Yard Tick Control Services
Types of Ticks
There are approximately 900 different species of ticks. The blacklegged (or deer) tick, American dog (or wood) tick, Rocky Mountain wood tick and Lone Star ticks are the most common in the United States.
- Blacklegged (or deer) tick
- Can transmit several tick-borne diseases, including:
- Lyme disease
- Rocky Mountain wood tick
- Can transmit several tick-borne diseases, including:
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
- Lone Star tick
- Can transmit several tick-borne diseases
- STARI (Southern Tick-Associated Rash and Illness)
- Saliva can be irritating, causing an allergic reaction at the site of the bite.
Life Cycle of Blacklegged Ticks
The Blacklegged species live for approximately two years and have three different feeding stages: larva, nymph and adult.
Parasites lay their eggs in the spring and hatch as larvae (plural of larva) in the summer. Larvae feed on mice, birds and other small animals in the summer and early fall. When a larva feeds on an animal that is infected with a disease, it takes the bacteria into its body during feeding and it remains infected for the rest of its life.
After its initial feeding, the larva becomes inactive as it grows into a nymph. Source: CDC
A nymph tick will become active in the spring and will seek blood meals in order to fuel their growth into adults. Usually this species will feed on another small rodent, but sometimes it will be a human. During feeding, the nymph can transmit the bacterium to its new host.
Note: Most cases of human illness occur in the late spring and summer when the tiny nymphs are most active and human outdoor activity is greatest. Source: CDC
Adult species feed on large animals and sometimes humans. Although they often feed on deer, deer do not become infected. Deer are nevertheless important in transporting parasites and maintaining tick populations.
In the spring, adult female pests lay their eggs on the ground, completing the life cycle. Source: CDC
Lyme disease is the most significant vector-borne disease in the United Sates and is now a "backyard" threat.
Lyme disease spirochetes are a type of bacteria that are transmitted by the bite of ticks in the genus Ixodes. Ixodes species that transmit the disease are commonly called deer ticks and are often abundant wherever there are deer.
The bacterium that causes Lyme disease is called the Borreliaburgdorferi. It resembles a coiled spring and cannot be seen without a microscope.
Lyme disease Transmission
The Lyme disease bacteria live in mice, squirrels and other small animals. It is transmitted through bites of certain species:
- In the northeaster and north-central United States, the blacklegged or deer tick transmits Lyme disease.
- In the Pacific coastal United States, the disease is spread by the western blacklegged tick.
- Other major species found in the United States have not been shown to transmit Lyme disease.
Symptoms of Lyme disease
Lyme disease symptoms often imitate other diseases and are frequently misdiagnosed.
Many symptoms of Lyme disease are also associated with the flu, including:
- Stiff neck
- Muscle aches
Other symptoms include:
- Enlarging rash (60% of light skinned patients)
- Can appear within a day of the bite or as late as a month later
- May start as a small, reddish bump about a one-half inch in diameter
- Can be slightly raised or flat
- May resemble a bulls eye.
- Bruise (dark skinned patients)
- Irregular beats, heart block, myocarditis, chest pain, vasculitis
- Pain - intermittent or chronic, usually not symmetrical; sometimes swelling; TMJ - jaw pain
- Mild liver function abnormalities
- Difficulty breathing, pneumonia
- Pain, inflammation, cramps, loss of tone
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, anorexia
- Tenderness, enlargement
Deer Tick Harborage Sites
These species are rarely found in open, sunny areas. Common places where these pests may hide include:
- Woods - 68%
- Unmaintained borders - 21%
- Open lawn - 2%
- Ornamentals - 9%
More specifically, these insects are likely to harbor in:
- Shaded areas
- Brush pile perimeters
- Base of stone walls
- Wood piles
- Brushy edge plantings
- Wooded areas, especially near stumps or fallen trees
- Edge of lawns, under over-hanging bushes
- Deer-bedding areas
- Protected grassy or leafy areas
- Overgrown fruit tree "orchards"
- Rodent-feeding habitat
- Vegetation near bird feeders
- Compost piles
These tick "hot spots" require special attention due to rodent and deer activity. Likewise, human activity revolves around these areas - filing the bird feeder, stacking and collecting firewood, discarding brush, etc.
Targeted Pesticide Control
Mosquito Squad's barrier spray is effective for killing immature and mature pests on the move; however it is only a contact killer and does not effectively treat the "source" of the problem. That is why in our Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for mosquito control, we use larval control methods that effectively reduce the "source" of the problem. So, in addition to our barrier spray, we must attack the source of the infestation.
The Solution – Damminix Tick Tubes®
Effective against larval and nymph parasites associated with rodents, Damminix Tick Tubes® were developed by scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health. They are a host-targeted acaricide consisting of cardboard tubes filled with cotton that has been impregnated with permethrin (7.4%).
Other facts about the product:
- Patented and marketed by EcoHealth Inc.
- Precisely targeted solution to kill deer ticks
- Environmentally friendly
- Provide up to a 10-fold reduction of tick exposure
- Do not expire
- EPA registered
- Made in the USA
How it Works
As cotton is a great nesting material, mice find the impregnated cotton in the tubes and take it back to their nests. The cotton then transfers the permethrin to the mice's fur (the permethrin will not hurt the mice). Parasites that attach to the mice, or enter the bureau, will die from the permethrin.
Note: In many regions where Lyme disease is a problem, each mouse on average is infested with 10-20 ticks daily in the months between May and September.
Do the Math
Likely species production from mice on untreated property:
= 32,400 mouse-derived ticks per acre* per season.
*Ticks are not evenly distributed across the acre
Proper Product Application Techniques
Product efficacy is application sensitive. If mice do not find the cotton, no pests will be killed. To apply is correctly, you have to start to "think like a mouse."
Apply the product twice per season:
- Once in the spring or early summer when nymph parasites are actively blood feeding on hosts.
- Once in the late summer, when larvae are active.
- Spring Application
- Between April 1st - June 15th
- Southern applicators should aim for the early part of this spectrum
- Northern applicators should aim for mid to late May
- Summer Application
- Between July 15th - September 15th
- Adjust according to your latitude
- Mice are more plentiful by late summer and nest building activity is on the rise
- Larvae are at their feeding peak during August and it is these larvae that become next year's nymphs.
Rate of Application
The rate of apply Damminix Tick Tubes® will depend on the amount of suitable mouse habitat. Keep the following in mind:
- If 100% of an acre is suitable mouse habitat, then Damminix is applied at a rate of 48 tubes per acre.
- The area taken up by the house, driveway, other paved areas, lawn, etc. should be excluded from the total acre of mouse habitat.
- The average one(1) acre residential site have about one half (0.5) an acre of mouse habitat. Thus, you would need approximately 24 tubes for each application, or a total of 48 for the full season.
- Larger property often have more mouse habitat
- On properties much larger than two (2) acres, help your client decide on specific areas to protect and then treat around this area thoroughly.
- Buffer the area you want to protect by 20-30 yards.
Where to Apply
There is no "magic attractant" to the product, so you place them in settings where mice will feel secure about investigating them.
- Brush and underbrush
- Flower gardens
- Along rock walls
- Wood piles
- Brush piles
- Near compost
- Garden sheds
- Under decks
- Along foundations
- Along fence line
When possible, place tubes in 10 yard intervals. Select sites that remain dry as mice like their bedding dry. When re-applying, place new tubes where you find empty tubes. If full tubes are found, move them to a new location.
Tick Tubes - Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know it works?
In field tests with a 10-yard grid spacing of Damminix Tick Tubes®, 100% of sampled mice had permethrin on their fur.
If the Damminix Tick Tubes® get wet do they lose their ability to kill parasites?
No. Permethrin is not soluble in water. It will stay on the cotton.
I have outdoor dogs and cats, can I use Damminix Tick Tubes®?
Yes. The pesticide permethrin is used in many flea and pest control products including spot applications, flea collars, indoor and outdoor bug sprays, and aerosol foggers, so they will not harm cats and dogs. In general, cats and dogs will ignore the product.
What if my neighbor does not treat his yard?
Deer ticks do not move more than a foot or two laterally, so pests from a neighbor's untreated land will not migrate onto your land under their own power. They may be carried over on the back of a larger animal.
It is true that some pests brought over on the back of a dog will be shaken off before they attach to that dog, and to that extent you would be better off if all the surrounding parcels were treated. But this is restating the obvious - the more land treated the more protection, as is true with any area-based pesticide. More importantly, the product you put out on your property will work in the home range of mice near those tubes; whether or not your neighbor treats his land.
Do I need to worry about touching or ingesting Damminix Tick Tubes®?
We chose permethrin as the active ingredient of this product based on it being highly toxic to ticks and other insects, but with very much lower toxicity to birds and to humans or other mammals. If you handle the impregnated cotton, your skin may tingle for a few seconds but that will soon pass. Like all pesticide products, you should use it sensibly and follow all label directions. Handle the product by the tube, not by the contents. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after any accidental exposure; do not rub your eyes with the cotton or with fingers that have touched the cotton.
The product is highly toxic to fish as well as pests. Do not use it in or near fish bearing waters.
See the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
How do I dispose of Damminix Tick Tubes®?
You can throw them away in your household trash whenever you wish. Any product left outside will naturally break down in about a year.
What is the shelf life of Tick Tubes®?
Tick Tubes® do not have an expiration date. Unused product can be stored in its original container for use the following year.
Leave yard tick control to the experts. Call Mosquito Squad today and eliminate these pests from your home.