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Both botanists and hobby gardeners know that gardening keeps the body fit. However, many of them do not know that gardening can be especially dangerous. While gardeners cut their bushes, shrubs and trees, plant vegetables, cultivate flowers and weed weeds, barely visible pests are nearby and active: ticks.
How do ticks develop and how do they get into the garden?
For many years, it has been thought that ticks sit on trees in the leaves. It was believed that ticks would then fall on their host, a human or a dog. For this reason, it was assumed that one would be protected from ticks in the open field or in a meadow without trees. Meanwhile, it has been proven that ticks are rarely found above 1.50 meters. That is, they sit on grasses and in the bushes on the leaves.
Ticks go through three different stages of development after hatching: from the larva via the nymph to the adult tick. For each of these three stages of development, the tick needs blood, which it gets from a host. Even a single adult tick lays up to 3,000 eggs in the garden, which starts the life cycle of the pests again.
Mice are among the main insects of ticks and only through the rodents get the ticks in the garden. Unfortunately, mice are not very clean animals and often carry pathogens such as TBE or Lyme disease. By sucking blood, the ticks also infect with the pathogens, making the next sting for humans life-threatening.
The danger lurks in the undergrowth
Even today, many people believe that ticks live exclusively on trees in the forest. This can quickly turn out to be a fatal mistake after a sting. Ticks do not jump on the body of the host. Her legs are not suitable for jumping. Ticks can move on the skin of a human or animal to find the right spot for the bite, but they can not jump over a large distance from the leaf (the name woodbuck is a bit misleading here). The tick gets to the host by being taken away by him. By walking across meadows and brushing past bushes, people unconsciously pick up the tick.
Ticks live exclusively in shrubbery, in undergrowth and in tall grass. Today scientists have discovered that the danger of ticks in their home gardens is far too often underestimated: people who work in the garden very often, touching grass, bushes and shrubs are at much greater risk of developing Lyme disease than, for example, joggers are regularly active in the woods. Likewise, these scientists have found that on average every fifth tick can transmit Borrelia.
What makes the ticks so dangerous?
As soon as a person touches grass, shrubs and bushes, ticks can be stripped unnoticed. In most cases, they then crawl on people's clothing or skin for a while before biting into a suitable place. Since the blood loss is very minimal at the tick bite, many people notice the bite only when it is already too late. The minimal blood loss is no problem for the affected people if it were not for the already mentioned pathogens.
When gardening and playing on the lawn, it is therefore very important not to have free body parts (for example, pull the socks over the pants legs). Wearing light-colored clothing is also beneficial, as a small, dark tick is easier to spot on a light colored clothing. Anyone who cuts their bushes or picks up mown grass should wear gloves and check their hands and arms regularly; especially after completion of work should be checked hands, arms, neck and head. If possible, children should not walk barefoot over the lawn, but always wear socks and sturdy shoes. Again, you should examine the possible body parts in the evening exactly.
The preventive measures at a glance:
- Wearing long-sleeved bright tops and bright long pants (so the ticks do not come in contact with the skin so quickly and are easier to spot on the light fabric)
- Socks should be pulled over the pant legs
- After gardening, the entire body should be carefully searched (especially neck, head, knees, armpits and the step should be noted)
To the chagrin of many gardeners, it is the case that even in summery temperatures the usual protective measures have to be taken.What to do if a tick has bitten you?
If, despite long clothing and despite a thorough examination, have once bitten a tick, then this should be removed as soon as possible. To remove the tick safely and correctly, it is best to follow these four tips:
- Never use nail polish remover, gasoline or alcohol (the tick dissolves faster, but the transmission of Borrelia increases drastically).
- Only after the removal of the tick disinfect the affected area with alcohol or an ointment containing iodine.
- If the tick is in a hard to reach place, then a second person should be asked for help.
- After the first tick find should be continued, finally, a man can be easily bitten by several ticks.
- If you are not sure how the tick should be removed, you should consult a doctor in any case.