If a Barrier Treatment Eliminates Ticks, Why Use Tick Tubes?

Posted by Mosquito Squad

August 4, 2014

If you’re considering a way to eliminate ticks from your yard, you’ve probably read about barrier sprays or yard sprays. More and more county health departments list barrier sprays as an effective means to reduce your exposure to tick-borne diseases. If you’re like most of us, you spend more of your time outdoors in your backyard than anywhere else. If you have pets, the same is true for them as well. It only makes sense to protect the area your family spends the most time. Tick tubes are another key in reducing the tick population in your yard.

As scientists have studied Lyme Disease since 1975, the lifecycle of ticks has been studied more carefully also. These studies have helped scientists understand how ticks become infected with Lyme Disease, as well as with other tick-borne infections. Ticks are not born with Lyme Disease. In fact, it’s not until they reach their third stage of development that ticks become infected with the disease.

A tick begins its life as an egg and often spends its first few months in the den of a white-footed mouse. White-footed mice are an integral part of the spread of Lyme Disease. White-footed mice are beneficial to the life cycle because they eat mostly seeds and berries and are responsible for spreading the seeds of many beneficial plants in the semi-open wooded areas they call home. They also eat gypsy moth caterpillars. These caterpillars eat the foliage of oak, birch, basswood, apple and aspen trees, so the mice aren’t total “bad guys” in our ecological surroundings.

Ticks will go through their egg and larvae stage while in the mouse’s den but as a nymph they need a blood meal to become an adult. It is during their lifecycle progression of egg>larva>nymph that ticks become infected with Lyme Disease, and other tick-borne infections like Anaplasmosis and Babesiosis. Many white-footed mice are infected with Lyme Disease. Along with other small animals, these mice serve as the nymph tick’s first blood meal whereby the tick becomes infected with the Lyme bacteria.

Because of their beneficial purpose in nature, scientists don’t want to target white-footed mice in the control or eradication of tick-borne infections. They do want to reduce the number of ticks and the spread of Lyme Disease. The scientist’s understanding of the role of the white-footed mouse in tick infection is how tick tubes came to be developed. Tick tubes contain a cotton nesting material that is treated with a pesticide that targets the tick. The pesticide doesn’t harm the mouse but gets on their fur as they move inside the den. When a nymph tick attempts to attach to a mouse for its blood meal, the pesticide on the mouse’s fur will eliminate the tick.

Barrier sprays target adult ticks and nymph ticks by eliminating them on contact. The mist remains on leaves and vegetation to continue to eliminate ticks for several weeks. Another thing scientists know is that nymph ticks are responsible for more reported cases of Lyme Disease each year, than adult ticks. Eliminating nymph ticks where we know they develop and grow eliminates them before they have a chance to infect us. Tick tubes can be used around both children and pets. The pesticide is only in the cotton material inside the tube. When homeowners use both our tick tubes and mist, they are eliminating the greatest number of ticks on their property throughout the tick’s lifecycle.

To learn more about our highly effective tick tube program and barrier sprays, contact Mosquito Squad of the North Shore. Call us today to sign up.