Australia has no shortage of bothersome pests that should be kept away from your home and loved ones, but few have such an unsavory reputation as the so-called "paralysis tick". The bad reputation of these tiny and seemingly innocuous creatures is well-deserved.
Why are paralysis ticks so dangerous?
Paralysis ticks feed on the blood of both animals and humans. When they bite into flesh to feed on blood, they also release a potent toxin into the victim's bloodstream; this toxin can cause a painful and itchy rash even if the tick is removed completely, and in some cases, the toxin also triggers a dangerous allergic reaction. If the tick is allowed to feed for an extended period, the effects of this toxin can be far more serious, leading to dangerous diseases and even permanent paralysis. In pets such as cats and dogs, this toxic bite can lead to death in a matter of hours.
As such, it goes without saying that these pests should be kept away from your garden and home. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can keep ticks from invading your property, and engaging the services of a professional pest control service ensures that your anti-tick measures are both thorough and effective.
How can I keep ticks away from my property?
Paralysis ticks tend to make their homes in long grass and dense foliage, so keeping your garden and the land surrounding your home free of ticks is a highly effective way to keep them out of your home. Having your garden treated with insecticidal sprays will both kill any ticks in the area and prevent new ticks from entering the area around your home. Though ticks are surprisingly tough and can endure weaker pesticides, they are vulnerable to the potent, DEET-containing insecticides commonly used by professional pest control services.
Spraying the entirety of your garden can be both expensive and time consuming. A more practical approach is to spray potential trouble spots, such as dense patches of vegetation in which ticks can breed. Spraying long-lasting insecticides around the borders of your land to create a defensive perimeter is also highly effective.
Unfortunately, these insecticides can also harm other beneficial insects that pollinate your plants and predate on other pests. If you want to keep the amount of insecticide you have to use to a minimum, consider removing the areas in which ticks live and breed. Keep your lawns cut relatively short to prevent ticks hiding in long grass, and trim or remove dense shrubs and hedges in which they can shelter. Leaf litter in autumn should be removed promptly for the same reasons.
Ticks can also be attracted to your home by water, so you should make sure that puddles of standing water around you home are kept to a minimum during the wetter months. If you have a water feature, have your pest control company treat the land around it with insecticides to kill ticks moving towards it.
Since paralysis ticks are so dangerous to pets, you should pay particular attention to the areas in which your pets sleep, feed and play. If your dogs or cats kennel outside, have the area treated with water-based insecticides that do not pose a danger to their health (your chosen company can advise you on pet-safe options). Keep their food and water dishes away from grassy areas is possible, and check their fur regularly for any paralysis ticks that may have latched onto them before they can do serious harm.