firewood stock away from areas where pets or kids play. Ticks also live on deer, so if you have deer in your area, it’s a good idea to plant deer-resistant flowers like snapdragons and marigolds.  

Other ways to protect your yard from ticks include keeping your grass mowed and trimmed and removing any fallen leaves from the yard. Being generally wary of any thick vegetation in the fall is a good rule of thumb, and if you keep your kids and pets away from it, they will have a much better chance of staying tick-free throughout the season.  


Get Professional Tick Prevention 

Following all the steps above is a great start to protecting your family from ticks and the diseases they can potentially carry. The final step to tick prevention is professional help from Mosquito Joe. Our technicians can set up barriers that target shrubbery and other vegetation in your yard and keep these nasty pests away from your kids and pets.  


How to Prevent Lyme Disease

Ticks are an unavoidable nuisance in the United States. They live in nearly every state, and bites happen throughout the year when the temperature is above freezing. Unfortunately, tick bites can cause Lyme disease. This potentially debilitating illness is often difficult to diagnose and sometimes even more challenging to treat.

But there are ways to keep you and your family protected from bites. If you want to know how to prevent Lyme disease, keep reading.

First, What Is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by the black-legged tick. It causes a range of symptoms, but most patients report feeling extreme fatigue and bad headaches. Fever and rashes are also common. In some instances, the patient may develop more chronic conditions of the heart, bones, or nervous system. Antibiotics can treat and cure Lyme disease, but it may take several courses and must be started soon after the disease is contracted. Some people will continue to experience symptoms long-term.

How do you get Lyme disease? Black-legged ticks, sometimes called deer ticks, infect a host after a prolonged bite. The bacteria transmits from the tick’s mouth into the victim’s bloodstream. While black-legged ticks can carry the bacteria, not all of them do. And a short bite (where the tick is detected and removed only a few hours after being attached) is not likely to cause an infection. The risk of catching Lyme disease is highest if the tick remains attached to its host for over 36 hours.

Tips for How to Avoid Lyme Disease

Even though it’s impossible to eradicate all ticks in the world, you can follow these tick tips and tricks to avoid catching Lyme disease.

Here are the easiest ways to prevent bites when you head outdoors:

  • Dress for the Occasion

Ticks only bite bare skin—they can’t reach you through layers of clothing. When heading outdoors, cover up as much skin as possible. Even in the middle of the summer, it’s best to wear long sleeves and full hiking pants. Tuck in your shirt and pull your socks over your pant legs to close any gaps. Hiking boots are better than sneakers, and you should always avoid sandals.

Many experts recommend wearing light-colored clothing. The idea is that if a tick does crawl on you, it’s easier to see it against a brighter background. However, ticks dislike dark colors and are more attracted to light hues.

  • Spray from Head to Toe

Over-the-counter insect repellents are a great way to keep ticks away. Ticks don’t like products that contain DEET or Picaridin. However, you shouldn’t spray DEET on children. Instead, you can try a natural repellent such as sprays that include citronella or peppermint essential oils. Apply a generous coating on all exposed skin and clothing. Reapply as needed.

  • Don’t Venture into the Woods

Deer ticks love hiding in wooded environments, and their orange-brown bodies provide them with the perfect camouflage. Avoid sitting on fallen branches, woodpiles, or even the ground. Ticks don’t like sunlight, so staying on the trail is better than heading into the dark, cold woods.

  • Perform a Thorough “Tick Check”

When returning indoors, check your clothing and body for ticks. If possible, have someone else lend a hand, and inspect all children for ticks. Ticks like to hide, and since they’re so small—especially early in the season before they grow to full size, you may miss them. You will definitely feel an adult-sized tick if you come across it with your fingers.

Be sure to inspect these common hiding spots:

  • Your hairline and scalp
  • Between fingers and toes
  • Behind your ears
  • In your armpits
  • Near the groin

Remove your clothes as soon as possible after returning home and toss them into the washer. Hot water will eliminate any ticks in your clothes that may not have had a chance to attach themselves to your skin. And if you do find a tick, carefully remove it with tweezers.

Worried About Ticks in Your Backyard?

There may be ticks living in your lawn, but you don’t want to find out the hard way. Lyme disease prevention always begins at home. Another great way to avoid Lyme disease is to have Mosquito Joe set up a spray-treatment barrier in your yard. This treatment works on fleas and mosquitoes, too!

Ready to say goodbye to ticks? Connect with us online or call 1-855-275-2563 to schedule a barrier treatment.

Is your yard an overgrown haven for tick-carrying animals? Get in touch with the trusted landscaping professionals at The Grounds Guys, a fellow Neighborly® company.


Do All Ticks Carry Lyme Disease?

While insect bites are bad enough to deal with already, a single bite from a deer tick (also known as blacklegged ticks) can transmit Lyme disease. Any single of these blood-sucking insects can potentially carry and transmit the bacterium that causes this horrible illness. But do all ticks carry Lyme? No. Do all blacklegged/deer ticks carry Lyme? No.

Continue reading to find out when you should worry about a tick bite and when you can relax.

Do All Tick Bites Carry Lyme Disease?

Before you vow never to venture outdoors again, you need to know which ticks carry Lyme disease. Even though there are hundreds of tick species, only the blacklegged variety (deer tick) transmits the disease. These insects are always searching for a host. And both humans and animals—especially white-tailed deer and chipmunks—make for a tasty meal.

Blacklegged ticks have flat, ovular bodies. They are orange-brown in color and only reach about 1/8” in length. Their color and size, however, change throughout different points of the tick life cycle.

Understanding the Basics of Lyme Disease

A dangerous bacterium scientifically dubbed Borrelia burgdorferi causes Lyme disease in humans. You can only get this disease from ticks, and luckily, there’s no evidence that Lyme disease is contagious between humans.

This illness causes a wide range of symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Infected persons often experience fever, aches, fatigue, and headaches. Problems with the heart, joints, and nervous systems are also common. In very rare cases, an infected person may die. Treatment is a 10-to-21-day course of antibiotics that is most effective when taken as soon as possible. But even after taking antibiotics, some patients continue to experience lifelong symptoms.

A bullseye-shaped rash may appear around the bite site after someone has been infected with Lyme disease. If you see this telltale sign, visit a doctor as soon as possible.

Where Do Lyme-Carrying Ticks Live?

Blacklegged ticks can be found throughout the eastern United States, but Lyme diseases is most prevalent in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Minnesota, Maryland, Virginia, New Hampshire, Delaware and Maine.

Ticks like to live in wooded areas, grassy environments, and, unfortunately, your yard. These insects thrive throughout the United States. The ticks that carry Lyme disease are the most active from April through September. However, a tick can bite you any time of the year, and even a deep freeze won’t eliminate them.

Risk of Contracting Lyme After a Bite

So, do all deer ticks carry Lyme disease? No, just because a tick can carry the disease doesn’t mean it does. A bite from a deer tick doesn’t always turn into a case of Lyme, but if you pull one off your body, it’s best to monitor the site for any reaction and yourself for Lyme symptoms. Symptoms can appear a few days or even several weeks after a bite. Early antibiotic treatment is vital for a fast recovery from Lyme disease, so see a doctor at the first indication of Lyme.

Here are risk factors for Lyme disease:

  • Having a tick attached to your skin for more than 36 hours
  • Exposing a lot of skin while outdoors
  • Working an outdoor job
  • Living in a heavily wooded area

While not all species carry Lyme, many other varieties do sometimes carry other diseases. After removing any tick from your body, make sure to be on the lookout for any signs of sickness. Again, not every tick will transmit disease, but any tick bite has the potential.

Preventing Tick Bites and Lyme Disease

The best way to prevent tick bites is to avoid their habitat. When you do wander outdoors, cover as much skin as possible. You should also keep your lawn manicured and remove any excess brush and fallen tree limbs.

Mosquito Joe can also put your mind at ease. Our barrier control service will prevent all types of ticks from ruining your picnic. Ticks don’t stand a chance against our team! Get in touch with us online or call 1-855-275-2563 to schedule your tick control treatment.

Is your overgrown backyard looking like a haven for ticks? The Grounds Guys, another brand in the Neighborly® family, can provide the professional landscaping and lawn care services you need.


How to Properly Remove A Tick

What Is the Proper Way to Remove a Tick?

Everyone and their Great Aunt Edith seem to have friendly advice on how to remove a tick. The trick is knowing how to sort the myths from the facts—getting tick removal wrong could be dangerous. Burning a tick with a match and painting over it with nail polish are not safe ways to remove ticks (no matter what Aunt Edith says). Methods such as these can result in an increased risk of diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Why It’s Important to Use Safe Methods for Tick Removal

Removing a tick is unlike removing any other type of insect from the body. While you can simply brush away most bugs, a tick attaches to the body, bites the skin, and begins drawing blood. Ticks differ from most biting bugs in that they tend to burrow into the skin and remain attached to the body even after biting.  Because many ticks carry diseases, they can pass these diseases to the human host while attached.

Certain unsafe removal methods can cause the tick to salivate and regurgitate into the bite site, which may increase the risk of disease transmission.

Improper removal techniques include:

  • Applying heat to the tick body with a hot nail or match
  • Covering the tick with petroleum jelly, alcohol, nail polish, or gasoline
  • Killing the tick while it’s still attached to the skin
  • Crushing, squeezing, twisting, or puncturing the tick
  • Handling the tick body with bare hands

How to Properly Remove a Tick

While you may be eager to remove a tick from your body or your child’s body as quickly as possible, it’s important to have the right supplies on hand first. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Pointy tweezers – Choose tweezers with a pointed tip, not square. Your typical eyebrow tweezers likely aren’t pointy enough and might tear the tick’s body.
  • Rubbing alcohol or soap and water – You will use this to clean the site thoroughly.

Once you have these items ready to go, take these five steps to remove a tick correctly to minimize the risk of infection:

  1. Clean the area surrounding the tick bite with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
  2. Take your pointed tweezers and place the point down into the skin so you can grab as closely as possible to the tick’s head.
  3. Use slow, firm motion, and steady pressure to pull the tick straight up and out of the skin; avoid jerking or twisting. If the tick breaks, make sure to go back to the bite site to remove the remaining head. If you are unable to remove the head, seek medical attention.
  4. Once removed, avoid handling the tick with bare hands. Use the tweezers to place the tick’s body into a container with a blade of grass if you wish to keep it alive and send away for testing. Or safely dispose of the tick by flushing it down the toilet.
  5. Use the rubbing alcohol or soap and water to clean the bite area once again.

Tick Bite Symptoms: What You Need to Know

After removing the tick, it’s important to inspect the surrounding area thoroughly for signs of infection. Contact your doctor immediately if you notice a bull’s-eye rash, characterized by a raised spot with a clear center at the bite location.

Continue to keep an eye on the bite site in the following days and contact your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of these potential signs of Lyme disease:

  • Body aches, muscle pain or a stiff neck
  • Fever and/or chills
  • Fainting spells
  • Headache
  • Light-headedness

If you saved the tick in a container, bring it along with you to the doctor’s appointment because it can help to diagnose disease.

Check for Ticks Regularly

The risk of Lyme disease transmission increases significantly after 24 hours of attachment, so it is a good idea to check yourself and any family members for ticks regularly. Checking at least daily for ticks is an ideal practice. However, if you, family members, or a pet are outside often, it’s wise to check each time you come indoors. Look under arms, behind ears and knees, under hair and on the scalp, inside the belly button, around the waist, and between legs.

Treat Your Yard for Ticks and Other Pests

You can never be too cautious when it comes to tick bites and preventing tick-borne illnesses. If you want to add an extra layer of protection to your outdoor fun, reach out to your local Mosquito Joe for barrier treatments designed to eliminate ticks. Call us at 1-855-275-2563 or contact us online to schedule professional tick control services.

Ticks gross a lot of people out. Check out these recommendations for cleaning gross things more painlessly from our friends at Molly Maid. Molly Maid is another member of the Neighborly® family of home service brands.