The change in seasons and an increase in warmer weather means that many of us will be spending more time outdoors. Vacations, hiking trips, and outdoor activities such as picnics, community events, or weddings all provide opportunities to enjoy the natural beauty of the Utah area. However, there are risks you need to be aware of. The spring and early summer months are peak seasons for ticks to breed and they carry pathogens that can result in a variety of serious and potentially debilitating health conditions. At Elevate Pest Control, we want you to be aware of the dangers that ticks can pose and the steps you need to take to protect yourself.
Common Types of Ticks in Utah
Utah’s lush lakes, mountains, and forests make it ideal for outdoor activities. Unfortunately, these characteristics also provide an ideal home for ticks to live and breed. Ticks commonly lay their eggs on the ground and young ticks will frequently attach themselves to smaller mammals, such as mice and other rodents. As they grow larger, ticks are more likely to feed on larger creatures, including dogs, horses, and humans. Ticks have a long life span and while they tend to go dormant in the winter months, retreating to wood piles and under blankets of fall leaves, the warmer weather brings them back to life.
USU warns that spring rains and snow melts in mountainous regions throughout the state provide a perfect home for ticks to thrive. Unfortunately, outdoor enthusiasts who go camping or hiking in these spots can find themselves playing hosts to ticks, as can anyone who lives, works, or routinely ventures into grassy fields, forests, or other bushy locations. Even doing some simple spring cleaning around your home or property could end up putting you at risk. The two most common types of ticks you are likely to encounter are:
- Brown Dog tick: This type of tick can be found worldwide and is characterized by its namesake color and the fact that it often attaches itself to dogs. However, it will also attach to humans if a canine host is not available.
- Rocky Mountain Wood tick: This tick, as its name implies, is found primarily in Rocky Mountain states such as Utah, Colorado, Montana, Idaho, and Nevada. It has a brown head and a black body and is known to attach itself to dogs and cats, as well as humans.
Common Diseases Transmitted by Ticks
Ticks produce pathogens and can transmit viruses and bacteria when they attach themselves to a host. Unfortunately, this can leave victims suffering a variety of potentially serious diseases. Lyme disease is one of the most well known of these conditions and the Utah Department of Health warns that it can produce symptoms that include fever, headaches, and muscle pain, as well as infections that can spread to the joints, heart, and nervous system. While Lyme disease is not endemic to Utah, other serious and more common tick-borne diseases in our area include:
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: Transmitted by both brown dog ticks and Rocky Mountain wood ticks, it can cause high fevers, severe headaches, body pain, chills, and other flu-like symptoms. It can also produce a rash on the arms or legs that can quickly spread to other parts of the body. As it can be potentially life threatening, it is important to get immediate medical care.
- Colorado Tick Fever: Transmitted primarily through Rocky Mountain wood ticks, it also produces flu-type symptoms and a raised rash, which typically occurs four to five days after a tick bite.
- Tularemia: Tularemia is a disease that can be transmitted by dog or wood tick bites as well as by skin contact or drinking contaminated water. It can result in skin ulcers, swollen glands, and lung conditions, which can develop into pneumonia.
- Tick Borne Relapsing Fever (TBRF): Associated with sleeping in cabins or in other rustic settings, TBRF causes recurring flu-like symptoms and requires treatment with antibiotics.
Tick Pest Control
To protect yourself, your family, and your pets, it is important to check for ticks after any time spent outdoors. To help prevent ticks from being a threat in your yard or in areas surrounding your property, our local tick control experts at Elevate Pest Control provide a tailored treatment program that is proven to be both safe and highly effective. To request a free consultation, reach out and call or contact our pest control experts online today.