As the United States continues to fight the increase in ticks this year and the diseases they can carry, Rhode Island’s Senator, Jack Reed, is hoping to bring more attention to Lyme disease and move towards developing a national strategy to combat it:
“Lyme disease is a serious health problem and infected ticks are being found in greater numbers in Rhode Island and other parts of the country. It is important for people to be aware and know what they can do to protect themselves and their families. We also want to ensure doctors and nurses have the latest tools and training they need to properly diagnose and treat patients. I am working to boost federal research and coordination to help prevent Lyme disease and strengthen surveillance of tick-borne illnesses.” Source=.
Reed has been working with national and local experts to research Lyme. According to Professor Thomas Mather, director of the URI Center for Vector-Borne Disease and Tick Encounter Resource Center, tick surveillance shows a 142% increase is deer tick populations over the last 5 years in Rhode Island (80% up over last year). Additionally, the CDC reported a 16% increase of reported Lyme disease cases through mid-May this year as compared to 2011.
Reed’s Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Prevention, Education and Research Act would:
- Establish a tick-borne disease advisory committee,
- Coordinate increased research and development around Lyme disease
- And increase education through community-based education.
The best way to battle Lyme disease is to minimize your risk of being bitten by an infected deer tick. At Mosquito Squad, we recommend the 6Cs of treatment:
1. Clear out. Reduce your tick exposure by clearing out areas where lawn and tree debris gathers. Ticks thrive in moist, shady areas and tend to die in sunny, dry areas. Locate compost piles away from play areas or high traffic. Separate them with wood chips or gravel. Don’t position playground equipment, decks and patios near treed areas.
2. Clean. Eliminate leaf litter and brush by cleaning it up around the house and lawn edges, mow tall grasses and keep your lawn short.
3. Choose plants. Select plants and shrubs that are not attractive to deer and/or install physical barriers to keep deer out of your yard. Check with your local nursery to determine the best choices for your area.
4. Check hiding places. Know tick hiding places and check them frequently. Fences, brick walls and patio retaining walls are popular hiding places.
5. Care for family pets. Family pets can suffer from tick-borne disease and also carry infected ticks into the home. Talk to your veterinarian about using tick collars and sprays. As with all pest control products, be sure to follow directions carefully.
6. Call the pros. Professionals utilize both barrier sprays that can kill live ticks on the spot as well as “tick tubes.” Strategically placed, “tick tubes” prompt field mice to incorporate tick-killing material in their bedding, effectively eliminating hundreds of tick nymphs found in each mouse nest.
If you are interested in learning more about tick control for your yard, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.