Exterminator’s Guide to Full Tick Control in Regina
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Exterminator’s Guide to Tick Control in Regina

Reading time: 7 minutes

Ticks are quite often out in force in Saskatchewan, and while they may be small, they cause big problems. These eight-legged bloodsuckers can transmit diseases to both you and your furry friends.

In Regina, the presence of ticks in both urban and rural areas is a growing concern, as they can carry Lyme disease, among other serious infections. Understanding their behaviour and habitats is essential for effective control.

Today, we look into strategies for managing tick populations to help keep you and your pets safe throughout the tick season.

Tick on skin
Photo credits pexels.com

Tick Talk: Friend or Foe?

Not all ticks are created equal. In fact, Saskatchewan is home to a variety of tick species, each with varying levels of risk. Here's a quick rundown of common Saskatchewan ticks:

American Dog Tick

Dog tick infographic
Photo credits uri.edu

This is the most common tick in Saskatchewan, and the good news is that it doesn't transmit Lyme disease. However, it can still be a nuisance and transmit other diseases, so it's important to remove it promptly if you find one on yourself or your pets.

Rocky Mountain Wood Tick

Wood tick infographic
Photo credits uri.edu

This native tick species is also found in Saskatchewan and doesn't transmit Lyme disease. They look like American dog ticks and are mostly found in shrublands, lightly wooded areas, open grasslands, and along trails.

Blacklegged (deer) Tick

Deer tick infographic
Photo credits uri.edu

These are the tick species you really need to watch out for. They can transmit Lyme disease, a serious illness that can cause a range of symptoms, including fever, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and neurological problems.

Become a Tick-Tructive Citizen Scientist

The good folks at the University of Saskatchewan are on the hunt for tick intel! Use an app called eTick to submit photos of ticks you find. This helps researchers track tick populations and keeps you informed about the risk of tick-borne diseases in your area.

Here's how you can participate in the eTick program:

  1. If you find a tick on yourself or your pet, take a clear photo of it using your smartphone or digital camera.
  2. Submit your photo using the eTick online system. University of Saskatchewan (USask) researchers will use these photos to determine the tick species.
  3. Once the species is confirmed, you or your pet will receive timely public health information about your risk of exposure to tick-borne diseases.
  4. If the researchers request the tick specimen, keep it in a secure container like a vial or resealable plastic bag. Label it with the date and location you found the tick, and mail it to them.

Ticking Time Bomb: The Threat of Lyme Disease

In North America, two main tick species can transmit Lyme disease:

  • Ixodes scapularis (Eastern Blacklegged Tick): Found east of the Rocky Mountains
  • I. pacificus (Western Blacklegged Tick): Found west of the Rocky Mountains

Blacklegged ticks were rare in Canada in the early 1990s, but their range has dramatically expanded in recent decades. This increase coincides with a rise in Lyme disease cases across the country.

Regina and broader Saskatchewan residents can contract these ticks in these two ways:

  1. Migratory Bird Hitchhikers: Migratory birds can carry black-legged ticks from the United States into Canada, including Saskatchewan. These ticks can then survive and potentially bite people or pets the following year.
  2. Travel Ticks: Saskatchewan residents and their pets travelling to areas where black-legged ticks are common could inadvertently encounter them and bring them back.

Lyme Disease: A Low Risk, But Not Zero

The good news is that the risk of Lyme disease in Saskatchewan remains low. Out of the thousands of tick submissions received through the eTick program, only two were identified as Lyme disease-carrying ticks (Ixodes scapularis)—one each from Regina and Saskatoon.

However, it's important to be aware of the symptoms of Lyme disease, which can include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Headache
  • Bull's-eye rash (a circular red rash that appears around the tick bite)

If you experience any of these symptoms after a tick bite, consult your doctor immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease are crucial to prevent other health complications.

Combating Ticks: Keeping Your Yard and Pets Protected

With tick season upon us, here are some effective tick control strategies to keep these bloodsuckers at bay:

  • Tick Repellents. The Saskatchewan government recommends using insect repellents containing DEET or picaridin on yourself and your pets. Always follow the instructions on the product label carefully.
  • Garlic Repellent. Studies suggest garlic might repel ticks. A pilot project in Kingston, Ontario, sprayed certain areas with a 100% natural garlic-based product to deter ticks and mosquitoes, with generally positive feedback. Caution: If considering a DIY garlic spray, ensure proper dilution to avoid skin irritation.
  • Essential Oils. A 2019 study in England explored the effectiveness of essential oils as natural tick repellents. Oregano and spearmint oils showed promise when used on clothing. It’s important to note that essential oils can be very potent. Never apply them directly to the skin. Dilute them properly and only use them on clothing, keeping them out of reach of pets who might lick them.

Natural Repellents for Pets: Consult Your Vet

While natural pet tick repellents are a hot topic, there's a lack of conclusive research on their effectiveness. Dr. Emily Jenkins of USask advises caution regarding homemade natural repellents for pets. Many plant-based products contain active compounds that could be toxic to dogs and cats. Plus, pets can easily ingest these products when grooming themselves, potentially causing harm.

So, consult your vet when choosing a tick prevention method for your pet. They can recommend products based on your pet's age, breed, and lifestyle.

They can recommend the best available tick prevention medications that are safe and effective for pets. These medications come in various forms, such as topical treatments, oral medications, and collars.

If you're still interested in exploring natural options, discuss them with your veterinarian. They can advise on the safety and efficacy of specific products and recommend appropriate application methods.

More Tips to Avoid Ticks

Here are some tick control tips you can use:

  • Ticks love tall grass, shrubs, and wooded areas. When venturing outdoors, particularly in these areas, stick to well-maintained trails and keep your pet on a leash.
  • After spending time outdoors, especially in tick-prone areas, thoroughly inspect your body and your pet for ticks. Pay close attention to areas like ears, armpits, the groin, and behind the knees.
  • Taking a shower immediately after coming inside from an outdoor adventure can help wash off any loose ticks that haven't yet attached.
  • Want to check your yard for ticks? Drag a white towel (bonus points if it smells like your dog!) across your lawn. Ticks will hitch a ride, making them easy to spot and eliminate. This is a fun and easy way to monitor tick activity in your yard.

Consider professional tick pest control services for a comprehensive approach to tick control.

Buzz Boss worker spraying yard for ticks in Regina

Partner with Buzz Boss for a Tick-Free Yard!

At Buzz Boss, we understand the importance of protecting your family and pets from the dangers of ticks and other insects that live rent-free in your yard. We offer effective tick control services designed to eliminate existing tick populations and prevent future infestations. You can book your tick extermination service right here.

We have the perfect treatment if you’re hoping for a bug- and pest-free backyard this summer. Our BuzzShield® Complete package uses safe and eco-friendly solutions to create a barrier around your yard and home. Say goodbye to ticks, mosquitoes, ants, spiders, wasps, and rodents!

Book your BuzzShield® Insect package now

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