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Facts About Ticks and How to Control Them at Your Northern Virginia Property

Posted On: April 22,2019 By: Todd Thomasson

tick on leafIt’s a scary-but-true fact that tick borne infections are on the rise across the United States and it’s no different here in Northern Virginia. In fact, Loudoun County has specifically taken tough action in terms of preventing Lyme Disease by creating a Lyme Disease Commission and educating people about prevention. It’s a serious issue.

Here at Rock Water Farm, we take it seriously, too. That’s why we want to do our part and help you understand more about these potentially dangerous pests, including how to control them with natural tick control solutions.


Facts about Ticks

If you’re concerned about ticks around your property, then you might be looking to better understand these unwanted pests. That’s why we’ve rounded up this list of tick facts. Understanding how ticks operate can help you make better decisions in getting rid of them on your property.


Tick Biology

Ticks are blood feeding external parasites of mammals, birds, and reptiles and are found throughout the world. In fact, there are approximately 850 species of ticks. In general, ticks are grouped into two main categories: hard-shell ticks and soft-shell ticks.

Ticks go through 4 life stages.

  • Egg
  • Six-legged larva
  • Eight-legged nymph
  • Adult

After hatching from the eggs, ticks must eat blood at each stage in order to move on to the next one. It can take up to 3 years to complete a full lifecycle, and most will die because they can't find a host for their next feeding.


Tick Behavior

tick on leafThe exact manner in which a tick will behave depends on whether it is hard-shelled or soft-shelled. Contrary to popular belief, there is no type of tick that can jump. Ticks also do not fly.

Since ticks can’t jump up or drop down on hosts, hard-shell ticks find their host through a behavior called ‟questing.” A questing tick crawls up onto long weeds and grass or atop other vegetation and waits for a host to pass by. While questing, ticks hold onto leaves and grass by their third and fourth pair of legs. They hold the first pair of legs outstretched, waiting to climb on to the host.

Some soft-shelled ticks also “quest,” however, the majority are considered “nesting parasites” and behave much like fleas in this way. Nesting parasites live in sheltered areas, such as animals’ nests, caves, and burrows. They can also live around the bedding of their hosts, your pet’s favorite outside spots included. They crawl through the hosts’ nests or bedding, feeding mostly at night.


Tick Habitat

While a lot of people assume that ticks are primarily found in the woods, they can actually be prevalent in a variety of areas, including your backyard.

Most commonly, ticks are found in some of the following types of areas.

  • Where woods/fields meet the lawn
  • Wooded areas
  • Tall brush/grass
  • Around landscape plants such as groundcover, shrubs, etc.
  • Under leaves
  • Under plants
  • Around stone walls and wood piles where mice & other small mammals live


Disease Implications

The most concerning aspect of these tick facts has to do with disease. Ticks transmit the widest variety of pathogens of any blood sucking arthropod, including bacteria, rickettsiae, protozoa, and viruses. Some human diseases caused by tick-borne pathogens include Lyme Disease, Dhrlichiosis, Babesiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tularemia, and Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the most common symptoms of tick-related illnesses are:

  • Fever/chills: With all tick borne diseases, patients can experience fever at varying degrees and time of onset.
  • Aches and pains: Tick borne disease symptoms include headache, fatigue, and muscle aches. With Lyme disease, you may also experience joint pain. The severity and time of onset of these symptoms can depend on the disease and the patient’s personal tolerance level.
  • Rash: Various rashes can form from various types of tick bites, including the well-known “bulls-eye rash”

The CDC also says that tickborne diseases can result in mild symptoms treatable at home to severe infections requiring hospitalization. Although easily treated with antibiotics, these diseases can be difficult for physicians to diagnose.

However, early recognition and treatment of the infection decreases the risk of serious complications. So see your doctor immediately if you have been bitten by a tick and are experiencing any of these symptoms.

Explore Mosquito & Tick Control Pricing

Common Tick Misconceptions

While we know that we’ve rattled off quite a few facts about ticks, we also wanted to take a moment to share (and debunk) a few of the most common tick myths that we frequently hear. As important as it is to educate homeowners on tick facts, we find it equally important to discredit false information that is out there.


dog-in-grass-natural-pest-controlTicks Fall From Trees Onto People

Just like we mentioned that ticks do not “jump” onto their host as many people mistakenly believe, they also don’t fall on them from up above. While it’s true that ticks can climb, they rarely go higher than tall grass or shrubs from which they can easily latch onto a host, like the leg of a dog or human walking by.


You’ll Feel a Bite

The opposite is actually true—you most likely will not feel a bite. That’s why it’s important to check your hair and clothing, your pets, and your children for ticks anytime that they are playing outside.


If You’ve been Bitten, Smother the Tick with a Harsh Liquid

There is so much bad information on the internet regarding how to address a tick that you find on your body. But many of these methods can do much more harm than good.

The CDC recommends using tweezers to grab hold of the tick as close to the skin as possible for safe removal.


Everyone With Lyme Disease Gets a Rash

While the bulls-eye rash is the most telltale sign of Lyme disease, not everyone gets this symptom. If you know you’ve been bitten by a tick and are experiencing any symptoms (rash or no rash), go to your doctor for possible testing.


Natural Tick Control for a Yard

brick wall, trees, and shrubs tick habitatWith all of this information in mind, you understand that ticks are a danger that you need to control, but you may not be sure how. Though your experience in the past may have been that nothing works on these stubborn creatures, or maybe you didn’t feel safe putting harsh products in your yard, natural tick control for your lawn is finally an option. And, most importantly of all, we have found a professional-grade product that actually works.

The primary ingredient in our professional tick control product is cedar oil.

For ticks, cedar oil is known to block the pest’s scent receptors and disrupt its body systems. On contact, it will also dry up the tick, completely disintegrating young ticks and fatally wounding adults.

It’s an added benefit that the same product also works to control the mosquito population your property which is also both a nuisance and a potential danger.


Hiring Professional Tick Control in Ashburn, Aldie, or Leesburg, VA

Rock Water Farm tick control truck and dogWhen it comes to working with a tick control company, you obviously have a choice. We know that we’re not your only option. But we have found that we are a bit different from what other companies are offering.

The biggest difference is our use of a completely safe and totally organic product. Most tick control companies out there only use pesticides. But since so many of our clients have pets and children, this is an option they don’t want to consider. Of course, they don’t want to have to choose between a safe product and effectiveness, either.

Fortunately, you don’t have to make any compromises. At Rock Water Farm, our product is both safe and effective, giving our clients the best of both worlds. As a result, our natural tick control provides invaluable peace of mind. You can feel confident knowing that your family is being protected from these dangerous and unwanted pests.

If you’d like to discuss safely protecting your Ashburn, Aldie, or Leesburg, VA home from ticks, talk to an expert, choose a solution that rocks, and then get ready to take back control of your property.

Explore Mosquito & Tick Control Pricing

Image Sources: deer tick, tick on leaf

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Todd Thomasson

Written by Todd Thomasson

Todd Thomasson, founded Rock Water Farm Landscapes & Hardscapes in 2005. Having grown up with hard working parent role models and a strong work ethic, Todd put his Landscape & Turf Management degree from Virginia Tech into action as the lead stone mason and landscape designer for the new company. Over the years, the responsibility and opportunity of running this company has been shared with other members of the Rock Water Farm team, launching one of the leading property maintenance companies in Loudoun County. Todd is still rooted in his passion for design/build projects and continues to run the company, working with clients to design, build and maintain perfect outdoor spaces with his team.