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Category: Lyme Disease

Practice Tick Safety this May

Did you know that Alec Baldwin, Avril Lavigne, and George W Bush have all battled Lyme disease at different stages? May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month so all of us at Mosquito Squad urge everyone to be tick safe.

Lyme disease is spread through the bite of an infected deer tick. While drawing blood from its host, the tick injects saliva that carries the Lyme bacteria. Lyme can display itself in many different ways including fatigue, fever, joint pain and more.

The best way to reduce your risk of Lyme is to reduce your exposure to ticks. We call our property tips the 6Cs:

Clear out yard debris. Ticks thrive well in moist areas. Yard debris holds water and moisture, making it a tick haven.

Clean leaf litter. Leaves naturally hold water when left in piles. Take the time to pick it up (and check yourself for ticks when you’re done).

Choose plants that deer don’t like. Deer are ticks main source of transportation so where there are deer, there are ticks. Keep deer out of your yard by choosing plants that they don’t find tasty like phlox and marigolds for example.

Check tick hiding places. Ticks are known to hide along retaining walls, fences or foundations.

Care for pets with tick collars. Dogs and cats rub up against plants, bushes and trees where ticks can be found. It’s best to follow your veterinarians recommendations on how to protect your pets including tick collars or topical flea and tick medication.

Call the pros. Even when you do the rest of the Cs, you may need professional tick control services. At Mosquito Squad, we use a combination of barrier sprays and tick tubes for the best results. Barrier sprays eliminate adult ticks on contact while tick tubes eliminate them in the nymph stage.

Whenever you spend time outdoors, it’s a best practice to do a thorough tick check on the body. Ticks are small and can hide in hard to see places like in the armpits or behind the knee. If you find one, promptly remove it with tweezers and place it in a plastic bag in case it needs to be tested for Lyme.

If you have questions on tick treatments for your yard, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

Avril Lavigne Announces She’s Suffering from Lyme disease

Avril Lavigne was once one of the top music acts in the U.S. With hit after hit she was playing in sold out stadiums with thousands of screaming fans. Then, last year she became ill with a debilitating sickness that she couldn’t explain. Just this week she revealed that she’s been suffering with Lyme disease for nearly a year.

The pop singer first fell ill while on tour. When she felt feverish, Avril thought she had the flu and was treated for dehydration and exhaustion, but she kept feeling worse and worse. She explains: “I felt like I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t talk and I couldn’t move. I thought I was dying. There were definitely times I couldn’t shower for a full week because I could barely stand. It felt like having all your life sucked out of you.” Source.

After months of symptoms and visits to the doctor, Avril Lavigne was diagnosed with Lyme disease, the fastest growing vector-borne disease in the U.S. For the past 5 months she has been working to recover in the privacy of her home in Canada.

Lyme disease is transmitted through the bite of deer ticks. Deer ticks will attach themselves to hosts and can feed for days if needed (it typically takes over 36 hours to transmit Lyme to a person). If diagnosed and treated in the early months, Lyme is usually cured with antibiotics. When it goes undiagnosed is when the long-lasting, more difficult cases occur. Because the initial symptoms of Lyme are the same as the flu, it can be difficult to diagnose.

At Mosquito Squad, we help protect our clients from the dangers of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases with our tick treatments for the yard. The most effective control system combines a mosquito and tick barrier spray and tick tubes. The spray eliminates adult ticks on contact while the tick tubes aim to control the pests earlier in their life cycle. We recommend the spray be applied every three weeks throughout the summer and tick tubes placed on the property twice a year when ticks are their most active.

As spring enters so does tick season. We at the Squad encourage anyone who spends time outdoors to check themselves for ticks thoroughly as the pests can be as small as a poppy seed.

If you would like more information on our tick control services, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

Are the Tick Population and Weather Temperatures Related?

Ticks. They lurk in hidden places waiting for a potential host to walk by. In the spring and summer, it’s best to make a habit of checking yourself and your pets for ticks if you spent any time outdoors. A recent study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the Centers for Disease Control evaluated how the tick population is related to weather temperatures.

Ticks thrive in warm weather and their activity rises as temperatures rise over 50 degrees. When there is an above average amount of days over 50 early in the year, the population becomes active earlier and the peak tick season, which typically begins in late May, starts earlier. If there is a lot more precipitation than normal, that will postpone the beginning of the tick season.

The changes in weather also impact ticks through their primary blood host, the field mouse. Mice feed on the vegetation in their habitat. When the summer is exceptionally dry it results in less food for the mice, which means less mouse activity and less ticks.

The study explains that a tick forecast could be created each March after looking at the weather in the first ten weeks of the year, but little can be done to forecast when the end of tick season will be.

Ticks are a common concern for many people. Not only are they a nuisance, but they are also dangerous. Thousands of cases of Lyme disease are reported to the CDC each year and it is impacting more of the county each and every year. If you ever go for walks or hikes in areas where ticks are known to be active, it’s important to protect yourself. Wear long loose clothing preferably in light colors so ticks can be spotted. After coming inside make sure to do a thorough tick check of your body to make sure that none are hiding out.

At Mosquito Squad we help our clients protect themselves from ticks and the dangerous illnesses they transmit by protecting their yard. We utilize a combination of our barrier spray treatment and tick tubes when appropriate.

Our traditional mosquito control spray is effective against ticks too. The spray will eliminate adult ticks on contact. We suggest having that spray reapplied every 2-3 weeks depending on your mosquito and tick problem to provide continuous tick control. Additionally, we use tick tubes to eliminate ticks in their earlier stages of development. Tick tubes are placed throughout the property in areas where mice would travel. When the mice find the tube, they take the treated cotton that’s inside back to their nests as bedding. Since many nymph ticks get their first blood meal from mice, they are thus eliminated.

If you have questions on how to reduce the tick population on your property, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

Vector-borne disease apparent early in 2014 season

At Mosquito Squad, we pride ourselves on protecting our clients from the annoyance and dangers of mosquitoes and ticks. As the weather continues to warm up, we’ve seen an influx of requests for tick and mosquito control for the yard. And with news across the country of vector-borne disease, it is no surprise people are looking for ways to keep the bugs at bay.

Just last week, we discussed Chikungunya having been found in Florida and now new reports of dengue in the area have locals concerned over an outbreak. Dengue fever is a virus transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. Symptoms of dengue include rash, fever and muscle and joint pain. While there is no specific medication for dengue, patients that are able to stay hydrated are able to fight the disease successfully.

While Florida is being hit by these tropical mosquito-borne disease, early mosquito and bird tests in Illinois are positive for West Nile in the area. Many municipalities across the country catch and test mosquitoes. It not only helps them gauge how much municipal spraying is needed, but it also lets them know if mosquitoes carrying certain bacteria are present.

With an increase of ticks in many areas of the country, officials are concerned about the growing numbers of Lyme disease as well. From Michigan to Virginia to Vermont, local health officials are warning residents to be vigilant and take precautionary measures when spending outside in areas where ticks are known to be active.

Reducing your exposure to mosquitoes and ticks is the best way prevent vector-borne disease. At Mosquito Squad, we use a combination of mosquito spraying and tick tubes to cut down on the pest population on the property. Having continuous outdoor pest control, normally applied every 2-3 weeks, during the busy mosquito and tick months will reduce your mosquito population by 85-90%!

If you have questions on how to protect yourself from vector-borne disease, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

Where are the Ticks on your Yard?

Just last fall, we at Mosquito Squad surveyed clients for a better understanding of their concerns with respect to mosquitoes and ticks. With more than 7,000 responses, we found that not only are homeowners worried about ticks and the diseases that they carry, but they also aren’t sure where they harbor. Here’s a snapshot of our findings:

According to our poll, 72% of clients are concerned or very concerned about ticks and the concern is rising. 61% say that they are more concerned about tick-borne disease, like Lyme disease, this year than last. With rising Lyme numbers in many parts of the country, it isn’t surprising that people are troubled by their potential exposure to tick bites.

Although people are worried about ticks, it seems that less know where to look for the little buggers. 35% of our survey responded that they have no idea where ticks are found. Knowing where they are will raise your awareness of their presence and allow you to take some tick control measures.

Ticks are normally found in moist, shady areas and normally avoid areas that are dry and sunny. In simpler terms, they sometimes “hide” preferring high grasses and bushes. Along retaining walls and fences also tend to be good spots to find ticks.

When it comes to protecting yourself from ticks and tick-borne disease, there are steps that you can take on your property to decrease your exposure to ticks:

  • Keep your grass short. Ticks love long grasses, so keeping it short will move the ticks away from the open grass areas of your property.
  • Clean up your yard trash and debris. Instead of taking those large branches and sticks and putting them in a pile, take them to the dump. * * * Grass clippings, leaves and other yard trash make the perfect place for ticks to hide.
  • Create a barrier around areas you know ticks are present. Ticks like to stay hiding, so create a “barrier” around fences, compost piles, etc. For example, lay a perimeter of gravel around your compost pile so ticks stay away from your outdoor living spaces.

At Mosquito Squad, we take tick protection seriously, offering services to our clients to reduce the number of ticks on their property. Our barrier spray, which we recommend be applied every 2-3 weeks, eliminates adult ticks on contact, while tick tubes target ticks in their nymph stage.

May is a month when more of us move our activities outside, but it is also Lyme Disease Awareness Month. Ticks are out and about, so please do a tick check after spending time outdoors.

If you have questions on tick control for your yard, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

May is Lyme Disease Awareness

Happy May everyone and happy Lyme disease Awareness Month! Lyme Disease Awareness Month aims to educate people on the numbers, signs and symptoms of the disease. It’s also an opportunity to reiterate the importance of protecting yourself from the ticks that transmit this dangerous disease.

Lyme disease, named after the Connecticut town in which it was found, has been growing in numbers and affects more parts of the country than it did just 7-10 years ago. The Centers of Disease Control state that is it the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States and some estimates say that with the rate of illnesses going unreported to the CDC, that Lyme cases could be as high as 300,000 a year!

Blacklegged ticks carry the Lyme bacteria and transmit it to humans. They can be found in any area of the country where there is a large population of deer. Deer are the vehicles for ticks, carrying them from one location to another. Ticks are most active during May, June and July, but will be out whenever the temperatures are warm enough.

Not all blacklegged ticks carry Lyme disease, so if you get a tick bite, it doesn’t mean that you definitely have Lyme. If you find a tick on you, promptly remove it and place it in a plastic bag in case it needs to be tested. Take any signs or symptoms of Lyme seriously and talk to your doctor if you have any concerns. The earlier Lyme disease is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat.

Being observant and being aware of ticks (and using tick control if necessary) is the best way to protect yourself from Lyme. Here are some tips:

  • When walking or hiking outdoors, stay in the middle of paths and avoid tall grass
  • Where long-sleeved shirts and pants. Light colors will make it easier for you to see any ticks that have landed on your clothing
  • Wash clothing in hot water and use a high heat dryer to eliminate any ticks left on your clothing
  • Do a full-body tick check after coming inside, making sure to look at those hard to see areas like behind the knees and in the armpits.

At Mosquito Squad, we protect our clients from ticks and Lyme with our tick control for the yard. The Mosquito Squad tick control service is two-fold, utilizing our tick eliminating barrier spray and strategically placed tick tubes.

If you have questions on any mosquito and tick services, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

Debbie Gibson Illustrates the Dark Side of Lyme disease

If you are familiar with Debbie Gibson and her music career, you know that she is, normally, a bundle of energy. She’s been performing on stage since the 1980s, but recently received some backlash after performing in South America. Critics blasted her online for her skeletal frame and said that she was unhealthily skinny. In response to the harsh words, she came out and said that yes, indeed she was unhealthy, but not because of eating issues. She has Lyme disease.

In a long blog post entitled When Life Hands you a Lemon…or Lyme she details her battle with this terrible tick-borne disease that went undiagnosed for too long.

Debbie didn’t have the bulls eye rash that some Lyme disease victims do. If she did, she may have more easily been able to find out what was ailing her. One of the main issues surrounding Lyme disease is how difficult it can be to diagnose. So many of its symptoms are similar to the flu or other illnesses.

One of the first symptoms that Debbie displayed was food sensitivity. Certain foods like caffeine, starch and sugars would trigger reactions in her system. She started to lose weight as a result and became more and more fatigued. Because of her hectic travel schedule, Debbie was unable to see her primary doctors so they were left to guess what was wrong. Never did Lyme occur to them.

When Lyme goes undiagnosed, the symptoms can become more and more severe, serious and scary. Debbie’s boyfriend noticed that she was mixing up her words and seemed confused often. When she couldn’t take it anymore, she decided to focus solely on her health. After several referrals to multiple specialists, she was tested positive for Lyme disease.

A year later, with vitamin drips and intense antibiotics, Debbie is now slowly feeling better.

We at Mosquito Squad, wish Debbie the best, but also want to thank her for bringing Lyme disease into the spotlight again. The more people know about Lyme, the better.

Tick control is not only important to enjoy your outdoor living spaces, but also to protect you from the growing cases of Lyme disease in growing areas of the country. Please contact your local Mosquito Squad office to discuss how you can protect yourself from ticks in your yard.

Kevin Bacon Releases PSA with the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance

Have you every played Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? Not sure how to play? Pick an actor or actress and try to connect them to Kevin Bacon in six steps or less. It’s a way to pass time, but I can tell you one thing that just got closer to the Following actor: Lyme disease.

Despite starring in a scary crime show, one of the things that scares Kevin Bacon the most is Lyme disease. He and his wife, Kyra Sedgwick, have a home in Connecticut where Lyme disease is prominent. When the kids were little they made it a nightly chore to check the kids each night for ticks after they had spent time outdoors.

This week, Bacon teamed up with the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance for this Public Service Announcement:

The Tick-Borne Disease Alliance (TBDA) works to raise awareness for tick-borne disease. They work with other groups around the nation to support initiatives looking to find cures for diseases like Lyme, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis and more.

One of the most difficult parts of tick-borne diseases is getting a proper diagnosis. The TBDA is working on improving both the diagnostics and treatment for these dangerous diseases.

At Mosquito Squad, we offer professional tick treatments for your yard through our barrier spray and tick tubes. Our traditional barrier spray treatment eliminates ticks on contact.

Tick tubes are a great product to use in your battle against ticks and tick-borne disease. They are placed in areas of your property where mice are known to travel like along fences and under decks. The tubes are filled with treated cotton that the mice take back to their nests. The tick control solution then gets on the mice’ skin and since the majority of ticks get their first blood meal from mice, it eliminates them.

If you have questions on how to protect yourself from ticks, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

Getting Your Pet Ready for Spring


Warm spring weather is (hopefully) just around the corner. That means it’s time to move it outdoors and enjoy it! From hiking and walking to trips to the dog park, my furry friend, Wiley, and I spend as much time as we can outdoors when it is nice out. The warm weather doesn’t just bring green grass and flowers, however, it also means biting bugs that can harm people and dogs and cats, like fleas, ticks and mosquitoes.

Just like humans, our beloved pets are at risk for vector-borne disease.

Fleas are one of the easier pests when it comes to determining their presence. Both dogs and cats are allergic to flea saliva and will scratch and chew when they have fleas. And just one flea can bite nearly 350 times in one day! While it is uncommon, fleas can transmit disease to dogs, cats and humans alike.

When it comes to ticks, your pet isn’t going to let you know that it has one because it doesn’t make them itch as much as flea bites. They may not look like they are being harmed or bothered by anything, but that may not be the case. Ticks transmit Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis dogs. There is even an illnesses called tick paralysis that can harm our four-legged friends.

When it comes to protecting your pets from flea and ticks, it’s about controlling the pests and being vigilant. Talk to your veterinarian about topical medications or collars. Additionally, there are flea and tick treatments for your yard that will help. At Mosquito Squad, our traditional barrier spray eliminates adult ticks on contact. We also have additional applications we use to combat ticks more aggressively as well as fleas. Even when your pet is protected with medication or yard treatments, they should be checked after spending time in areas where ticks and fleas are known to be. For example, Wiley had topical treatments, but still had ticks last year after hiking. If your dog or cat has a tick, remove it using tweezers and place it in a plastic bag in case it is needed for testing. If they have fleas, they will need a flea bath and you will need to check to see if your home needs to be sprayed.

When it comes to mosquitoes, they transmit one of the most dangerous vector-borne diseases for some animals: heartworm. The roundworm travels to the heart where it matures and grows. If it isn’t treated, heartworm can be fatal. It is highly recommended that animals take a heartworm medication. It should be prescribed after a heartworm test has been done on the animal.

Symptoms of canine heartworm are coughing, not wanting to exercise, fainting and a rapid heartbeat. Feline heartworm symptoms include coughing, vomiting and depression.

Professional mosquito control will also help protect your pets from heartworm by cutting down on your property’s mosquito population. The mosquito spray that we utilize eliminates mosquitoes on contact and provides continued protection for up to 21 days.

If you have questions on how to protect your pets from vector-borne disease, please reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.

VanLaanen to Compete in Sochi after Battling Lyme disease

Back in December, we talked about Sochi hopeful Angeli VanLaanen and her battle with Lyme disease. Well, she no longer is just a hopeful; she is now on the 2014 Winter Olympic team! Congratulations Angeli!

VanLaanen suffered with some of Lyme disease’s most debilitating symptoms, including fainting, dyslexia and fatigue, for 14 years before being properly diagnosed with the illness. The fact that she is from the Pacific Northwest where Lyme isn’t as prominent could have impacted her misdiagnosis.

Once diagnosed, VanLaanen stopped competing for 3 years to focus on her health. During that time she and director John Roderick filmed her treatment of Lyme disease. The resulting documentary, LymeLight, is Angeli’s way of spreading awareness of what Lyme can do and how it is possible to fight back. The half hour video, can be viewed here. As Roderick explains: “our goal with LymeLight is to educate people about Lyme disease, where it comes from, what the symptoms are and the challenges people face reclaiming their health.”

After taking 3 years off form skiing, VanLaanen dedicated herself to making the Sochi Olympics. She earned the last automatic position by winning the last of five qualifying competitions. 2014 is the first year that halfpipe skiing will be included in the winter games. VanLaanen will be skiing the halfpipe on February 20th.

Lyme disease numbers have been growing over the last decade. Many patients, like Angeli, don’t remember ever being bitten by a tick bite so Lyme isn’t the first illness considered by their doctors. Black-legged ticks that transmit the disease can be as small as a poppy seed aren’t easily seen and They tend to attach to their host in hard to see areas so they can feed without being noticed.

At Mosquito Squad, we urge people to proactively check for ticks after any outdoor excursion. And when it comes to protecting your yard from ticks, considering professional tick control.


Mosquito Squad uses a combination of our traditional barrier spray and tick tubes as a way to control ticks. The barrier spray eliminates ticks on contact while the tick tubes use field mice to eliminate ticks. Most ticks get their first blood meal from mice. Tick tubes are small tubes filled with treated cotton. We place them in areas of the property where mice would be likely to go. When they find the cotton, they take it back to their holes as nesting material. That cotton is treated with tick control product and will eliminate the ticks before they can bite you.

Please contact your local Mosquito Squad if you have any questions on protecting your property from ticks.

Three Fatal Cases of Lyme disease in One Year

Lyme disease can be dangerous and painful, but it hasn’t been associated with many deaths until recently. Of the course of one year, three people died of Lyme. Does this mean we should be worried about a deadly strand of the tick-borne disease?

In short, no. Evidence from the cases doesn’t show that there is a new strand of the Lyme. If anything, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) officials want us to use this discovery to illustrate the importance of tick awareness.

The first case covered in this new report happened over a year ago in November of 2012. After a Massachusetts man died, his organs were donated for transplant. Upon analysis of heart tissue, doctors found signs of Lyme carditis. Lyme carditis affects the heart and happens in 1% of Lyme patients. When serious, it can modify the opening and closing of heart valves, resulting in irregular heartbeats.

This one case would not have raised eyebrows in the health world if it had been the only case, but in less than a year, two other people have died from Lyme carditis in the Northeast. Health officials are urging doctors to become more familiar with both the symptoms of Lyme and Lyme carditis that include shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and fainting.

Dr. Joseph Forrester, an epidemic intelligence officer for the U.S. Public Heath Service investigated the cases. The CDC sent the reports on the cases out to health care providers to make them more aware. “Additionally, we are working with state and local health departments in high-incidence Lyme disease states to review available surveillance and mortality data to look for trends, or risk groups in people who develop Lyme carditis,” Source.

Despite three fatal cases in a year, health officials don’t see a cause for panic, just vigilance. It’s important to check for ticks after spending any extended time outdoors and take notice of any changes in your health if you have been bit by a tick. If possible, it does help if you can keep the tick a plastic bag after removal.

At Mosquito Squad, we take protecting our clients from ticks very seriously. We utilize a combination of a barrier spray and tick tubes to decrease the tick population on our clients’ properties. Using tick treatments on your yard is a good first step in protecting against tick bites, and thus, Lyme disease.

If you have questions on Mosquito Squad’s tick control services, please contact your local office. We’d be happy to help.

In the meantime, we at Mosquito Squad would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year!

Sochi Hopeful Returns to Skiing After Battle with Lyme disease

Washington native Angeli VanLaanen turned pro in 2005. A freeskiier, VanLaanen quickly got the reputation for not living up to the pressure of professional competition, mentally unprepared for the pressure. Even she believed it visiting sports psychologists to help with the problem. In reality, she was battling a disease that she was unaware she even had.

VanLaanen now knows that she’s had Lyme disease for the last 14 years, but wasn’t diagnosed until three years ago. Athletes train so hard that it isn’t surprising that she didn’t regard the fatigue and pain as a serious health issue. Through the years, VanLaanen experienced a number of symptoms including fatigue, muscle spasms, joint pain, vertigo, and back and neck pain.

When it came to skiing, Lyme disease wouldn’t affect VanLaanen’s runs one day, but be debilitating the next. She would sometimes develop vertigo, for instance, in the middle of a run down the hill.

Not sure what was wrong with her, Angeli’s aunt urged her to get tested for Lyme after watching “Under Our Skin,” a documentary covering the disease. She did, and the test came back positive.

While Lyme, if caught early, is easily treatable with antibiotics, the longer a person has it, the more difficult it can become to treat. Some people have lasting effects and will not recover completely. To return to skiing, VanLaanen had to change her very active lifestyle completely. She changed her diet and took antibiotics for two years before having an IV for treatment for six months, for four to six hours a day.

While she was unable to ski, VanLaanen created a documentary following her struggles, entitled “LymeLight.” The film has been featured at Harvard and Stanford.

Two years ago doctors told VanLaanen that she was in remission and could once again compete in the sport she loves so dearly. We at Mosquito Squad wish Angeli VanLaanen the best of luck as trains to qualify for team USA in the 2014 Olympics.

Lyme disease is often referred to as a silent killer because of its symptoms. In many cases the symptoms are the same as you would have with something like the flu and often goes undiagnosed as a result. Checking for ticks and being vigilant in the seasons when ticks are most active is the best way to fight Lyme disease.

When it comes to protecting yourself from Lyme at home, professional and effective tick control is one way to do it. At Mosquito Squad, we use a combination of a spray and tick tubes to decrease the tick population on your property. If you have questions regarding spraying for ticks, please contact your local Mosquito Squad location.

ELISA and Western Blot Tests for Lyme

Lyme disease is a growing problem in the United States. This year, the CDC estimated that they are possibly 10 times the number of cases than those that are actually reported, making it nearly 300,000 cases a year!

We’ve mentioned that diagnosis can be an issue with Lyme disease. Its symptoms are many, but there is only one telltale sign of Lyme. If a patient goes to the doctor with a large bull’s eye rash, it is a clear symptom of Lyme and the patient will quickly be put on antibiotics. If, however, a patient comes in complaining of fatigue and fever, there are numerous ailments that it could be and Lyme may not be the first thought, especially if the patient doesn’t remember any tick bites.

The best way to diagnose Lyme is through a series of blood tests that gauge your body’s reaction to the disease. Even these, unfortunately, are not a 100% accurate. If the test is taken too early, there may be no presence of antibodies in your blood.

The first test most often used for Lyme is called the Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test. The test looks for antibodies for the Lyme causing bacteria, B. burgdorferi. The ELISA test isn’t enough to confirm Lyme disease because it isn’t 100% accurate. According to Lymedisease.org, it isn’t sensitive enough to detect all antibodies. Additionally, it can result in some false positives so a Western Blot test is usually requested to confirm.

A Western Blot test looks at different proteins of the blood to detect the antibodies. For the Western Blot test, blood is placed on a strip that creates bands when certain proteins are present. When proteins are high, the bands appear darker. To gauge the presence of signs, the number, placement and color of the bands are analyzed. The bands look similar to a barcode when printed out. If the ELISA test says that a patient has Lyme and the Western Blot doesn’t, Lyme is not the probable cause of symptoms. If both are positive, however, the patients will most likely start treatment to combat Lyme.

Our bodies normally won’t show the antibody proteins if the test is taken too early. The best time to take the tests is 4 to 6 weeks after infection.

The key to Lyme is vigilance. Make sure to do a thorough tick check after spending any time in the outdoors where ticks may be present. If you are bitten, make note of where and when and, if possible, keep the tick. Yes, I said keep the tick. Place the tick in a plastic bag just in case you do get sick and you need the tick tested.

At Mosquito Squad, we protect families from the dangers of tick through tick control for the yard. A combination of our barrier spray and tick tubes will cut down on the tick population drastically in the defined area. If you have any questions on ticks or Lyme, please reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.

Enjoying the Fall? Don’t Forget About Ticks

Fall is my favorite season. The beautiful color changes of the leaves and the comfortable temperatures call me to the outdoors. From hiking and apple picking to hunting and outdoor festivals, there is always something to do outdoors in the autumn months. As you enjoy the fall, we at Mosquito Squad urge you to be aware that those dangerous pests are still out and active.


A common misconception is that ticks aren’t active in the fall. And while ticks do become less active as the weather turns cooler, they are known to bite and transmit disease through late October (later in some areas of the country).

Ticks are found all over the United States, with the black-legged species (or deer tick) transmitting the majority of tick-borne illnesses, mainly Lyme disease. If you are spending time outdoors this fall, and we hope you are, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Wear long sleeved, loose shirts and pants in a light color. Hunters may need to wear camouflage, but the majority of us can decrease our chances of getting bit by a tick just by wearing lighting colored clothing and being aware. Ticks are both small and dark. You may not notice the small fleck that is a tick nymph on a black jacket, for instance, but you may see it on a light blue shirt.

Wipe off your clothing before going inside. This may sound odd, but it is important if you’ve spent time outdoors in an area where ticks may be active. Ticks are incredibly resilient and can live in a dormant state for close to a year’s time. What does that mean exactly? If you are wearing a jacket, put it through the wash and then into a drawer for next season, a tick could still be alive on that jacket and ready to bite next year.

Hot water is your friend when it comes to ticks. Due to their resiliency, ticks can be difficult to kill. When laundering clothes that you’ve worn outside, wash and dry on the hottest settings. Ticks can survive through the laundry, but are less likely to with hot water and air.

Apply a repellent to your exposed skin and clothing. At Mosquito Squad, we provide our clients with effective tick control on their properties, but that can’t protect them when they leave their yards. Applying a repellent will keep the ticks away.

And, as always, do a full body tick check after coming inside. Ticks are small little buggers and can make their way up a pant leg or sleeve pretty easily without being noticed. It’s good practice to do a thorough tick check any time you have spent time outdoors. If you do have a tick on you, remove it promptly and place it in a plastic bag in case it needs to be tested for Lyme later on.

Mosquitoes top the list of most worrisome pest

At Mosquito Squad, we pride ourselves on ridding our clients’ properties of mosquitoes and ticks so they can enjoy the outdoors without space. Mosquitoes, as we know, are not only annoying, but dangerous and a new survey done by The National Pest Management Association is showing just how worrisome they are.

In the study conducted by Harris Interactive, American’s were asked what pests worry them the most in the summer, including mosquitoes, ticks, stinging instead (like hornets and bees), spiders and bed bugs. 62% said they were concerned with mosquitoes, followed by 38% worried about stinging insects and 30% concerned about ticks.

Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association, doesn’t seem to be too surprised by the findings: “It’s no wonder mosquitoes are of most concern for the public, considering last year was one of the deadliest West Nile virus seasons on record, with 286 fatal cases reported to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.” Source.

54% of respondents said that they are concerned about contracting disease from summer pests, follow by 43% worried about pain associated with a sting and 35% concerned about a pest infestation in their home.

Henriksen explains that the risks associated with summer pests are still a concern; “mosquitoes and stinging insects are very active up until the late fall, around October. It’s important for people to take proper precautions when spending time outdoors, especially amid concerns over [West Nile virus] and reports of increased cases of Lyme disease.”

Depending on the area of the country, our Mosquito Squad locations are providing tick and mosquito control applications through the end of October, beginning of November. As long as our clients are being bothered by mosquitoes, we will be there to help get rid of them.

The key to protecting yourself against vector-borne diseases is to protect yourself from the pests that transmit them. Getting rid of standing water on your property, for example, is a great way to cut down on the number of mosquitoes in your yard. Mosquitoes, in general, don’t venture far from where they first hatched.

The survey also showed that women were more concerned about pests during the summer months. 87% of women noted that they were concerned about pests, while 82% of them stated their concerns.

Americans with children are more concerned about summer pests than those without at 90% and 82% respectively.

If you are like the majority of people out there that are concerned with mosquitoes and ticks, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office. We will work with your to find a tick and mosquito control option that will work for you.

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* Tick control not available in MI without a license

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