Expert offers tips on how to keep ticks off your property

The impact of Lyme disease in Pennsylvania

Ticks aren't just found in wooded areas -- you can find them on your developed property. That's why it's important to know what to look for around your home to ensure you, your family and your pets stay safe.

Adam Witt, owner of Witt Pest Management, advises people to look at the edges of their property. Both ticks and mosquitoes tend to nest in similar places: brush, vegetation and high grass. So it's important to keep your lawn and shrubbery nicely groomed.

Witt said there are actually two types of ticks in western Pennsylvania: the black-legged tick, which is commonly referred to as a deer tick, and the dog tick. The black-legged tick carries the organism that can transmit Lyme disease, while the dog tick does not carry Lyme, but can carry other diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

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"Ticks cannot jump or fly. They're looking to find a host, so they are crawling up blades of grass or higher vegetation so they can hitch a ride," said Witt.

That means you actually have to brush against the tick for it to be able to attack on to you. So the best way to avoid them is to not come close.

One method to prevent ticks from getting onto porches or into outdoor play areas is to separate those areas from any brush or vegetation with some gravel or wood chips. Those are barriers that ticks are unlikely to want to cross.

Professional companies like Witt's also offer programs that put a residual treatment on exterior areas that can kill mosquitoes and ticks. Those treatments are safe for use at home and won't hurt any humans or pets.

If you see any signs of ticks on your property, it's important to call a professional.

"Ticks can hibernate up to two years in walls .But they do want to be outside," said Witt.