This winter was not brutal enough to kill off last year's batch of ticks, and black flies are hatching all across the state.
Here are some tips to help reduce the chance of bites.
Water: Eliminate standing water, which acts as a breeding ground for mosquitoes (flower pots, children’s pools, watering cans and gutters.)
Trash: Remember to keep the lids on trash cans to keep out the rain.
Puddles: Cover up or fill in low places in your yard where puddles can develop.
Gutters: Keep gutters cleaned out so water does not build up inside and become a mosquito breeding ground.
Drains: Make sure all drains on your property are also cleaned out without leaves blocking them up so water will drain effectively.
Pipes: Repair leaky pipes and outdoor faucets.
Toys: Empty plastic wading pools at least once a week or store in a position that water will drain.
Pools: Make sure your backyard pool is maintained properly.
Holes: Fill in tree rot holes and hollow stumps that hold water with sand or concrete.
Bird Baths and planters: Change water in bird baths and planter pots or drip trays at least once a week.
Grass: Keep grass cut short around the house, so adult mosquitoes will not hide there.
In your yard: Ticks are not out in the middle of your lawn, they live where yards border wooded areas, or anywhere it is shaded and there are leaves with high humidity. Place a layer of wood chips between your grass yard and the woods edge. Ticks are attracted to the wood chips because of the shade and moisture it provides.
Tick Checks: Make periodic tick checks (on yourself, children and pets) and carefully remove any found. Wear light colored clothing so ticks are easier to find.
Avoid Tick Habitats: Shady, wooded and weedy edges are favorite spots for ticks to hang out. Avoiding tick habitats can be difficult but there are plenty of ways - such as always walking in the middle of maintained trails - to limit tick encounters. When on a hike, bike, or walk try to remain in the center of a trail in order to minimize your exposure. Remember - ticks cannot fly, they crawl. Avoid sitting directly on the ground, woodpiles or fallen logs - areas where ticks love to live.
Remove Ticks Safely: To safely remove attached ticks, first disinfect the area with an alcohol swab. Next, using a pointy tweezer, grab the tick "head" as close to the skin as possible and simply pull straight out. Remember to disinfect the bite site again after pulling the tick out.
Wear mosquito and tick repellent clothing. One product is Insect Shield for Pets. Insect Shield is EPA registered to repel mosquitoes and ticks.