As America’s most trusted mosquito and tick eliminator, Mosquito Squad understands the dangers of vector-borne disease. Each year, thousands of Americans are infected with painful and dangerous diseases through the bite of a mosquito and tick. The most common vector-borne disease in the U.S. is Lyme disease that is carried by ticks.
One difficulty in treating Lyme has always been that it can be difficult to diagnose. While the bulls eye rash that some patients get is a clear sign of the disease, many patients don’t get the rash and the other symptoms are synonymous with the flu. The proposed Act would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to “develop more accurate and time-sensitive diagnostic tools to strengthen surveillance and reporting of Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses.” (Source.)
With some patients receiving false negatives due to the cycle of the disease, better testing would be a great asset to prevent chronic Lyme.
The Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Prevention, Education and Research Act would also aim to educate more people on ticks and tick borne diseases including not only Lyme but also Powassan virus and Babesiosis. The community based education programs would teach people the signs and symptoms of the diseases allowing them to be more proactive with their health.
When Lyme is diagnosed early, antibiotics are a great source of treatment. However, research find that the longer it goes undiagnosed, the worst symptoms get and the more difficult it is to treat, referred to as chronic Lyme. This Act could decrease the number of Lyme and chronic Lyme patients.
If you spend a lot of time outdoors, it’s important to be tick-safe and perform thorough tick checks of your body when you come inside. Those pests can be as small as a poppy seed so really look for them! If you find one, promptly remove it.
For those homeowners that want to be more proactive with their tick control, the Squad recommends a combination of barrier sprays and tick tubes. The spray eliminates adult ticks on contact while the tick tubes target nymph ticks. When used together, it is a great way to treat your property for ticks.
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.
This past summer a Kansas man was infected with a fast-moving illness that took his life after 10 days in the hospital. Otherwise a healthy man, doctors tried treating him with a series of antibiotics that unfortunately didn’t work. After much research, a new microbe has been found and named the Bourbon virus.
No, this virus has nothing to do with the Bourbon drink, but instead is named after the county in which the only known victim lived. The virus was discovered by researchers with the Centers for Disease Control. It’s believed that the male farmer was infected through the bite of an infected tick while spending time outdoors.
When the man fell ill, the illness got serious very quickly. The Bourbon virus can cause fever, muscle ache, loss or appetite and can lead to lung and kidney failure. Because it is a virus and not a bacteria, antibiotics didn’t help fight the disease.
The patient was tested for tick-borne illnesses but the tests came up negative.
Thee are many more studies that need to be done to get a clear understanding of the Bourbon virus as this is the first known case. Dr. Dana Hawkinson with the University of Kansas Hospital explains: “we have to assume this has been around for some time, and we haven’t been able to diagnose it. We suspect there have been milder cases and people have recovered from them, but we don’t have a lot of information.” (Source.)
Tick-borne diseases can be very serious if not diagnosed and treated properly. If you spend time outdoors in the months ticks are known to be active, it’s important to thoroughly check your body for ticks. If you see one, remove it and place in a plastic bag in case you feel it needs to be tested. If you start to feel sick or experiencing any known symptoms, go to a doctor.
At Mosquito Squad, we protect our clients from the nuisance and dangers of ticks with our tick treatments for the yard. We use a combination of our barrier spray and tick tubes to attack the ticks at different stages of their lifecycle, greatly reducing their opportunity to infect homeowners.
If you have questions on tick control for your yard, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.
Ticks, like mosquitoes, are vectors of disease. When feeding, they transmit saliva and bacteria into their host’s skin and bloodstream. While Lyme disease may have received the most news in recent years, Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be extremely dangerous and is the most lethal rickettsial disease.
When it comes to transmitting Rocky Mountain, a new study out of Brazil is reporting that ticks don’t need as much time as we thought. Current literature states that the disease can be transmitted in 2 to 10 hours, but there are cases when the transmission could take place in just 10 minutes!
Marcelo Labruna of the University of Sao Paulo led the study where ticks were observed feeding on different animals. They found that if ticks had recently fed and then went to feed on another animal, they were able to transmit disease quicker than when they were first feeding.
The study also found that dogs play a primary roll in the spread of Rocky Mountain spotted fever in Brazil (know there as Brazilian fever). The majority of cases in the area are diagnosed in children and women who have little contact with tick habitats. It’s most likely that dogs are carrying ticks into the home or yard where they are then attaching to family members, meaning that they have previously fed.
A different type of tick, the wood tick, transmits Rocky Mountain in the US than in Brazil. That could result in different findings when it comes to transmission of the disease. Patrick Leisch, entomologist at the University of Wisconsin, explains that the best way to protect yourself from all tick-borne diseases is to avoid tick habitats, protect yourself properly, and educate yourself on the pest.
At Mosquito Squad, we protect our clients from the nuisance and dangers of ticks with our tick control services. We use a combination of our barrier spray and tick tubes to greatly reduce the tick population on a property. The barrier spray, applied by trained technicians every 2-3 weeks, eliminates adult ticks on contact. Tick tubes are placed on the property twice a year normally and use mice as a vehicle for the tick control product.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Many people are familiar with the most common tick-borne disease: Lyme, but another has been on the rise: anaplasmosis.
Anaplasmosis was first found in humans in the mid-1990s. States started to report cases in 1999 and ever since then it has been on a steady increase. While the numbers still remain relatively low nationwide, it’s becoming more common in states with large black-legged tick populations.
Anaplasmosis is transmitted through the bite of an infected black-legged or deer tick. While the symptoms are flulike with the most common being fever, chills and headaches, it actually affects the body’s white blood cells and can be quite dangerous. White blood cells help combat illness in the body, so if the number is decreased, the body can’t fight other infections.
David Letterman, host of The Late Show, suffered from anaplasmosis in 2009 after being bitten by a tick while spending the night outside. He told his audience that it made him feel worse than the heart surgery he had in past.
When diagnosed, anaplasmosis is treated with antibiotics, but one of every 200 cases is fatal.
As spring returns and temperatures rise, we all like to spend more time outdoors. Ticks will become quite active again soon, which means we need increase our awareness and vigilance.
Mosquito Squad offers tick control services for the home through our barrier spray and tick tube applications. For anyone who is spending time outdoors, especially in areas where ticks are known to live, please use these tips:
Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. Lighter colored clothing will make it easier to see the ticks
Conduct a full body check after coming indoors. Use a mirror or ask someone to help check those hard to see areas
Place clothes in the dryer, on high heat to eliminate any ticks that remain on your clothing.
Promptly remove any ticks that have attached to you using tweezers.
If you have questions regarding tick control, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A few weeks ago we posted about a CDC study estimating that Lyme disease is a much larger problem than the confirmed cases show. In 2011, there were over 24,000 confirmed cases, with 96% of them happening in just 13 states, Vermont being one of them. The Vermont Health Department is fighting the bite by offering a new tick tracking website.
Vermont reported 500 cases of Lyme disease in 2011 and just over 350 last year. To help educate the public on tick activity, they launched a website allowing the public to report where they’ve noticed tick activity, “’Once you report ticks in your area, it shows up on a map so that everyone can know where they might want to take extra precautions when spending time outdoors,’ said the Health Department’s Erica Berl, an infectious disease epidemiologist. ‘It’s not too late to report – adult ticks are most active in the spring and fall.” Source.
The website, found at http://webmail.vdh.state.vt.us/vttracking/TickTracker/TickTracker.html, displays the different areas of tick activity on a map of the state. Small tick images are color coded bases on the type of tick reported. Hovering over the tick image will initiate a pop up that provides details on the report including, location, date, number of ticks found, how it was observed (on clothing, pet, etc) and a general comments field. One report included “Lyme positive” which must have come from someone who had recently been diagnosed. Looking at the map, a resident can easily identify a few pockets where numerous deer ticks (Lyme carrying ticks) have been reported.
The page also links to a “Be Tick Smart” guide that shows images of the different tick species, Lyme disease information, an illustration on how to remove a tick, and other handy information.
The tick tracking website is a great way to educate and increase tick awareness, especially in a state that has a large number of tick-borne illness reports each year.
Lyme disease is transmitted through the bite of an infected deer tick. Here are some helpful tips to protect against tick bites and Lyme disease:
If you have seen ticks on your property, reach out to a professional tick control company like Mosquito Squad. We will get to the ticks, before they get to you.
When spending time outdoors in unprotected areas, wear light colored pants and long sleeved shirts. Loose clothing is harder to bite through, but ticks are also easier to see on light colors than dark.
Do a full body tick check after coming inside any time you’ve spent time outdoors, even if you did wear pants and long sleeves. Ticks are sly pests and can weasel their way to your skin if given the chance. Be sure to check areas like your armpits and behind your knees.
If you have been bitten by a tick, remove it properly with tweezers (here’s a guide from the CDC) and put it in a plastic baggie if possible. Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose because of its flulike symptoms, so having the tick itself makes it easier. The ticks can be tested for the Lyme bacteria.
If you’ve been bitten by a blacklegged (deer) tick, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have Lyme. Not all deer ticks carry the disease. Also, if you are sure that the tick has been embedded in you less than 36 hours, your chances of having Lyme are slimmer. The key is to be observant and take note of any symptoms you may start to display including fatigue, joint pain or the telltale bull’s-eye rash.
If you have any questions on tick control for your yard, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.
I love to hike. If it is nice outside, you can find me on the trails enjoying the day. That being said, I am VERY aware of my surroundings and the critters I’m sharing nature with, including ticks. Ticks, like mosquitoes, transmit diseases through their bite. The most common tick-borne illness is Lyme disease and it look as though it is a bigger issue than we thought.
In recent years, we’ve seen the number of confirmed cases rise in the US. With only 20,000 to 30,000 cases reported each year to the Centers of Disease Control, the CDC decided to do a more comprehensive study to get a better estimate of how many annual cases are actually diagnosed. Their findings show that there are closer to 300,000 people that are diagnosed with Lyme each year!
The majority of doctors don’t report confirmed cases to the CDC, resulting in numbers that were 10 times smaller than the most realistic numbers. To gauge how far off the reported cases were, national laboratories and patients were surveyed. Insurance information was also reviewed.
While 96 % of reported cases occur in just 13 states, the studied revealed that the disease affects a larger geographic reason than assumed.
Dr. Paul Mead of the CDC explains: “We know that routine surveillance only gives us part of the pictures, and that the true number of illnesses is much greater. This new preliminary estimate confirms that Lyme disease is a tremendous public health problem in the United States, and clearly highlights the urgent need for prevention.” Source.
Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose because the vast majority of its symptoms are similar to the flu, including fatigue, fever and headaches. Many people believe that the bull’s-eye rash that Lyme is known for displays in all cases, but that is just not true. Patients can have Lyme disease and never have a rash around the tick bite.
At Mosquito Squad, we help our clients fight Lyme by ridding their yards of ticks, but there are things that homeowners can do on their own property to minimize the risk of getting a tick bite. We call them the 6Cs.
Clear out lawn and tree debris. Ticks love shady, moist areas that debris can create.
Clean out your lawn of any litter or brush. Keep your grass mowed.
Choose plants that don’t attract deer. Deer often are the transportation system for ticks to enter onto your property.
Check hiding places. Ticks like to hide along fences, brick and retaining walls. Know where the hiding places are on your property and check them regularly.
Care for your pets. Our pets often venture into parts of the yard that we don’t and often those spaces are the perfect places for ticks. As tick-borne diseases, like Lyme, can affect animals as well, make sure you talk to your vet about mosquito and tick control for your dog
And lastly, call the professionals. At Mosquito Squad, we utilize our barrier spray treatment and tick tubes to rid properties of ticks.
If you have questions regarding tick control for your yard, please reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.
I must admit that I am afraid of ticks (blame it on the job). The idea of a bug burrowing its head into my skin has always freaked me out. Naturally when I saw an article come across my computer screen that said “Tick Killing Robot,” I was intrigued.
When engineering professor, Jim Squire’s daughter was bitten by a tick, he began to look for ways to rid specific areas of the pest. He worked with his colleague David Livingston and tick expert Daniel Sonenshine to create a robot that can kill ticks. Sonenshine suggested that instead of having the robot seek out tick habitats it would be much easier to attract the ticks to the robot.
The idea behind the robot is pretty simple. Ticks are attracted to carbon dioxide. Sonenshine, Livingston and Squire laid tubing that emits carbon dioxide. After the tubing has been able to give off carbon dioxide for 15 minutes, the robot follows the tubing, dragging a piece of cloth behind it that has been treated with a pesticide. The ticks will attach to the cloth, killing them.
Honestly, the idea seemed so simple to me that I didn’t think that it could work, but very early studies look promising. In one lab test, the environment was seeded with 50 ticks. The robot was able to lure in and kill 45 of them on the first swipe. As Livingston says, “we were shocked. We didn’t expect it to be that efficient.”
Results continue to look positive, even after the studies move outdoors. The robot killed almost 100% of the seeded ticks within the designated test area and the area stayed clear of ticks for nearly 18 hours. The next step is to test the robot on residential properties, which will begin next summer. “We’re not eradicating ticks by any means,” says Livingston. “We’re just very surgically eliminating them from a particular area. Once we clean the yard, how long before they come back? If we can keep it clean for a number of days, then it’s going to be a viable product. If they come back overnight, not so much.” Source.
Because of the pesticide applied to the cloth behind the robot, it has to be handled by a licensed professional. We at Mosquito Squad will be paying close attention to the tick killing robot to see if it can outperform our current tick control treatments and if it makes sense to add to our service.
We shared the professors concern about ticks. There are too many species that transmit dangerous disease to humans. Currently, our professional tick control consists of a barrier spray and ticks tubes. Our mosquito barrier spray eliminates adult ticks on contact and will cut down on a property’s tick population greatly. Additionally, for those clients that are worried about ticks, we place tick tubes around their property. The tubes are filled with treated cotton. That cotton attracts mice that use it for bedding material. Ticks usually get their first blood meal from mice, so by treating their bedding, we are treating their skin (much like a topical dog treatment), killing the ticks (it won’t kill the mice).
If you have questions on ways to get rid of the ticks on your property, please reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.