What’s the biggest difference between mosquitoes and ticks? They both carry diseases that can be lethal. They both bite humans and pets. They both love warm weather. There are many similarities but the biggest difference is how they bite. Mosquitoes are gulpers. They take their meal as fast as they can; then they are off to the next meal. Ticks linger at the party. They drink their blood meal more slowly. If you are singing the cranberries song now “do you have to let them linger”, we apologize for getting the song stuck in your head but want to provide some valuable information about tick bites to help you protect yourself.
When a tick bites, it cuts a hole and inserts a barbed mouth part into the skin. This part serves as a tube that draws blood. It is also a way they hook the skin to stay firmly attached.
Ticks use their saliva to numb their bite. The saliva also acts as an anti-coagulant to keep the blood flowing. Their saliva serves other purposes as well, to get the blood they want. It may take 18-72 hours for their saliva to cause a reaction (the telltale bullseye rash). This reaction is not a clear indication they’ve transmitted a disease. However, if the reaction or rash becomes larger than the size of a silver dollar (1.5 inches) it is time to see your doctor.
As a tick draws blood, it will engorge. Ticks will grow to 10 times their size while taking in their blood meal. Scientists can determine how long they have been attached simply from their size. The good news is that it does take time for an infected tick to transmit Lyme Disease. Depending on factors like the lifecycle stage of the tick, it can take 24 to 48 hours before an infection is transmitted to a host.
Tick checks can be life saving efforts.
Ticks are present in warm months, so tick checks should be performed from early spring through late fall. Of course, the best defense against ticks is to reduce our exposure as much as possible.
For an itemized list of our Top 12 Things You Need To Know About Tick Bites, click on this hyperlink. The Tick Encounter Resource Center (TERC) at the University of Rhode Island is an excellent source of valuable tick and Lyme Disease information.
Tick control in Central Mass begins at home. The best protection is to use a perimeter spray service from a reputable company. A good perimeter spray creates a protected area eliminating ticks in that safe zone. The effective perimeter spray Mosquito Squad of Central Mass uses will eliminate ticks on your property and will also eliminate mosquitoes, another cause of insect-borne illnesses.
Give us a call to get started with your Central MA summer-long mosquito and tick protection.