You might think since summer is drawing to a close that the threat of ticks and the tick-borne illnesses they carry is no longer an issue. Think again. Ticks don’t just disappear with the end of summer vacation or your children’s return to school. They are out there, lurking and waiting for the next unlucky host to cross their path and become their next meal.
The life cycle of the tick makes it possible for ticks to spread disease through much of its life. Ticks undergo a series of changes through their life which entail the egg stage, the larval stage, the nymphal stage, and adulthood. Each stage of a tick’s life, with the exception of the egg stage, is focused on feeding. From the time a tick emerges from the egg until it perishes, its primary function is to feed off of our blood. This crimson obsession is only worsened by the tick’s ability to infect us with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, Babesiosis, Anaplasmosis and a number of various Encephalides as well as Meningitis.
Ticks like to reside in thickets, wooded areas, and tall grasses. These offer the tick the necessary moisture to keep the tick happy and hydrated. Deer ticks, which are known vectors of Lyme disease use creatures within their habitat to help facilitate the spread of Lyme disease. The white footed mouse, among other small rodents serve as hosts for the deer tick. While serving as a host to the deer tick, the mice inadvertently take the tick back into its nest where it continues to feed and calls the rodent’s lair home until it is passed to another mammal or human, thus ensuring further transmission of the disease through a tick infected with the disease. Fall is the time when these rodents are building their warm nests for the upcoming winter, and it is also the time when the interaction between the mouse and the deer tick will reach it’s fevered pitch.
According to an article published by the American Lyme Disease Foundation, the population of ticks active within the larval stage of their life reaches a crescendo in the months of August and September. This data shows that fall is an important time of the year to be pro-active when it comes to the prevention and control of the tick. Adult ticks are also busy engorging themselves in anticipation of laying their eggs to continue the evolution of the species.
There are a number of ways to aid in the prevention of ticks during this crucial time of the year. Mosquito Squad of the North Shore uses tick tubes as a vital weapon in the war on ticks and Lyme disease. These tick tubes contain cotton which is treated with an insecticide that is designed to kill the ticks. The tick tubes are laid out at multiple locations across the landscape, near woods, tall grasses, etc. Then the mice remove the cotton within the tubes and use it as a comfy nesting material, which will also kill any ticks lurking on the mouse or residing in the mouse’s home. The insecticide is safe for humans, mice and other mammals but will kill the ticks on contact. Tick tubes are a revolutionary breakthrough that can decrease the chancing of being bitten within your treated property by a tick carrying Lyme disease by up to 90%. Mosquito Squad of the North Shore use of tick tubes offers a win/win situation for us and the mice.
To learn more about our tick tube program contact Mosquito Squad of the North Shore.