As summer comes to a close, the battle against seasonal pests begins to lessen. However, the fall season is an important one in preventing the spread of ticks for the 2013 season.
Many homeowners consider the fall as the end of tick season as the temperatures decrease, but it is actually an important time to treat properties to prevent the spread of ticks for the spring season.
Although the adult tick’s highest peak in the Northeast occurs during May through July, ticks will remain active in searching for hosts up until October or even later depending on weather conditions. Despite a chill in the air, ticks are able to detect the carbon dioxide being released from a warm-blooded animal such as a dog or a deer, and be enticed to latch on for a warm meal. The fall season tends to be the stage in the tick’s life cycle referred to as adult. Adult ticks actively seek new hosts throughout the fall, waiting up to 3 feet above ground on grass and leaf tips to latch on to a host. The female adults, after feeding, become egg-laden and lay their eggs underneath leaf litter and in the spring and summer the eggs hatch thus starting a new tick population.
As a result of this tick activity in the fall, tick prevention is imperative in lessening the outbreak for the next season. As well, of the adult ticks sampled in highly endemic areas of the northeast, 50 percent have been found to carry Lyme disease. Therefore the risk of Lyme’s disease and other tick borne diseases are still a high risk well into fall. I recommend continuing preventative spraying into the end of October to kill the existing adults and thus limit the new batch of ticks that could potentially hatch at the start of the 2013 season.
Other tips for property management homeowners can execute on their own to prevent ticks nesting for the fall season are:
* Reduce leaf litter, brush and weeds at the edge of the lawn and around the house.
* Cut grass short and regularly.
* Remove brush and leaves around stonewalls and wood piles.
* Use wood chips to help keep the buffer zone free of plants and restrict tick migration.
* Trim tree branches to let in more sunlight.