The onset of the warmer weather means that many local authorities are issuing public health warnings regarding the presence of ticks. Knowing the risk of tick bites locally can help to prevent Lyme disease by making people aware that they need to be more vigilant about their safety and that of children and animals in their care.
Flagging for ticks is a great way for researchers, and homeowners, to know how abundant ticks are on a property or in local fields and woodland.
How to Flag for Lyme Disease Ticks
In the short video below, Brian Kelly of East End Tick and Mosquito Control notes that Lonestar ticks are attracted to the carbon dioxide that we, and our dogs, breathe out: “If your dog’s tied up in the yard, they [ticks] will come from the woods to find him.” After flagging for ticks in some long grass, Kelly finds both an adult and nymphal tick, revealing the size difference between the two. The use of the white cotton sheet for flagging highlights the importance of wearing light colored clothing so as to be able to better spot ticks and also the difficulties that dog guardians are likely to face when trying to do tick checks in their animals’ thick, dark fur.
If you do decide to flag your property to improve your knowledge of the presence of ticks then it is important to wear protective clothing so that your skin is not exposed to the possibility of tick bites. Applying permethrin or other tick-repellant is not advised if you are flagging for ticks as this will give you a false sample. Instead, wear protective gear, flag a specific area and use a magnifying glass to assess the presence of ticks on the sheet when you’re done.
Why Flag for Lyme Disease Ticks?
Although flagging your garden for ticks can be a great way to raise awareness of the potential dangers lurking in the grass, it is not a good idea for small children to do the actual flagging. Instead, the exercise can help teach them about safety and tick-bite prevention. Many schools and community centers in areas with a high rate of Lyme disease also hold public awareness events for children and families.By flagging for Lyme disease ticks, local health authorities are arguably better able to delegate resources based on likely need in specific areas of their community.