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Now you see them, then you won’t. Tick biting – a cautionary tale.

Posted by Mosquito Squad

September 16, 2011

Chances are, in your neck of the woods, the ticks that are biting right now are the larger adult ticks which are easily detected because they are bigger, more visible, and we are more apt to feel their presence than that of a smaller tick. Just because the ticks are in their adult cycle of life among most areas of the country does not mean we are “out of the woods”, so to speak, when it comes to the dangers of tick-borne illnesses and disease.

The life cycle of the tick is quite complex. The female tick lays her eggs within her environment. A female tick can lay up to 22,000 eggs at a time. Then the eggs will hatch and the offspring will seek their first meal of blood. This is the larval stage.  Once a host for their “dinner party” has been found they will feed for several days then drop off the host to begin to digest its meal. After a few weeks the larva will  molt  and become nymphal ticks. These are the ticks that are highly prevalent during the spring. Small in size, and hard to detect on your body. These nymph ticks will continue to seek hosts to feed from and continue to molt until they reach adulthood, getting larger each time they molt, then as mother nature surely predicts they will also breed and lay eggs and the circle of life continues. Some species of ticks can live up to two years.

Ticks are less likely to be detected while in their nymph stage, which happens during the  spring. During the nymph stage of the tick’s life cycle, they are still able to feed and spread disease and can be as small as a pin dot, and quite difficult to detect.

In the unique and complex connection that is required for a deer tick to ultimately bite and infect a human with Lyme disease, it all begins with a mouse or rodent to facilitate the chain. A little known fact is that rodent nesting season is happening right now. This includes the white footed mouse, and other rodents that are responsible for aiding in the spread of ticks which carry Lyme disease.  The deer tick that is the vector for Lyme disease which feeds off the rodent and is carried  back to the rodent’s  nest, whereas this begins the cycle of tick to animal or human contact to feed and possibly spread dangerous and debilitating Lyme disease as well.

Mosquito Squad is instituting the use of tick tubes to fight ticks at their source to prevent Lyme disease as well as cutting down on the tick population that will ultimately affect us during the upcoming spring that lies only months away. Tick Tubes are small tubes that are filled with cotton which has been treated with a tick-killing insecticide which is safe for humans and animals, including mice, but kills the tick. The mice transfer the cotton from these tick tubes to use as bedding material within their winter nest’s and the treated cotton will kill ticks within the nest and on the mouse itself. It is a win/win situation. The mice get a fluffy nest for their young, and the ticks are killed, which helps reduce the chances of a tick infecting us with Lyme disease. Tick tubes have been found to reduce the chances of being bitten by a tick that could be a potential carrier of Lyme disease by up to 90% according to a tick tube study conducted on Fire Island, N.Y.

The effective use of tick tubes as part of our tick abatement program which includes our safe and effective barrier sprays designed to kill ticks on contact, used in conjunction with tick tubes give you maximum tick protection and peace of mind in an uncertain world.