The signs that warmer weather is close at hand are all around us. Trees here in the Columbia, SC area are budding and the daffodils and tulips are beginning to wake up from their winter nap. Springs’ arrival also means the arrival of nuisance pests that not only put a damper on our outdoor activities but they are also carriers of many tick-borne illnesses and diseases.
Three types of ticks are the most common here in the Columbia area. These include the Ixodes also known as the black-legged tick but most commonly referred to as the deer tick, the Amblyomma or the Lone Star Tick, and the Dermacentor or American Dog Tick. Each of these blood seeking opportunistic arthropods can carry and spread disease and illness. Dog ticks are known vectors of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. The Lone Star tick is known to carry both Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Ehrlichiosis. Of course, the Deer Tick is widely known as the primary vector of Lyme disease. Deer ticks are also responsible for the spread of Babesiosis and Ehrlichiosis.
Your chance of coming into contact with a potentially infected tick is more likely during the summer months. All ticks at every stage of life have the capability of spreading disease to humans and other animals. The immature nymph deer tick is one of the most difficult to detect because of its tiny size. Some nymphal deer ticks are no bigger than the size of a poppy-seed which can make detection nearly impossible. These small deer ticks carry the same risks of infecting you with Lyme disease as that of an adult deer tick. The appearance of the deer tick comes at a time of year when many folks are outside working in their gardens, tending flowers, and enjoying the spring weather. The arrival of this tick makes people and pets a prime target to become the main course on the deer ticks menu which puts us at risk for contracting Lyme disease.
On a lighter note, being bitten by a tick doesn’t automatically mean you are going to contract a tick-borne disease such as the ones listed above. Not all ticks are infected. Finding a tick on your body should spark a call to action, but it is also important to stay calm. By following the safe tick removal procedures as outlined by the CDC you will minimize the risk associated with the disbursement of bacteria within the tick from entering the wound, and thus reduce the chance of infection.
If you have already been bitten by a tick it is important to pay close attention to the warning signs that you may be sick from the bite. Lyme disease is best known by its trademark “bull’s-eye” rash. Although common, Lyme disease doesn’t always produce this rash and it is important to learn the other symptoms of tick-borne illness and disease. Many tick-borne diseases display similar symptoms such as fever, chills, aches and pains which are flu-like in nature, headache and fatigue. If you think you have been infected by the bite of a tick it is important to contact your physician immediately so further testing can be done to determine, diagnose and treat the illness early. Treating the illness early is crucial in avoiding long-term complications.
The best way to reduce the risk of coming into contact with a tick this spring, and throughout the warm season ahead is awareness and prevention. Mosquito Squad of Columbia specializes in barrier sprays formulated to eliminate adult ticks from your yard. We also offer a tick-tube program that targets larval ticks, or baby ticks. Through the use of these two tick control programs, we can reduce the chance of coming face to face with a tick within your treated area by up to 90%.
Contact Mosquito Squad of Columbia to learn more about ticks and our various tick control and prevention programs. We can help keep you and your loved ones safe from ticks this spring and throughout the summer. Contact us today to schedule your tick control early because time is tick, tick, ticking away. Call us today.