How to Avoid Ticks in Iowa

April 25, 2024

Many of Iowa’s pests come out of hiding as the weather gets warmer and can potentially ruin the fun. Ticks are among the most notorious of these pests and can be quite a nuisance. Partly because they are parasites, and nobody wants a parasite living on them! But also, ticks can transmit deadly diseases such as Lyme diseases, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis and more.

Our experts at Preferred Pest Control want to help you avoid ticks this year with tips and insights to prevent ticks in your yard and our very own advice on how to check for ticks after spending time outdoors.

What attracts ticks?

Ticks are attracted to humans ? more specifically, they are sensitive to the CO2 we exhale, our body heat and our sweat, all of which are uncontrollable. These pests also require blood meals, and will leave their nesting areas to travel along with a host. Luckily, with our tips, you can avoid ticks while outdoors this summer.

How do ticks get on you?

Ticks will actually crawl quickly from branches or grasses to attach to a passing-by host. Because people often find ticks in their hair, it’s a common misconception that ticks like to hang out in trees and will jump on you as you walk by. However, ticks don’t jump, so physically brushing up against these pests is the only way for them to cling on to you.

How to Avoid Ticks in Your Backyard

Lawn maintenance is key to preventing ticks and making your lawn unattractive to ticks:

  1. Trim the bushes
  2. Mow the grass (shorter than normal)
  3. Adjust landscaping to include less plants and shrubbery
  4. Make sure drains and gutters are working properly
  5. Avoid mulch in your landscaping

Oftentimes, homeowners will discover ticks on them after being out in the yard. Finding ticks on your property can be discomforting, but following the steps above will eliminate any potential hiding places for ticks on your property and limit the conditions in which ticks thrive. Our technicians perform helpful tick services for homeowners looking to prevent ticks or treat an infestation in their yard. However, for those looking to prevent ticks on their own, these tips are just a few of the many ways you can keep your lawn clutter-free and should help you avoid ticks in Iowa this summer.

How to Avoid Ticks While Hiking Outdoors

Ticks are most often found in shady, warm and moist environments such as wooded areas or places with long grass and thick vegetation. For this reason, hiking outdoors is one of the most common activities that leads to finding ticks. However, that’s not the only time you need to be wary of ticks - keep these tricks in mind to avoid ticks any time you’re venturing outside this summer:

  1. Keep skin covered and less exposed
  2. Wear light or bright colors (this will make it easier to spot a tick on you)
  3. Stay out of tall grass or thick vegetation if possible
  4. Tick repellent spray may work to deter ticks
  5. Always check for ticks when you’re finished exploring outdoors

How to Check For Ticks

We recommend using the buddy system to check for ticks in areas you cannot see yourself. You can also use a hand-held mirror to do the same. Once a tick has found a host, it will move across the body until it reaches a desirable area where it will bite and burrow its head into your skin. Ticks are most often found in warm areas such as the armpits and groin. They’re also commonly found near the ears and neck, which can be difficult to see during a self-examination.

Showering is another great way to check for ticks. In fact, showering shortly after coming inside can potentially wash off any unattached ticks. This is also a great way to check for ticks in your hair – another common place to find them. When washing your hair, feel for any unusual bumps. If there are any, you can either comb your hair with a fine-toothed comb or have someone help check your scalp for ticks.

What does a tick bite look like?

A feeding tick will look like an oval-shaped bean stuck to your skin. A tick bite will typically have a red area around the spot of the bite. Be on the lookout for tick bites that look like a bull’s eye with a red spot in the center ?this is a sign that the bite could transfer Lyme disease. If you discover this type of rash, seek immediate medical attention.


How to Remove a Tick The Right Way

When removing a tick, it’s extremely important not to detach the body from the submerged head of the tick. To safely remove a tick, use a pair of tweezers to carefully get a hold of the tick as close to the head as possible. From there, you can gently pull to extract the entire tick from your skin.

Ticks are known to be common carriers for Lyme disease, a very dangerous disease that is difficult to detect. When removing a tick, do not squeeze or burn the tick with a match! These are both common practices from uninformed tick victims that can lead to Lyme disease and do more harm than good.

Contact Preferred Pest Control in Des Moines For Backyard Tick Treatments

As leading experts for pest control in Des Moines, our technicians have decades of experience working with insects in Iowa, and our tick services can help keep these pests at bay. If you’re still feeling wary about ticks this summer and want to learn more, give us a call at (515) 415-5550 today! Or, schedule an appointment to speak with a Preferred Pest team member in person. We look forward to helping you enjoy a pest-free summer.