Tick Control: Essential Tips for Landlords in North Virginia

by Patrick Freeze  5/02/2024

Tick control is on everyone’s minds as we head into the summer season. These tricky pests are more than just an annoyance. Tick bites can spread illnesses and diseases you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. And worst of all, these bugs are everywhere. It’s not an exaggeration to say they’re waiting in the shadows, hiding in the bushes, just waiting to strike. They could even multiply everywhere and threaten your tenants’ health. All in all, as a landlord, tick control and even tick infestation are issues that can all-too-easily spiral into disaster for you.

Luckily, you don’t have to go into the deep end uninformed. Now, we’ll show you how to protect yourself and stay safe.

Are Landlords Responsible for Tick Infestations?

It depends. As property managers in Northern Virginia, we have found that it’s very much a matter of which party is ultimately responsible for the ticks’ unfortunate entrance into your lives. If your tenant has started to experience a tick infestation a while after settling in your property, independent of any factors related to you, you are not responsible. This is especially true because ticks are considered part of nature, and in general, out of our control.

However, if this issue is a “pre-existing condition” of sorts, originating from before your tenant moved in, the answer gets more complex. Landlords are required to provide a safe and pest free home at the time of move in. So, if an issue carries over from one tenant to the next – that could be a problem for landlords. 

The Most Common Ticks in North Virginia

Here are some common types of ticks you should keep your eyes open for while touring Prince William County and other North Virginia spots.

Blacklegged Tick: This tick has black legs, of course, and shows off a brown and black shell. Also, it transmits anaplasmosis, babesiosis, Borrelia miyamotoi Disease, Lyme disease, and Powassan virus.

Lone Star Tick: This solidly brown tick can carry red meat allergy-causing saliva, Ehrlichiosis, Heartland Virus, Rickettsia parkeri Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness (STARI), and Tularemia.

American Dog Tick: This tick sports a dark brown shell, with lighter brown shades covering it near the head. More importantly, a tick bite from these ticks can cause Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia.

Gulf-Coast Tick: This tick can look like the American Dog Tick, which will undoubtedly give you a guessing game you never wanted to play. In addition, it is a vector of Rickettsia parkeri Disease.

Brown Dog Tick: This brown tick possesses a shell that can look slightly swollen. Unfortunately, a tick bite from it can give you Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Tick-Borne Illnesses

The below ailments are a selection of some illnesses you or your tenants can incur from a tick bite. So, it’s good to stay advised that the following outcomes can happen.

Acquired Red Meat Allergy: This allergy can occur after people get lone star tick bites. With this allergy, people will experience mild to severe reactions three to six hours after eating red meat.

Heartland Virus Disease: Lone star ticks can carry the Heartland virus, which can cause life-threatening illness in immunocompromised people or older adults.

Lyme Disease (LD): Lyme disease is Virginia’s most common tick-borne disease. It can involve a circle or oval-shaped, painless rash, which appears 3 to 30 days after the bite. Furthermore, this rash can bring on a fever, headaches, joint or muscle aches, swollen glands, and fatigue. While LD is dangerous if untreated, certain antibiotic treatments can help cure it.

Powassan Virus: Some black-legged ticks in Virginia can carry the Powassan virus. This virus is often asymptomatic, but some can experience symptoms. Scarily, this virus has a 10% fatality rate and 50% long-term symptom rate, so people should steer clear of it.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: RMSF is a very serious infection where people experience a sudden fever 2-14 days after they are bitten. Beyond the usual symptoms, what’s notable is that delaying treatment can cause organ damage or even death.

Tularemia: This illness can give sufferers an ulcer where the bite is, swollen armpits or groin lymph glands near the ulcer, and a high fever. If you don’t treat infections, this illness can be deadly.

Tick Prevention: Before You Go Outdoors

Below, we’ll share some tick control tips that can help you defend yourself and your tenants from tick infestations. Take note of these proven procedures.

  1. Stay Informed About Places Ticks Stay:

Ticks linger on animals or in grassy, brushy, or wooded spots. Unfortunately, you could expose yourself to a tick bite by simply walking outside with your dog, camping, gardening, fishing, or hunting. Frequently, people find ticks in their yards or neighborhoods.

  1. Put Repellant on Your Clothes:

DEET, picaridin, IR3535, 2-undecanone, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), or para-menthane-diol (PMD) can help repel or kill ticks. However, some of these ingredients, especially permethrin, can be lethal to cats and other animals, so please take caution.

  1. Wear Tick-Ready Clothing:

Choose to wear long, loose, light-colored clothing. Then, it’s a good idea to tuck your pants into your socks and your shirt into your pants. This way, it is more difficult for ticks to get to your skin. Furthermore, you might have an easier time finding ticks on your body if they are creeping into your light-colored garments. Still, if you cannot wear shorter pants, or cannot tuck your pants into your socks, the second-best tick prevention solution is to apply repellants to exposed skin.

  1. Paved Areas:

When you’re on forest trails, stay within the paved areas. Also, cut grass and rake leaves in nearby wooded and shaded areas for optimal tick prevention.

How to Prevent Embedded Tick Bites Back at Home

If you act quickly after your tick exposure, you can better prevent it from transmitting any tick-borne illnesses to tenants or causing a tick infestation. 

  1. Check Your Clothes for Ticks

Clothing may hold ticks that you can bring into your house. Because of this, after you remove your garments, you should treat your clothes. If your clothes are dry, put them through the dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks. Whenever they are damp, you may need to take more time. Or, if they are outright wet, you should wash them in hot water.

  1. Inspect Your Belongings and Pets

Your pets and belongings can carry ticks into your home. So, inspecting your animals and items for tick control is a good idea.

  1. Take a Shower

It can help reduce your risk of contracting tickborne illnesses if you shower in the first two hours after you arrive home. Also, this can help you check for, and cleanse off, ticks that aren’t attached to your skin yet.

  1. Check Your Body for Ticks 

After you depart tick hotspots, you should have a full body check. To do this, look in a mirror to examine all parts of your body, even your armpits, belly button, ears, and other areas you might not usually think about.

Tick Removal Steps

In the worst-case scenario, we recommend the following procedure for tick removal. Be sure to follow these steps.

  1. Use tweezers with fine tips or protect your fingers with a tissue, paper towel, or rubber gloves, when you remove the tick. If you do not, the tick’s infectiousness may break into your skin. Clasp the tick right near its mouth. Take care to get the tick from where it is most embedded to your skin.
  2. Pull the Tick Out: Next, pull the tick out in a steady, upward movement until the tick breaks away from the skin. This could take a little while, so stay patient.
  3. Avoid Twisting or Tugging on the Tick: If you twist or tug on the tick, the tick’s mouthparts may split off and stay behind in the skin.
  4. Avoid Squeezing, Crushing, or Puncturing the Tick’s Body: If you do this, the tick’s fluids may leak, and these can spread infections.
  5. Disinfecting: Disinfect your hand and the bitten area with soap and water, then apply antiseptic to the bitten area.

Do not attempt to remove the tick in any other ways, as this is unsafe. Also, we recommend you identify the tick and save it in a plastic bag. If you develop an illness from a tick bite, such proof could help a doctor identify your ailment.

Tick Control During Tick Infestations

If you find ticks lurking everywhere, on everyone, there are steps you can take to put a stop to this malaise. You can vacuum up unattached ticks, tightly seal them, and discard them far away from your home. Also, you can use pesticide to kill the ticks. Or, you can simply flush them down the toilet. If these techniques don’t work, it might be time to call pest control. 

Let Property Managers Take Care of Tick Control

You can help avoid tick bites if you take some tried-and-true steps in tick control. The above tips can go a long way towards helping you be tick-free during the summer.

While these tick control tips can help you protect your tenants, they don’t take away the sheer panic and chaos a tick infestation will inevitably wrack upon you. It may seem too disgusting and out-of-control to deal with yourself. Luckily, property managers can deal with widespread tick infestations, home repairs, mold issues, and other similar problems that plague your rental home. Contact us today to have a professional handle your biggest rental nuisances for you.

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