Ticks are a vector of concern in Saint Joseph County because they can transmit diseases to humans such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Ticks have four life stages:
Adult ticks, nymphs, and larvae feed on the blood of mammals. Adult ticks prefer high grass, low brush, or shrubs, while nymphs and larvae prefer shady, moist ground litter, stone walls, and woodpiles. Some tick species can take up to 3 years to complete their full life cycle.
Ticks find a host by sensing body heat, moisture, vibrations, or body odors. They typically rest on grasses and shrubs along well-used paths while waiting for a host. They hold their first pair of legs outstretched in a position known as questing. When a host brushes against the grass or a shrub where a tick is waiting, it will climb on the host. Some ticks will attach quickly while others will look for skin that is thinner, such as the ear.
Tick Control & Prevention
To control tick populations around your home or business, the following steps should be taken:
- Keep grass mowed short
- Remove tall weeds
- Remove underbrush and leaf litter in woody or shady areas
- Remove harborage where rodents (a prime source for a blood meal) can live.