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Category: Tick Information

Protecting your Dog from the Dangers of Ticks

When you think of ticks, what do you think? Gross? Definitely. Hard to see and detect? You bet. Lyme disease? Absolutely? Paralysis? Probably not. These little buggers can be very dangerous to our beloved pets, and it isn’t just Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis, they can cause paralysis too.

My mother and I are dog lovers. That’s my man, Wiley, to the right. I’m a sucker for his ears, but I digress. Recently my mom was telling me about a friend who has a dog. Their dog Buster had always been healthy and active, but in a matter of just 5 weeks had lost nearly 30 pounds and wouldn’t go on walks. After several tests and visits to the vet, they found the culprit. Ticks. The poor pup had 3 or 4 ticks under his armpit, a very difficult spot to see and check. They were causing the issues.

Ticks, when they aren’t noticed and removed quickly can cause paralysis in dogs, and sometimes even humans. Some ticks carry a toxin that is released into their host while feeding. That toxin affects movement control.

It’s important that dog owners thoroughly check their dogs for ticks after spending time in areas where ticks are known to live. The toxin may be released after 3 days of attachment. Luckily, when the tick is removed, the symptoms of paralysis will subside. Buster recovered quickly and is back to his normal self.

Ticks checks are an important piece of protecting your pet from tick-borne disease. To check your dog, pet it slowly while applying more pressure than normal. Many times, you will feel a bump that you can then look closely at. Make sure to check their elbows, inside of their legs and in between toes. Those are often ticks favorite hiding spot on a dog.

At Mosquito Squad, we protect pets with our effective tick control. Our tick services include a combination of our barrier spray treatment and tick tubes. The spray eliminates ticks on contact while the tubes get them earlier in their lifecycle.

If you’d like to discuss reducing the number of ticks on your property, 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.

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.

Another Tick-Borne Illness on the Rise

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.

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.

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.

Vermont Launches Tick Tracking Website to Protect Population

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.

Lyme disease bigger issue than reported

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.

Tick Killing Robot to Begin Trials Next Summer

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.

Do All Ticks Carry Lyme disease?

As Lyme disease Awareness Month winds down, the tick population is out and active. Just this past weekend I was working in the yard with my husband when he noticed a tick on his shirt. Lucky for us, we were able to see it easily on his white long-sleeved shirt (yes, I made him wear long sleeves). Had he had dark colors or a T-shirt on we may not have seen it until it had already attached. Of course, this tick encounter came up at a barbecue later that night and I was surprised to hear how little people know about both ticks and Lyme disease. Since it’s almost June and will no longer be Lyme disease Awareness month, let’s address some commonly asked questions…

Do all ticks carry Lyme disease? No, there are many species of ticks, but only the blacklegged, or deer, ticks carry Lyme disease and only 1 in 4 or 5 deer ticks carry Lyme.


How can I distinguish a deer tick from another type of tick? Deer ticks have black legs (hence the name blacklegged tick). When a deer tick hasn’t had a blood meal, its back is most commonly black and brown, however, when it is engorged, the body turns a grayish blue color.

Are there signs that there are ticks in my area? The most obvious way to tell if there are deer ticks in your area are to see if you have an active deer population. Deer are the most common transportation method for deer ticks. Anywhere you have deer, you will find ticks.

W*hat are the best ways to avoid tick bites and Lyme disease?* Anyone who spends time outdoors has the opportunity to be bitten by a tick, but there are things you can do to minimize your risk. Wearing lose, light colored clothing will make ticks easier to spot. Make sure to do a thorough tick check after spending time outdoors, paying particular attention to the dark, hard to reach areas that ticks like to hide and attach. This includes your armpits, behind the knee and the groin. According to most sources, a tick has to be attached for at least 24 hours to transmit Lyme disease.

Does a bull’s-eye rash develop in all cases of Lyme? No, not all people with Lyme disease have the bull’s-eye rash, but the majority do. Between 80-90% of people with Lyme do have some form of the rash, but sometimes they can’t see it depending on where the tick bite happened. The rash will center around the tick bite. Other symptoms of Lyme are joint pain, fatigue, headaches and fever.

Is Lyme disease easily treated? When Lyme is diagnosed early it is easily treated with antibiotics. About 10-20% of cases develop chronic Lyme disease which is more difficult to treat. The earlier it can be diagnosed, the less likely you are to have long term effects of Lyme.

How do I remove an attached tick? Despite the many myths involving burning and suffocating ticks, the best way to remove a tick is with tweezers. Grab the tick with the tweezers as close to your body as possible and pull out straight, making sure that the entire head is removed. Ticks have beak-like mouths so it may be difficult to pull it off. After removing the tick, place it in a plastic bag in case it needs to be tested by the doctor and wash the tick bite out with soap and water.

Are there things I can do in my yard to avoid ticks and minimize my chance of getting Lyme? Yes, at Mosquito Squad we recommend the 6 Cs of tick control.


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.

When it comes to treatment, do not hesitate to reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office. Not only do our tick treatments for the yard include tick tubes, but also our barrier spray. Our barrier spray will adult ticks on contact before they bite you and your family.

Possible Lyme Disease Vaccine Does Well in Preliminary Testing

Since May is Lyme disease Awareness Month it is fitting that just last week news of a clinical trial for a Lyme disease vaccine is going well was released. Lyme disease numbers have grown over the last several years here in the U.S and what was once considered a New England-based disease has, unfortunately, expanded its reach.

The Lyme disease vaccine is being developed and tested at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine and Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York. The initial findings have been published by The Lancet Infectious Diseases’ website.

The vaccine triggers the body to create antibodies against Borrelia, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. While there are hundreds of Borrelia variations, this vaccine is said to fight against all those that are carried in the Northern hemisphere. In early trials consisted of 300 volunteers that each received three immunizations and one booster. The researchers are happy with the results so far and excited to see it advance to the next stages of testing. As Dr. Luft, a co-author of the paper explains:

“The results of the clinical trial conducted by Baxter are promising because the vaccine generated a potent human immune reaction, covered the complete range of Borrelia active in the Northern hemisphere, and produced no major side effects. We hope that a larger-scale, Phase 3 trial will demonstrate not only a strong immune response but true efficacy in a large population that illustrates protection against Lyme disease” (Source).

A common frustration with Lyme disease is that it isn’t easily diagnosed. While many people relate Lyme to the bulls-eye rash, many patients never develop it. Most of the symptoms related to Lyme are unfortunately the same as those related to the flu and arthritis, like joint paint, fever, fatigue, headaches and more. The longer a patient goes without a proper diagnosis, the worse some symptoms can become. A vaccine would be a great first step in being more proactive in fighting the battle against Lyme.

At Mosquito Squad, we help combat Lyme with our tick treatments for the yard. Our barrier spray knocks down any adult ticks it sprays during application. Further protection includes tick tubes that are placed in parts of the yard where mice are most active. Tick tubes hold treated cotton that the mice will bring back to their nests. Most ticks actually get their first blood meal from mice, so when they come in contact with the treated cotton, they’ll die. The number of tick tubes your yard needs will depend upon the size of your yard. Contact your local Mosquito Squad office to learn more about our tick control services.

If you live in an area that is known to have Lyme and you spend any time outdoors, make sure you do a thorough tick check after coming inside, including behind your knees and under your arms. These hard-to-reach places are tick favorites. If you do find an attached tick, make sure to remove it properly with tweezers and put it in a plastic bag if you can, that way you can have it tested if you do indeed start to show symptoms of Lyme.

We at Mosquito Squad are excited to see the news of the Lyme disease vaccine and will be keeping all of you posted!

Animal Paralysis due to Ticks?


If you read this blog, you know that I am a huge dog lover (come on, look at that face). I make sure that my four-legged companion is fed correctly, has the right amount of exercise and gets the necessary shots and medicine to keep him strong and healthy. There are some ailments, however, that are difficult, if not impossible, to prevent and one can be caused by the dreaded tick.

I recently read an article about a dog that started displaying disturbing symptoms. An otherwise healthy dog all of a sudden started losing control of her legs. Seeing the animal get worse, it ended up being diagnosed as tick paralysis and after removing more than 4 ticks from the dog, it was able to fully recover.

Tick paralysis is a relatively common illness that mostly affects cows and sheep, but has been known to affect dogs and some humans. Tick paralysis occurs when a tick attaches and feeds for an extended period of time. A female tick causes the disease with toxins in the salivary glands. Weakness in the legs is usually the first symptom and begins 2-7 days after the tick bite. The symptoms can worsen very quickly, spreading to the trunk and head within hours, but rarely ends in death.

The treatment for tick paralysis is simple: remove the attached tick. Unlike other vector-borne diseases, tick paralysis isn’t caused by a virus or bacterium that stays in the body long after the parasite is removed. Instead, it’s a chemical reaction to the tick, so when the tick is properly removed, the symptoms fade quickly.

Although it is most common in dog and Rocky Mountain ticks, over forty species of ticks are known to cause tick paralysis. The best way to protect your animals from the dangers of ticks is to protect them as best you can. Mosquito Squad’s barrier spray, misting systems and tick tubes are a few ways to protect your property and animals against ticks (and mosquitoes of course!). All of our services aim to get mosquitoes and ticks before they have the opportunity to bite.

Tick control in your yard isn’t always enough to protect some of your pets from ticks, especially dogs that may go hiking with their owners. For example, although I protect my property from ticks, I still give my dog a topical medication because we hike and walk in wooded areas where ticks are known to be. Additionally, it’s imperative that you check your animals for ticks on a daily basis during tick season to ensure they don’t have time to attach and transmit any dangerous diseases.

If you have questions regarding any of our tick and mosquito control services, reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.

Lyme Disease App – helping to prevent and fight Lyme disease

I never thought that I would download a Lyme disease application on my phone, but the American Lyme Disease Foundation (ALDF) proved me wrong. At the end of last summer, the ALDF released an iPhone app title “Lyme Disease Tick Map” to educate people on the dangers of Lyme disease ways to prevent it. At Mosquito Squad, we have seen some crazy tick and mosquito control phone apps, but haven’t been very impressed, but I have to say this app has some pretty cool tools inside.


When you open the Lyme Disease Tick Map application, it gives you a table of contents for an easy way to find information. Here’s what it offers:

Tick Map. It is just what it says. The application will read where you are currently located and tell you how likely you are to be bitten by an infected tick. For example, I am located in Richmond, VA and it tells me that right now it is rare that I would be bitten by a tick infected with Lyme. The scale goes from no ticks to an abundance of ticks.

How to Prevent Lyme Disease. This section provides the user with bullet points on how to avoid tick bites (and thus Lyme disease), including wearing the appropriate clothing and better areas to walk if you are spending time outdoors.


How to Identify a Tick. For those people who live in areas with several species of ticks, this section of ALDF’s app is really helpful. It includes images of the most common types of ticks for quick comparisons. In the deer tick section (deer ticks are the only ticks that transmit Lyme disease), the images are clickable so you that you can see the differences between larva, nymph, male and female ticks and it will tell you which ones are most likely to bite and spread Lyme.

How to Remove a Tick. There are a ton of theories regarding the best way to remove an attached tick. Unfortunately, several of them not only don’t help, but may increase your chances of getting Lyme. This section of the app provides both a video and a step-by-step guide covering how to remove the tick properly.

Duration of Attachment. The longer a tick has been feeding, the more likely it is that Lyme disease has been transferred to you (if the tick is infected). It can be difficult to know, however, how long a tick has been attached (I don’t know about you, but I don’t look at the back of my knee all too often). The duration of attachment section show pictures of ticks at different stages of attachment so the user can compare the photos and decide if they need to see a doctor.

Lyme Disease Symptoms. This section is not for the squeamish! It shows pictures as well as describes different symptoms of Lyme.

Find a Physician. I’m not sure how doctors get listed on ALDF’s app, but when I pressed it, it provided me the name and contact information for a local infectious disease doctor.

Helpful Links. There are links to other helpful organizations that provide information on Lyme disease.

About the App. You guessed it, this section provides the background on the app.

The app as a whole is a pretty good reference tool for ticks and Lyme disease, especially if you have been bitten and aren’t sure what type of tick bit you, how long it has been there and how to remove it. At Mosquito Squad, we protect our clients against tick bites and Lyme disease with a combination of our barrier spray and tick tubes. Professional tick control will help fight off ticks before they can bite and infect you.

If you have questions regarding tick control on your property, please call your local Mosquito Squad office.

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