Ticks are scientifically classified as Arachnida (which is a classification that includes spiders) and Eastern Ontario is experiencing a significant increase in the reporting of Ticks and of Lyme disease. The black legged tick or “deer tick” is the tick that potentially carries Lyme disease, and in some areas, the disease can be found in 30% of the native Tick population. The Tick is the carrier of the disease which is caused by the bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi. The bacterium is injected into the host during the Tick feeding stage. The picture below is the black legged tick or “deer tick”.

Ticks “quest” or host seek from tall grass and weeds, shrubs, leaf piles and property border areas. They opportunistically wait in these areas for a host to pass by and brush up against their perching area. Keeping the grass cut and maintained especially around forested areas, limiting brushy shrubs, removing leaf piles and generally cleaning up property borders will help limit tick harborage areas.

As they feed, the tick’s body gets bigger growing from approximately 0.3 cm when unfed to 0.6 cm when partially fed. When fully fed, the tick is about 1 cm long and egg shaped.

The life cycle of the tick from larva to adult.

Ticks are very hardy and can tolerate drought conditions and freezing cold. They can also survive up to 2 years without a blood meal. They can even survive 2 days under water. The Tick injects the contents of its salivary gland when it bites its host. This saliva contains compounds resulting in both pain numbing and immune suppression, and the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. The pain numbing compounds minimize the typical red inflammation and itchiness trait of other blood sucking insects, hence their ability to remain attached to skin and go unnoticed.

How can you protect yourself and your family against ticks?

When you are outside in potential tick areas use deet based insecticides, tuck your pant legs into your socks, wear light colored clothing so you can see ticks easier and finally do a tick check when you come in from the outdoors. Showering within 2 hours after coming in from the outdoors is also recommended.

Enviro-Guard Plus has its own Tick Control Program designed to reduce the chances of a tick finding your yard habitable. Our program includes an initial inspection highlighting recommendations for discouraging tick habitation as well as 2 services to control resident populations. We use a Ministry of Health approved product registered for the control of Ticks. A late Spring service followed by a September/October service is ideal. Actual timing is subject to variation due to changes in weather conditions. After the application pets and children should be restricted from application areas for 6 to 8 hours or until application is dry.

Interested in tick control? Check out our Tick Control Program.

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