Archive for category Life cycle of the tick

Protecting your Dog from the Dangers of Ticks

When you think of ticks, what do you think? Gross? Definitely. Hard to see and detect? You bet. Lyme disease? Absolutely? Paralysis? Probably not. These little buggers can be very dangerous to our beloved pets, and it isn’t just Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis, they can cause paralysis too.

IMG_4126My mother and I are dog lovers. That’s my man, Wiley, to the right. I’m a sucker for his ears, but I digress. Recently my mom was telling me about a friend who has a dog. Their dog Buster had always been healthy and active, but in a matter of just 5 weeks had lost nearly 30 pounds and wouldn’t go on walks. After several tests and visits to the vet, they found the culprit. Ticks. The poor pup had 3 or 4 ticks under his armpit, a very difficult spot to see and check. They were causing the issues.

Ticks, when they aren’t noticed and removed quickly can cause paralysis in dogs, and sometimes even humans. Some ticks carry a toxin that is released into their host while feeding. That toxin affects movement control.

It’s important that dog owners thoroughly check their dogs for ticks after spending time in areas where ticks are known to live. The toxin may be released after 3 days of attachment. Luckily, when the tick is removed, the symptoms of paralysis will subside. Buster recovered quickly and is back to his normal self.

Ticks checks are an important piece of protecting your pet from tick-borne disease. To check your dog, pet it slowly while applying more pressure than normal. Many times, you will feel a bump that you can then look closely at. Make sure to check their elbows, inside of their legs and in between toes. Those are often ticks favorite hiding spot on a dog.

At Mosquito Squad, we protect pets with our effective tick control. Our tick services include a combination of our barrier spray treatment and tick tubes. The spray eliminates ticks on contact while the tubes get them earlier in their lifecycle.

If you’d like to discuss reducing the number of ticks on your property, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Can Ticks Transmit Disease in Just 10 Minutes?

Ticks, like mosquitoes, are vectors of disease. When feeding, they transmit saliva and bacteria into their host’s skin and bloodstream. While Lyme disease may have received the most news in recent years, Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be extremely dangerous and is the most lethal rickettsial disease.

wood-ticks-spotted-fever

The wood tick is known to transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in the United States.

When it comes to transmitting Rocky Mountain, a new study out of Brazil is reporting that ticks don’t need as much time as we thought. Current literature states that the disease can be transmitted in 2 to 10 hours, but there are cases when the transmission could take place in just 10 minutes!

Marcelo Labruna of the University of Sao Paulo led the study where ticks were observed feeding on different animals. They found that if ticks had recently fed and then went to feed on another animal, they were able to transmit disease quicker than when they were first feeding.

The study also found that dogs play a primary roll in the spread of Rocky Mountain spotted fever in Brazil (know there as Brazilian fever). The majority of cases in the area are diagnosed in children and women who have little contact with tick habitats. It’s most likely that dogs are carrying ticks into the home or yard where they are then attaching to family members, meaning that they have previously fed.

A different type of tick, the wood tick, transmits Rocky Mountain in the US than in Brazil. That could result in different findings when it comes to transmission of the disease. Patrick Leisch, entomologist at the University of Wisconsin, explains that the best way to protect yourself from all tick-borne diseases is to avoid tick habitats, protect yourself properly, and educate yourself on the pest.

At Mosquito Squad, we protect our clients from the nuisance and dangers of ticks with our tick control services. We use a combination of our barrier spray and tick tubes to greatly reduce the tick population on a property. The barrier spray, applied by trained technicians every 2-3 weeks, eliminates adult ticks on contact. Tick tubes are placed on the property twice a year normally and use mice as a vehicle for the tick control product.

If you have questions on how to protect yourself from ticks and the diseases they transmit, please refer to the Centers for Disease control website or call your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Kevin Bacon Releases PSA with the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance

Have you every played Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? Not sure how to play? Pick an actor or actress and try to connect them to Kevin Bacon in six steps or less. It’s a way to pass time, but I can tell you one thing that just got closer to the Following actor: Lyme disease.

Despite starring in a scary crime show, one of the things that scares Kevin Bacon the most is Lyme disease. He and his wife, Kyra Sedgwick, have a home in Connecticut where Lyme disease is prominent. When the kids were little they made it a nightly chore to check the kids each night for ticks after they had spent time outdoors.

This week, Bacon teamed up with the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance for this Public Service Announcement:

The Tick-Borne Disease Alliance (TBDA) works to raise awareness for tick-borne disease. They work with other groups around the nation to support initiatives looking to find cures for diseases like Lyme, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis and more.

One of the most difficult parts of tick-borne diseases is getting a proper diagnosis. The TBDA is working on improving both the diagnostics and treatment for these dangerous diseases.

At Mosquito Squad, we offer professional tick treatments for your yard through our barrier spray and tick tubes. Our traditional barrier spray treatment eliminates ticks on contact.

Tick tubes are a great product to use in your battle against ticks and tick-borne disease. They are placed in areas of your property where mice are known to travel like along fences and under decks. The tubes are filled with treated cotton that the mice take back to their nests. The tick control solution then gets on the mice’ skin and since the majority of ticks get their first blood meal from mice, it eliminates them.

If you have questions on how to protect yourself from ticks, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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VanLaanen to Compete in Sochi after Battling Lyme disease

Back in December, we talked about Sochi hopeful Angeli VanLaanen and her battle with Lyme disease. Well, she no longer is just a hopeful; she is now on the 2014 Winter Olympic team! Congratulations Angeli!

VanLaanen suffered with some of Lyme disease’s most debilitating symptoms, including fainting, dyslexia and fatigue, for 14 years before being properly diagnosed with the illness. The fact that she is from the Pacific Northwest where Lyme isn’t as prominent could have impacted her misdiagnosis.

Tick BiteOnce diagnosed, VanLaanen stopped competing for 3 years to focus on her health. During that time she and director John Roderick filmed her treatment of Lyme disease. The resulting documentary, LymeLight, is Angeli’s way of spreading awareness of what Lyme can do and how it is possible to fight back. The half hour video, can be viewed here.  As Roderick explains: “our goal with LymeLight is to educate people about Lyme disease, where it comes from, what the symptoms are and the challenges people face reclaiming their health.”

After taking 3 years off form skiing, VanLaanen dedicated herself to making the Sochi Olympics. She earned the last automatic position by winning the last of five qualifying competitions. 2014 is the first year that halfpipe skiing will be included  in the winter games. VanLaanen will be skiing the halfpipe on February 20th.

Lyme disease numbers have been growing over the last decade. Many patients, like Angeli, don’t remember ever being bitten by a tick bite so Lyme isn’t the first illness considered by their doctors. Black-legged ticks that transmit the disease can be as small as a poppy seed aren’t easily seen and They tend to attach to their host in hard to see areas so they can feed without being noticed.

At Mosquito Squad, we urge people to proactively check for ticks after any outdoor excursion. And when it comes to protecting your yard from ticks, considering professional tick control.

tick-tubes

This image shows tick tubes placed in the tick’s environment for optimum results.

Mosquito Squad uses a combination of our traditional barrier spray and tick tubes as a way to control ticks. The barrier spray eliminates ticks on contact while the tick tubes use field mice to eliminate ticks. Most ticks get their first blood meal from mice. Tick tubes are small tubes filled with treated cotton. We place them in areas of the property where mice would be likely to go. When they find the cotton, they take it back to their holes as nesting material. That cotton is treated with tick control product and will eliminate the ticks before they can bite you.

Please contact your local Mosquito Squad if you have any questions on protecting your property from ticks.

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Enjoying the Fall? Don’t Forget About Ticks

Fall is my favorite season. The beautiful color changes of the leaves and the comfortable temperatures call me to the outdoors. From hiking and apple picking to hunting and outdoor festivals, there is always something to do outdoors in the autumn months. As you enjoy the fall, we at Mosquito Squad urge you to be aware that those dangerous pests are still out and active.

Small tick on finger

The tick is a vector of many illnesses and disease, so small yet so dangerous.

A common misconception is that ticks aren’t active in the fall. And while ticks do become less active as the weather turns cooler, they are known to bite and transmit disease through late October (later in some areas of the country).

Ticks are found all over the United States, with the black-legged species (or deer tick) transmitting the majority of tick-borne illnesses, mainly Lyme disease. If you are spending time outdoors this fall, and we hope you are, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Wear long sleeved, loose shirts and pants in a light color. Hunters may need to wear camouflage, but the majority of us can decrease our chances of getting bit by a tick just by wearing lighting colored clothing and being aware. Ticks are both small and dark. You may not notice the small fleck that is a tick nymph on a black jacket, for instance, but you may see it on a light blue shirt.

Wipe off your clothing before going inside. This may sound odd, but it is important if you’ve spent time outdoors in an area where ticks may be active. Ticks are incredibly resilient and can live in a dormant state for close to a year’s time. What does that mean exactly? If you are wearing a jacket, put it through the wash and then into a drawer for next season, a tick could still be alive on that jacket and ready to bite next year.

Hot water is your friend when it comes to ticks. Due to their resiliency, ticks can be difficult to kill. When laundering clothes that you’ve worn outside, wash and dry on the hottest settings. Ticks can survive through the laundry, but are less likely to with hot water and air.

Apply a repellent to your exposed skin and clothing. At Mosquito Squad, we provide our clients with effective tick control on their properties, but that can’t protect them when they leave their yards.  Applying a repellent will keep the ticks away.

And, as always, do a full body tick check after coming inside. Ticks are small little buggers and can make their way up a pant leg or sleeve pretty easily without being noticed. It’s good practice to do a thorough tick check any time you have spent time outdoors. If you do have a tick on you, remove it promptly and place it in a plastic bag in case it needs to be tested for Lyme later on.

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Lyme disease bigger issue than reported

I love to hike. If it is nice outside, you can find me on the trails enjoying the day. That being said, I am VERY aware of my surroundings and the critters I’m sharing nature with, including ticks. Ticks, like mosquitoes, transmit diseases through their bite. The most common tick-borne illness is Lyme disease and it look as though it is a bigger issue than we thought.

In recent years, we’ve seen the number of confirmed cases rise in the US. With only 20,000 to 30,000 cases reported each year to the Centers of Disease Control, the CDC decided to do a more comprehensive study to get a better estimate of how many annual cases are actually diagnosed. Their findings show that there are closer to 300,000 people that are diagnosed with Lyme each year!

The majority of doctors don’t report confirmed cases to the CDC, resulting in numbers that were 10 times smaller than the most realistic numbers. To gauge how far off the reported cases were, national laboratories and patients were surveyed. Insurance information was also reviewed.

While 96 % of reported cases occur in just 13 states, the studied revealed that the disease affects a larger geographic reason than assumed.

Dr. Paul Mead of the CDC explains: “We know that routine surveillance only gives us part of the pictures, and that the true number of illnesses is much greater. This new preliminary estimate confirms that Lyme disease is a tremendous public health problem in the United States, and clearly highlights the urgent need for prevention.” Source.

Mosquito Squad kills ticks deadLyme disease is difficult to diagnose because the vast majority of its symptoms are similar to the flu, including fatigue, fever and headaches. Many people believe that the bull’s-eye rash that Lyme is known for displays in all cases, but that is just not true. Patients can have Lyme disease and never have a rash around the tick bite.

At Mosquito Squad, we help our clients fight Lyme by ridding their yards of ticks, but there are things that homeowners can do on their own property to minimize the risk of getting a tick bite. We call them the 6Cs.

Clear out lawn and tree debris. Ticks love shady, moist areas that debris can create.

Clean out your lawn of any litter or brush. Keep your grass mowed.

Choose plants that don’t attract deer. Deer often are the transportation system for ticks to enter onto your property.

Check hiding places. Ticks like to hide along fences, brick and retaining walls. Know where the hiding places are on your property and check them regularly.

Care for your pets. Our pets often venture into parts of the yard that we don’t and often those spaces are the perfect places for ticks. As tick-borne diseases, like Lyme, can affect animals as well, make sure you talk to your vet about mosquito and tick control for your dog

And lastly, call the professionals. At Mosquito Squad, we utilize our barrier spray treatment and tick tubes to rid properties of ticks.

If you have questions regarding tick control for your yard, please reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Do All Ticks Carry Lyme disease?

As Lyme disease Awareness Month winds down, the tick population is out and active. Just this past weekend I was working in the yard with my husband when he noticed a tick on his shirt. Lucky for us, we were able to see it easily on his white long-sleeved shirt (yes, I made him wear long sleeves). Had he had dark colors or a T-shirt on we may not have seen it until it had already attached. Of course, this tick encounter came up at a barbecue later that night and I was surprised to hear how little people know about both ticks and Lyme disease. Since it’s almost June and will no longer be Lyme disease Awareness month, let’s address some commonly asked questions…

Do all ticks carry Lyme disease? No, there are many species of ticks, but only the blacklegged, or deer, ticks carry Lyme disease and only 1 in 4 or 5 deer ticks carry Lyme.

Tick Bite

Engorged tick

How can I distinguish a deer tick from another type of tick? Deer ticks have black legs (hence the name blacklegged tick). When a deer tick hasn’t had a blood meal, its back is most commonly black and brown, however, when it is engorged, the body turns a grayish blue color.

Are there signs that there are ticks in my area? The most obvious way to tell if there are deer ticks in your area are to see if you have an active deer population. Deer are the most common transportation method for deer ticks. Anywhere you have deer, you will find ticks.

What are the best ways to avoid tick bites and Lyme disease? Anyone who spends time outdoors has the opportunity to be bitten by a tick, but there are things you can do to minimize your risk. Wearing lose, light colored clothing will make ticks easier to spot. Make sure to do a thorough tick check after spending time outdoors, paying particular attention to the dark, hard to reach areas that ticks like to hide and attach. This includes your armpits, behind the knee and the groin. According to most sources, a tick has to be attached for at least 24 hours to transmit Lyme disease.

Does a bull’s-eye rash develop in all cases of Lyme? No, not all people with Lyme disease have the bull’s-eye rash, but the majority do. Between 80-90% of people with Lyme do have some form of the rash, but sometimes they can’t see it depending on where the tick bite happened. The rash will center around the tick bite. Other symptoms of Lyme are joint pain, fatigue, headaches and fever.

Is Lyme disease easily treated? When Lyme is diagnosed early it is easily treated with antibiotics. About 10-20% of cases develop chronic Lyme disease which is more difficult to treat. The earlier it can be diagnosed, the less likely you are to have long term effects of Lyme.

How do I remove an attached tick? Despite the many myths involving burning and suffocating ticks, the best way to remove a tick is with tweezers. Grab the tick with the tweezers as close to your body as possible and pull out straight, making sure that the entire head is removed. Ticks have beak-like mouths so it may be difficult to pull it off. After removing the tick, place it in a plastic bag in case it needs to be tested by the doctor and wash the tick bite out with soap and water.

Are there things I can do in my yard to avoid ticks and minimize my chance of getting Lyme? Yes, at Mosquito Squad we recommend the 6 Cs of tick control.

  1. Mosquito Squad kills ticks dead

    Mosquito Squad kills ticks dead before they can bite and transmit Lyme disease

    Clear out. Reduce your tick exposure by clearing out areas where lawn and tree debris gathers. Ticks thrive in moist, shady areas and tend to die in sunny, dry areas. Locate compost piles away from play areas or high traffic. Separate them with wood chips or gravel. Don’t position playground equipment, decks and patios near treed areas.

  2. Clean. Eliminate leaf litter and brush by cleaning it up around the house and lawn edges, mow tall grasses and keep your lawn short.
  3. Choose plants. Select plants and shrubs that are not attractive to deer and/or install physical barriers to keep deer out of your yard. Check with your local nursery to determine the best choices for your area.
  4. Check hiding places. Know tick hiding places and check them frequently. Fences, brick walls and patio retaining walls are popular hiding places.
  5. Care for family pets. Family pets can suffer from tick-borne disease and also carry infected ticks into the home. Talk to your veterinarian about using tick collars and sprays. As with all pest control products, be sure to follow directions carefully.
  6. Call the pros. Professionals utilize both barrier sprays that can kill live ticks on the spot as well as “tick tubes.” Strategically placed, “tick tubes” prompt field mice to incorporate tick-killing material in their bedding, effectively eliminating hundreds of tick nymphs found in each mouse nest.

When it comes to treatment, do not hesitate to reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office. Not only do our tick treatments for the yard include tick tubes, but also our barrier spray. Our barrier spray will adult ticks on contact before they bite you and your family.

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