I've heard this is going to be an especially bad year for ticks. Is there any truth to that? And what can be done in terms of prevention, especially with kids? I already check their heads when they come inside but that doesn't seem like enough
It is difficult to predict tick populations from year-to-year, because there are a number of factors that affect their populations, including temperature, rainfall, availability of tick habitat, and potential hosts.
Because tick populations are highly variable, we recommend taking precautions. You can prevent tick bites by dressing appropriately—tucking pant legs into socks and tucking shirts into pants. Wear light-colored clothing so that ticks are easier to see and remove.
Conduct frequent tick checks on yourself, your children and pets after all outdoor activities. Ticks can be found anywhere on the body, but tend to gravitate toward high-humidity areas on the body where they may be difficult to find. When possible, avoid areas that may harbor ticks or their hosts, including long grass, vegetation overhanging trails, and wooded edges.
Use a repellent containing the active ingredient DEET (or other effective tick repellent). Repellents containing DEET are approved for use on children over two months of age. Pre-treat (or purchase) clothes treated with 0.5% permethrin, an insecticide that both kills and repels ticks. Always follow directions on the label when using repellents and insecticides.
Ticks can be reduced in the yard by practicing tick-safe landscaping, discouraging deer, or using chemical control, usually with insecticides that contain the active ingredient permethrin. More information can be found on our website: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/hd/westnile/tickfreeyard.htm