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State experts offer guidance on creating "tick-safe zones" at home

Photo courtesy of the CDC

Experts say tick season is hitting early this year due to a mild spring. They’re urging people to take precautions now against the potentially disease-spreading insects

We may not see the uptick in tick numbers later this spring because its already here.

Experts say tick season usually peaks between May and July but with the early warm up, ticks got active early and are peaking now.

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Pesticide Section Manager Brian Verhougstraete says avoiding tick bites means avoiding ticks who love tall grass, leaf debris, shady wooded areas and lawns.

Protection begins with mowing your grass and maintaining surroundings.

“If you have playground equipment or decks or patios, if you keep them more out in the open in sunny areas and not next to the fence line by trees, shrubs and tall grasses that’s a good strategy.”

He recommends using insect repellent and checking people and pets after they are outdoors. Using pesticides can be very effective if handled properly.

“Always please read and follow label directions on pesticides. You’re actually required to follow those directions for use according to law, like it’s a law you have to follow those directions.”

Aside from creating tick-safe zones at home, there are tips for any outdoor recreation.

“Light colored clothing makes it easier to spot a tick if they do get on you, and then when you’re walking, just tuck your pants into your socks. That’s a good way to keep ticks from getting on your skin as well.”

Tick activity typically sees a lull in August and September then picks up again in fall.

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