Ticks are a growing concern, for a good reason. With the increasing population of deer in Pittsburgh and reports of Lyme disease diagnosis doubling over the past 10-years, ticks are everywhere. But when do we have to be more concerned about them, how can we identify them, and how best to remove them are questions that any of us might have. In this blog article, we try to address some of these topics.

When are ticks at their peak? As with most bugs, ticks have a seasonal life cycle. Typically the tiny nymphs are the ones that feed heavily in the spring and summer (May through July) and that do the most damage in transmitting Lyme disease to their hosts. Other stages of ticks are not as likely to transmit pathogens, and in the wintertime, they become very inactive, especially when the ground is frozen.

How do you identify a tick? Many bugs will look like a tick and can be concerning to many of us, especially at this time of the year. Each of the major news stations has had alerts about the billbug. The billbug will be very prevalent for the next couple of weeks since it is their mating season. However, ticks are different than most other bugs we find in our yards and our homes because a tick has 4-pairs of legs. Most insects only have 3-pairs of legs and a set of antennae on their heads. Ticks will vary in size depending on the time of the year, but the baby nymph ticks that aggressively search for a host start as the size of a pinhead. They will slowly grow in size as they feed and move from one host to the next. Ticks are never in swarms or groups. They do not fly or jump and only crawl. Most often, they attach themselves to a host by waiting in areas that are likely to be contacted by a passer-by, and they transfer when you make contact with them.
How do you remove a tick? If a tick attached itself to your skin, you want to remove them with pointy tweezers. These can often be found at a drug store if you do not have them already. Grab the tick as close to your skin as possible and pull straight back. If unable to get the head out of the skin, it will eventually fall out, so no need to worry. For a tick to start transferring the pathogens that cause Lyme disease, the tick will generally have to be on your skin for over 24 hours. So timely removal will prevent disease transfer.

Here is a link to the local KDKA news report on billbugs in our yards.

Here is another informative website reference dedicated to ticks: Tick Encounter

Rollier's Hardware

Phone: 412-561-0922

Email: info@rolliers.com 

Address: 600 Washington Road
Mt. Lebanon, PA 15228

Store Hours: Mon-Sat 9am-8pm and Sun 10am-5pm 


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