It is the time of year when North Shore residents are eager to escape outdoors after a long, cold winter. The entire state of Massachusetts seems to be awash with color with the blooms and buds of springtime. Our steadily warming temperatures are not all about the sugar coated aspects of the season, the dreaded deer tick will also soon be emerging to spread disease and illness to North Shore residents and our pets.
Deer ticks, which are known vectors of Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis and Babesiosis use creatures within their habitat to help facilitate the spread of disease. Once the deer tick hatches it will hitch a ride on a rodents back to their den where it will feed from the rodent and her offspring during the larval stage, and also contract any parasite or bacteria the rodent is carrying. Once the tick has fed from the rodent, the larval tick then falls from the rodent and matures into a nymphal tick. The tick will then find a secondary host to feed from such as a dog, a cat, a human or another mammal that leads the tick closer to our homes.
Nymph ticks are the most dangerous and likely to transmit disease onto us. The nymph tick usually appears in April and is still very tiny. Nymph ticks in many cases have fed on the mice from the previous summer while still in the larval stages and are hungry once weather conditions are conducive for them to attack. Unfortunately, the tiny tick appears at the same time many homeowners are outside in the garden or enjoying the outdoors in shorts. These ticks are hard to see because they are so small. Our tick tube program will eliminate the nymphal tick that is prevalent during the early spring so you won’t become a secondary host.
Tick tubes work by disrupting the life cycle of the deer tick which is responsible for the spread of Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis and Babesiosis. These innovative tubes contain cotton which is treated with an insecticide that is designed to eradicate the ticks. The tick tubes are laid out at strategically chosen multiple locations within your landscape, near woods, tall grasses, and areas mice frequent. Then the mice remove the cotton inside the tubes to use as a nesting material. The treated cotton will eliminate any ticks lurking on the mouse or residing in the mouse’s den. The insecticide is safe for humans, mice and other mammals but will eradicate the ticks on contact. Tick tubes are a revolutionary breakthrough that can decrease the chance of being bitten within your treated property by a tick carrying Lyme disease by up to 90%. The tick tubes make the mice happy because they get a little extra feathering for their nests, and we reap the benefits of reducing the number of potential infectious ticks our family is exposed to on our property.
Mosquito Squad of the North Shore began laying tick tubes just this past week in Andover, Boxford, Ipswich, Lynnfield and other areas as part of our tick intensive treatment program. Many of these customers were return customers from last season and we had implemented the use of tick tubes on their property last year. Upon visiting these properties, we discovered the empty tick tubes we had placed on their property during the prior year’s tick control service. Each and every one of the tick tubes we recovered revealed the cotton had been used by the rodents, which is proof positive our tick tube program is working up to its full potential.
Tick tubes are an environmentally friendly precisely targeted solution to eliminate deer ticks when placed at the appropriate times. Mosquito Squad of the North Shore recommends two tick tube applications to gain the most benefit. We schedule the first application of tick tubes during the spring usually April – May, and the second in August-September.