Preventing Pest Problems

Sometimes it seems as if pests such as mosquitoes and ticks exist solely to ruin humans’ fun during the summer. Unfortunately, both insects thrive in Ohio, but there are a number of preventative measures you can take to minimize the risk of disease acquired from their bites.

The clock is ticking on pest removal

The most commonly found ticks in Ohio are American dog ticks. Brown in color and the size of a watermelon seed, these ticks do not carry Lyme disease and often embed on the scalp or hairline at the back of the neck. The deer tick population is growing in the state of Ohio. These insects – dark chocolate in color and about 1/16 of an inch long – can carry Lyme disease. These ticks will almost immediately attach themselves once in contact with exposed skin.

While not all ticks carry diseases, ticks that have been attached longer pose more of a risk to their human hosts. To properly remove an embedded tick, use tweezers to grab the insect as close to the skin as possible. Firmly and smoothly, pull it straight up to avoid breaking the tick’s body. After the tick has been removed, submerge it in rubbing alcohol and place it in a sealed container in case the doctor needs to identify the tick type. When possible, call your doctor to determine what complications to look out for and when to follow up for treatment, if needed.

To lessen your chances of a tick bite, follow these tips:

  1. Don’t go off the trail: Ticks are often found in high-grass areas, so stay on trails when hiking through wooded areas.
  2. Inspect for ticks: Carefully inspect your clothing, skin and pets after being outside. To take extra precaution, you may want to shower and wash your clothing after being in high-risk tick areas.
  3. Don’t forget repellent: Products containing 20% or more DEET, IR3535 or picaridin are quite effective in deterring ticks. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has issued this repellent guide.

Better to be safe than sorry with mosquitoes

Mosquitoes in Ohio can carry serious viruses such as West Nile, St. Louis encephalitis, Eastern equine encephalitis and La Crosse. Follow these tips to help enjoy the outdoors during the summer:

  1. Wear layers: The more difficult you make it for mosquitoes to find your skin, the safer and more comfortable you’ll be.
  2. Spray away: Using a repellent is the easiest way to deter the insects from landing on your skin. Choose a product with one of these active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, IR3535 or 2-undecanone.
  3. Avoid outdoors during peak mosquito hours: The insects are most active in the early morning and late evening hours, so consider adjusting your outdoor schedule accordingly.