Ticks in winter aren't as active as they are in the warmer months, but they may still come out on days when temperatures rise above freezing. Once they become active, they will want to feed, and will lie in wait for suitable hosts like your cat or dog.
Ticks primarily live in tall grass, brush, and wooded areas, and are most active between the months of April and September. However, many species of ticks will emerge year-round on days when temperatures reach 32 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Interestingly enough, recent research suggests that some species of ticks in the U.S. have become more resistant to cold temperatures and can tolerate lower temperatures than they could in the past.
Ticks are parasitic arachnids that feed on the blood of mammals, birds and other animals. They spread many serious disease, including Lyme Disease, Powassan Virus Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tickborne Relapsing Fever, and more.
Checking Your Pets for Ticks
Dogs are very susceptible to tick bites and tickborne diseases but may not show signs of illness until 7-21 days after being bitten. That's why the CDC advises using veterinarian-recommended tick preventative products on dogs and cats, even in winter, if they'll be spending a lot of time outdoors.
On warmer days, check your pets for ticks daily after they've been outdoors, and remove any ticks you find right way. If you know or suspect your pet was bitten by a tick, monitor them closely for changes in behavior or appetite, and contact a veterinarian if you notice symptoms.
Your Pets Can Bring Ticks Inside
If your pet picks up ticks on warm days, they may bring them inside your home, which also puts your family at risk of tick bites.
To reduce the risk of your pet picking up ticks, avoid walking them or letting them play in grassy, brushy and wooded areas on warmer days. To reduce ticks in your own back yard, the CDC recommends removing leaf litter, clearing tall grass and brush, placing a 3-foot barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas, keeping grass short, and removing old furniture, mattresses, or other items that give ticks a place to hide. Also, avoid attracting wild animals like deer, racoons and stray animals to your yard.
Need Help Protecting Your Turf from Ticks?
If you have ticks in your yard and want help getting rid of them year-round, Patio Patrol can help you protect your turf. To learn more, contact us today at PatioPatrol.com.