How to Prevent Tick Bites and Tick-Borne Diseases

How to Prevent Tick Bites and Tick-Borne Diseases

Time spent outdoors puts you in possible contact with ticks, parasitic pests that plague humans and pets. Although bites from these blood-sucking bugs are often harmless, some cause allergic reactions, while others may transmit dangerous diseases, like Lyme. Here’s what you need to know to prevent tick bites.

What You Need to Know to Prevent Tick Bites

To prevent tick bites and avoid diseases they may carry, it’s important to recognize these parasites. The black legged tick (often responsible for carrying Lyme disease) is an eight-legged creature with a dark brown-to-black body that’s oval and flat. These little pests usually measure up to 1/8 of an inch as adults. They take their nourishment from humans and animals by lingering in tall grasses and shrubs, waiting for a victim to pass closely by, and then latch on. Once aboard the host, a tick punctures the skin and feeds on blood.

Signs and Symptoms

Most tick bites are harmless, however, it’s possible to get an allergic reaction to them. Often, symptoms include swelling, a rash, or blistering. Shortness of breath can occur if the allergy is very serious. Some ticks carry diseases that they transmit to the host when feeding. It’s sometimes easy to identify a tick bite, because the culprit remains at the bite site to feed a while.

Get medical attention immediately if you have a reaction. Also, see a doctor if the following symptoms of a transmitted disease occur: rash, aches (especially in the neck or joints), headache, nausea, swollen lymph nodes, or a fever. These possible symptoms occur anywhere from a couple of days to several weeks after the bite.

Tips to Prevent Tick Bites

Always apply tick repellent when your are working in the yard or heading into the woods. Products that include the ingredient DEET work best. When hiking, stay on the path and out of tall grasses and weeds. Treat the clothes you wear with a product that contains permethrin, and wear long sleeves and pants (tucked into boots preferably). At the end of your hike or outing, completely check your hair, clothes, and body for ticks. Be sure to check in warm areas where these pests hide like under the arms, in the hair, and around the groin area.

Ticks access your home via your pet. They easily tag onto fur for a free ride inside. Protect your pets with an anti-tick product, but consult your vet first to find out what’s best for your furry friend. After a walk or after your dog roams anywhere freely, check him over before taking him indoors.

We Can Help Prevent Pests

Tick-borne diseases may be as close as your backyard. Contact a specialist today. Call Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone] to help prevent tick bites from affecting your family and furry friends. We’ll take care of tall grasses, piles of leaves, and overgrown shrubs to eliminate environments where pests thrive.

Teach Your Pet a New Trick: Ways to Prevent Dog Pee Damage in Lawns

Teach Your Pet a New Trick: Ways to Prevent Dog Pee Damage in Lawns

You give your pet free rein of the yard for bathroom breaks, yet Rover prefers to pee in the same area over and over. This behavior often results in brown or dead patches of grass. Eventually, these damaged spots harm the health of the whole lawn. Is your canine causing your home’s curb appeal to take a dive? Try these helpful hints to do away with dog pee damage on your lawn.

Why Is the Grass Dying?

Canine urine kills grass because it is rich in nitrogen. Even though nitrogen is an important and beneficial ingredient in fertilizer, which we use to green up the grass, too much of it does more harm than good. And dog urine contains a concentrated amount of nitrogen, so basically, it’s an overdose of nutrients that kills the grass.

Tips to Stop Dog Pee Damage

Teach your pup a new trick. Designate one area for your dog to do his business and train him to use only that spot. It can be a patch of gravel, mulch, or even a square of artificial grass that’s easy to hose off. Consider hardscaping with bricks or pavers in a small area. Or just pick a place in the lawn that’s less visible.

Let water wash away your woes. When you let your pet out, hose down the area where he urinated after he finishes. This dilutes the nitrogen, and the urine is less likely to burn the grass. However, this method means that you watch your pup to see where he pees, which is not always possible. Hydrating your pup also helps the lawn. The more he drinks, the less concentrated the urine. Make sure your pet’s water dish is always full.

Fix it with less fertilizer. When fertilizing, choose a formula with less nitrogen in it since the grass already gets enough of that nutrient. Better yet, avoid dog pee damage areas when fertilizing altogether.

Take a walk. Instead of letting the dog out in the yard to relieve himself, take him on a walk. The exercise is good for both of you, plus it gives the grass time to heal.

Plant urine-resistant grass. If you need to seed your lawn choose either ryegrass or fescue. These grass types stay hardier under dog urine duress, more so than Kentucky bluegrass or Bermuda.

Change the diet. Certain dietary supplements fed to dogs help neutralize the nitrogen in urine. Ask your vet before you give your pet any supplements to make sure it won’t be harmful to his health.

Is It Really Dog Pee Damage?

Every summer homeowners work hard to keep grass green. Dead spots in the grass might mean a myriad of things. For instance, lawns suffering from pest or weed invasions, drought, or a variety of fungal diseases often look like they suffer from dog pee damage. Make sure you know the cause of the problem before you treat it. If you have any questions, call Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone].

Crabgrass Control: Winning the War on Weeds With or Without Chemicals

Crabgrass Control: Winning the War on Weeds With or Without Chemicals

Late summer is a stressful time for your lawn. Not only does it deal with drought, heat, pests, and extra traffic from outdoor activities, but crabgrass is one weed in particular that loves to invade your lawn this time of year. When it comes to crabgrass control, there’s two ways to go: with chemicals or without.

The Nature of this Nuisance Weed

Crabgrass thrives in the hot, dry weather and its wandering stems quickly take over the yard, stealing nutrients from native grasses and plants. Turf weakened by a summertime of stresses makes a perfect target for this invasive annual weed. And, before it dies off in the fall, each plant produces thousands of seeds to haunt you next season.

Crabgrass Control Using Chemicals

The best crabgrass control is prevention, and using a pre-emergent herbicide is the most effective way to stop the weeds before they start. Timing is tricky, though. Apply this treatment in the spring while weeds are still seedlings and before they sprout. A pre-emergent herbicide creates a barrier on the soil that prevents the seedlings from emerging.

As the name suggests, a post-emergent herbicide kills crabgrass after it germinates and is applied directly to the plant. Treatments often need to be repeated after the first application. It’s important to pick a dry, sunny day for application, since a rain shower washes away your hard work before it sinks into the soil. The soil should be moist before treatment, so water the lawn well a day or two before application if necessary.

Control Crabgrass Naturally

Want to control crabgrass without the chemicals? Corn gluten functions as a natural pre-emergent herbicide when applied before the weed sprouts. As a bonus, it also acts as a fertilizer for your grass. Unfortunately, once weeds have emerged, corn gluten is ineffective.

Once crabgrass establishes itself in your lawn, hand pulling is another natural method to use. This method requires patience and only works with a small amount of weeds. You must wait until the weed is big enough in order to get the whole plant out, roots and all. Weeding tools get the job done, but a hoe or screwdriver works, too.

Good lawn maintenance gets you ahead of the weed game. It’s the most important crabgrass control method. When you establish a good maintenance routine that consists of regular watering, mowing grass at the proper height, and fertilizing at least once a year, your lawn is thick and strong enough to keep most weeds away.

Call in a Crabgrass Expert

Whether you battle crabgrass with chemicals or nix it in a more natural manner, you don’t have to fight it alone. We can help you with crabgrass control, or any other weed worries. Call Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone] today.

Stop Mosquitoes! How to Ban Blood-Thirsty Bugs from Your Backyard

Stop Mosquitoes! How to Ban Blood-Thirsty Bugs from Your Backyard

A summer barbecue is a fun time for all, that is until the following day when you wake up with itchy welts. Unfortunately, outdoor gatherings sometimes turn into feeding fests for blood-thirsty bugs. Want to stop mosquitoes from crashing the party? Here’s how to ban these bugs from your backyard.

Stop Mosquitoes Before They Start Bugging You

Warmer weather sets the stage for all kinds of fun activities. If biting bugs are not part of the plan, check out these prevention tips to stop mosquitoes from messing up your summer.

Good gardening gives pests something to detest. Many plants naturally repel mosquitoes, like marigolds, lavender, citronella, basil, and some scented geraniums. Add any of these to your landscaping and they’ll not only look nice, but deter unwanted guests.

Stop mosquitoes from breeding in standing water. Bird baths, koi ponds, puddles, and empty flower pots create ideal breeding grounds for these pests. Take a tour of your property to locate stagnant water. Turn over empty flower pots, level off lawn areas prone to puddling, and add moving water features to ponds. Place “dunks” inside of bird baths and decorative water-collecting features. These small disc-like products stop still water from becoming a breeding ground. Other places to check include clogged gutters and open trash cans or recycling bins.

Use Deterring Devices to Stop Mosquitoes

There are plenty of devices on the market that claim they stop mosquitoes from biting such as clip-on repellents and bracelets. Read up on a product’s reviews before purchasing to make sure they do what they claim. Of course, there’s all kinds of bug zappers that attract the pests to a light then electrocute them. Just remember that bug zappers kill beneficial insects as well.

Foggers spray a fine mist of insecticide to target the tiny creatures (conventional spray solutions don’t work because the particles are too big). Available in thermal and ultra-low volume versions (ULV units don’t use heat and also work indoors), these units come with advantages and disadvantages, so be sure to do your research.

It’s wonderful what a little wind will do! Not a “fan” of mosquitoes? Here’s a simple solution: place a big oscillating fan on the patio at your next barbecue and blow what bugs you away. Not only does this device provide relief from the heat, but mosquitoes can’t fly well in wind.

Let Us Help

It’s never been more important to stop mosquitoes from making you miserable. Besides being itch-inducing pests, they sometimes carry dangerous diseases like dengue, Zika, yellow fever, and malaria. Call in a professional now to protect against unwanted pests. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone].