Ticks and tick bites aren't restricted to woodland walks and camping adventures. The truth behind these pests strikes closer to home. Common tick-related diseases are most likely to be contracted from ticks you and your family encounter in your own lawn and garden.1 Understanding the answers to these common tick questions can help you protect your family:
Depending on where you live, common ticks in your area may stay active year-round. However, tick activity generally kicks into high gear from April through September. It increases as weather warms — and people and animals become more active outside, too.
Immature, pinhead-size ticks called “nymphs" are responsible for approximately 98 percent of all tick bites.1 Nymph activity — and the transmission of tick-related diseases such as Lyme disease — tends to peak from May through July.1
It may seem that ticks drop down from tree branches, because they're often found hidden in hair. However, they actually start closer to the ground. Favorite hiding spots include naturalized or unmown areas with weeds and tall grasses, especially when they're humid and shady. When lawns are nearby, ticks move into mowed areas, too. However, more than 80 percent stay in the lawn's outer 9 feet. Low-lying ground covers and low-hanging shrubs in gardens or foundation plantings are also prime spots for ticks.
Ticks typically move onto humans or animals that brush against grasses or weeds when passing by. Then ticks climb upward and find a spot to bite and feed. An estimated 75 percent of tick bites occur from ticks picked up during normal home activities such as gardening, backyard play or entertaining.1
Tick problems don't go away on their own — they multiply. Ticks that carry the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease typically lay eggs in batches of 3,000 or more. Some ticks lay up to 15,000 eggs before they die.1 Untreated ticks may live for several years, and some can even live indoors.
No U.S. region is free from the threat of ticks and tick-transmitted disease. Tick populations and diseases are on the rise.2 Reactions to tick bites range from mild itching to serious, even deadly conditions, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, tick-induced paralysis and Powassan virus.3