Archive for category Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

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.


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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New Drug for Chronic Lyme – FDA to decide to move forward with testing

Small tick on finger

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

With such a mild winter and warm spring, mosquitoes and ticks are already out and about, and biting. There has been an influx of news regarding ticks this year and the diseases they may carry, including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease. According to the Wall Street Journal “between 1992 and 2010, reported cases of Lyme doubled, to nearly 23,000 and there were another 7,600 probable cases in 210, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But CDC officials say the true incidence of Lyme may be three times higher.”

The high rate of tick activity so far in 2012 has experts predicting an increase in Lyme disease. Lyme disease, transmitted through a tick bite, can cause nausea, fatigue, joint pain and headaches. If caught early, it can be treated with antibiotics, but if it goes untreated it can cause more serious ailments including shooting pains, dizziness, chronic fatigue and heart palpitations.

As we have mentioned in previous posts, doctors are still debating whether chronic Lyme disease exists and if it does, the best ways to treat it. As the conversation continues as to its validity, some researchers are moving forward and looking for a cure for chronic Lyme.

Over the last two and half years, Dr. Newell-Rogers, a professor at Texas A&M, and Viral Genetics have been testing a new drug that could be prescribed for chronic Lyme disease. Their findings and a proposal for a clinical trial were recently submitted to the FDA for consideration. Time for Lyme, an organization that focuses on the research of tick-borne illnesses, has financed the pre-clinical research. “At present, there is no recognized treatment for Lyme once it has developed into its chronic, long-term state,” says Peter Wild, executive director of Time for Lyme. “We are hopeful that Dr. Newell-Roger’s work will provide the solution that long-term Lyme disease sufferers have been hoping for, for decades.” Read more about the study here.

As the FDA decides on whether or not to move forward with Dr. Newell-Roger’s trial, it is important that we all protect ourselves from ticks in a year that they are expected to be VERY prevalent. Here are some tips:

  • Reduce tick exposure through landscaping. Ticks live in moist, shady areas, so separate your outdoor living spaces from their habitats using gravel or wood-chip borders. Mow tall grasses and don’t position playgrounds along the wooded areas.
  • Treat your pets. Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses can harm your pets as well. Ask your veterinarian about tick medications.
  • Dress appropriately. Wearing loose-fitting, long sleeved and long legged clothing will reduce your chance for tick bites.
  • Check your body for ticks. It’s important to check yourself thoroughly for ticks after being outside. Pay special attention to feet, ankles, behind the knees and armpits.
  • Remove ticks promptly. If you see a tick on you, make sure to remove it promptly and place it in a plastic bag in case it needs to be tested for Lyme.

If you have a problem with ticks in your yard, you may need professional treatment. Mosquito Squad’s tick control service helps fight Lyme by killing ticks before they can bite you. To learn more, please visit our website or contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Is our U.S. blood supply safe from insect-borne illness?

Dread Skeeter of Mosquito Squad helps prevent tick bites by killing ticks in your yard

Dread Skeeter of Mosquito Squad helps prevent tick bites by killing ticks in your yard

Is our United states blood supply safe from insect borne illness? Until just recently the answer, we all thought, would have been yes, but with the recent discovery of the tick-borne parasite Babesia being discovered  in our nation’s blood supply sending  a red flag as to just how vulnerable our blood supply is from insect-borne illnesses such as this. Babesia is the parasite which causes the disease Babesiosis which is similar to Malaria. Babesiosis has even been referred to as “America’s Malaria”. The disease itself can lead to anemia, organ failure and even death.

Symptoms of Babesiosis can be asymptomatic, and can display similarities with symptoms of the flu, colds or other common viral illnesses. Early on, many people do not even know they have the disease and therefore go about their normal everyday lives and usual routines, many of which may involve donating life saving blood to many organizations around the U.S. to help others.  Since there is no test to detect Babesia in a blood sample at the present time, donors are asked if they have ever had Babesiosis, and many infected aren’t even aware they have it, let alone even know what the disease is due to the lack of media and knowledge about the disease. Most people are aware of illnesses such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, but when asked about Babesiosis, many people aren’t even aware it exists. This is certainly cause for concern and we need to make the public more aware of lesser known tick-borne diseases such as Babesiosis.

Is our blood supply safe from tick-borne parasites and disease?

Is our blood supply safe from tick-borne parasites and disease?

The Babesia parasite takes up residence within the red blood cells of its victims, and right now there is not a way to test the donated blood for the presence of the parasite. To date there have been 159 documented cases of Babesiosis which were caused by receiving blood transfusions which contained blood tainted with the parasite. In those 159 cases, 136 of them were tracked down. 30 of these cases were caused by 12 donors, because donated blood is split into red blood cells as well as platelets. The cases occurred in 19 states, but 87% of them were within the 7 states where Babesiosis  is considered to be endemic which are Massachusetts, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Connecticut, and New York. These numbers however, reflect documented cases, with Babesiosis many cases go misdiagnosed or unreported because of the similarities with the symptoms of  common illnesses such as the flu. Officials are taking heed and public health authorities are stressing the growing risks of Babesiosis.

Small tick on finger

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

So what can we do about this dilemma? Advocates ask for better testing to come forth to detect the presence of tick-borne parasites within the blood. As it stands now, if a physician diagnoses a patient with Babesiosis then he/she must report the information onto that states health department, which in turn is supposed to pass the information onto the CDC ( Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Of course, since the disease and parasite which causes the disease is caused by the tick, preventing being bitten or exposed to an infected tick is top priority as well. Common sense practices within your living areas and property and avoiding possible tick infested areas is an excellent way to avoid becoming a victim.


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

Common sense practices include increasing your knowledge of the tick-borne illnesses and their symptoms. Keep your property free of debris, heavy brush and tall grasses and keeping your property trimmed and mowed. Have a licensed professional treat your property. Conduct frequent examinations of your body and clothing after each visit outside. Shower immediately after exposure to outside areas where ticks can reside. Instilling the use of tick tubes, or other tick abatement practices if you reside within areas with heavy tick populations can also cut your risk of exposure significantly.

Mosquito Squad stops ticks dead in their tracks

Mosquito Squad stops ticks dead in their tracks

Mosquito Squad offers a wide range of tick control services including the use of tick tubes and barrier sprays for your property. Contact Mosquito Squad to learn more about killing and preventing ticks in and around your property, and reduce your risk of infection from tick-borne illnesses and disease.

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The Lone Star tick moves into the spotlight


Dread Skeeter of Mosquito Squad-kills mosquitoes and ticks dead!

In the pursuit of tick control and  helping homeowners avoid tick-borne illness and disease Mosquito Squad takes heed to another tick moving  into the spotlight. The Lone Star tick  (Amblyomma americanum), also known as the seed tick can be found as far north as Maine all the way down into Texas. The tick is found in wooded areas such as forests and other areas with dense vegetation. The population of the Lone Star tick is quickly rising along with the areas it is being found in. The CDC ( Centers for Disease Control and prevention) has reported an increase in the distribution, range and abundance of this tick over the past 20-30 years.

The Lone Star tick gets its name from the predominant white spot located on the back of the female, also known as a “lone star”. Even though the females are easily recognizable from this distinguishable characteristic, identification can prove difficult because the Lone Star tick feeds off humans and other animals such as pets during all three life cycles, larva, nymph and adult. During the nymph stage the Lone Star tick is comparable in size to a mite. The tiny size of the tick during this stage can result in victims not being aware they have been bitten at all until problems begin to arise.

Small tick on finger

Small ticks such as the Lone Star tick during nymph stage are hard to see and identify

Lone Star ticks are known carriers of diseases such as Ehrlichiosis, Tularemia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. A newer disease associated with the Lone Star has come into the forefront called STARI,( Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness), which mimics symptoms usually seen with the onset of early  Lyme Disease. These include a rash, or expanding red “bulls eye” lesion that develops around the site of the bite itself. This is accompanied by fatigue, headaches, fever, and joint and muscle pain. Even though STARI has not been linked to any arthritic, neurological or other chronic symptoms it is still an uncomfortable and scary undertaking to experience. STARI is easily treatable with oral antibiotics, and symptoms resolve promptly following treatment.


Mosquito Squad can treat your property to kill and prevent ticks, even in dense and wooded areas

Avoidance of  wooded and densely brushy areas is key to prevention of tick-borne illness. Checking yourself and your pets after each encounter with  any wooded areas is a must. Keeping your property trimmed and free of brush piles or clippings is a good preventative measure as well as having your property treated for ticks by a licensed professional. A licensed professional can go over what tick control program is best to suited to the circumstances and individual traits of your property. Barrier sprays such as the ones used here at Mosquito Squad are an effective weapon in tick control as well our use of the Damminix tick tubes.

camoticktubes by Damminix

Damminix tick tubes

Damminix tick tubes are an innovative and effective solution to tick control. These tick tubes are filled with Permethrin treated cotton balls which are used by small animals such as mice as nesting materials.  Since the deer tick and other ticks feed off the mice in large numbers, the ticks are exposed to the Permethrin and are killed at the source. The Damminix tick tubes cause no harm to mice or other mammals during this process and have proved highly beneficial to tick control in areas all over the country.

Mosquito Squad stops ticks dead in their tracks

Mosquito Squad stops ticks dead in their tracks

Mosquito Squad uses Damminix tick tubes as well as a barrier spray which kills adult ticks on contact. Contact Mosquito Squad to find out more about tick control and ways to prevent ticks and tick-borne illness in your neck of the woods. Call us at 877-667-7823 or email us at   to find out more.

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Are you letting the bedbugs bite?

Dread Skeeter fights the Mosquito and Tick bites

Dread Skeeter fights the Mosquito and Tick bites

“Night, night sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite”. The sweet, innocent bedtime saying many of us say to our children when it is bedtime. The elusive bedbug however is not so innocent. During the 1990’s the bedbug made a comeback.  The resurgence of the bedbug can be attributed to several reasons. Shifts in pest management play a role as well as resistance to certain pesticides. During the last ten to twenty years international travel has become commonplace allowing the bedbugs to hitch a ride so to speak on our clothing and luggage. We, as a society have also let our guard down to these resilient little bugs by thinking that bedbugs are a thing of the past.

Common bedbugs , their proper name being  cimex lectularius, were thought to have originated in the Middle east in caves inhabited by bats and humans. Bedbugs were mentioned as far back as 400 BC in ancient Greece. Bedbugs were a serious problem during World War II, General MacArthur actually commented that bedbugs were the “greatest nuisance insect problem….at bases in the U.S.”

With the introduction of more effective pesticides during the 1940’s the bedbugs nearly disappeared completely in Western countries. Bedbugs are parasites that are usually no more than 1/5 of an inch in length. Bedbugs feed on blood of humans and other animals. Bedbugs are nocturnal and most often feed when people are asleep. An adult female bedbug can lay up to 500 eggs during her lifetime. When a bedbug feeds it injects a salivary secretion to the bite to discourage coagulation, the secretion can cause itching and swelling. Although bedbug bites are not known to carry any human blood-borne pathogens, the bites can be painful, and can cause distress. Scratching the bites can lead to secondary infections and some people have been shown to have allergic reactions to the bites. Bedbugs reside and lay their eggs in your furniture, the box springs and folds of your mattress, they can hide in the cracks of your hardwood floors, in your carpet, behind pictures, in your luggage and even behind baseboards and other places in your home.

Dread Skeeter from Mosquito Squad

Dread Skeeter from Mosquito Squad fights mosquito and tick bites

There are many ways to pick up bedbugs. One way is travel. Hotels, motels and resorts have a constant turnover of guests. You can bring them home unknowingly on and in your luggage and clothing. It is a common misconception that bedbugs thrive in filth, this is not true. Bedbugs can infest any type of dwelling. They can show up in luxury resorts as well as the cheaper “chain” hotels and motels. Bedbugs can also come into your home by way of infested furniture. Make sure any “second hand” furniture purchases from garage sales, consignment shops, antique shops and thrift store purchases are cleaned thoroughly before entering the home. Pets can bring the parasites into your home. People visiting from a source of infestation can also bring them into your home. People who live in nearby dwellings such as apartments and town homes can have the bedbugs come into their home by way of duct work if there are easy routes. Bedbugs are common with wild animals too, especially bats, rodents and birds. Bedbugs will often nest near animals that have also nested in a dwelling. A well fed bedbug can live anywhere from four to six months. A dormant bedbug can live without feeding for as much as 18 months. With the long span and capability of a dormant bedbug to lie dormant for that amount of time and emerge and begin to feed it is a good idea to make sure any items that you bring into your home and are unsure of their history should be inspected and thoroughly cleaned. An infestation of bed bugs can get out of control quickly with the number of eggs a female is capable of laying in her lifetime.

Now that you’re fully “grossed out” and probably itching just reading this article, you can fight the bedbug war. Detection of bedbugs is not as difficult as you may think. Even though these parasites are tiny, they still can be seen with the naked eye. They are experts at hiding however and are nocturnal and usually only come out at night. You can look for signs that you have an infestation by examining your mattress and bedding for any blood spots or brownish or reddish spots. These are called fecal spots. You can also sometimes identify an infestation by checking for evidence of their skins that have sloughed off during moulting. In severe cases sometimes a pungent odor is prevalent. This is a result of the oily liquid they emit. The most obvious of all the signs that you may have a bedbug infestation is the bite itself. The bites can be red and blotchy or welt like. Early detection is always a plus in helping control an infestation.

Knowledge is always power with the treatment of bedbugs. The best course of action once you have determined you have an infestation is to contact a professional. Remember that the bed is usually ground zero (hence the name), but it is not the only place they reside. It is a good idea to eliminate clutter around your home. Anything you deem is infected and decide to discard should be sealed and labeled so no one else will become infected. Mattresses and box springs that are being disposed of should also be labeled and sealed in the same manner for safe disposal.  Treatment will depend on how serious the infestation is and the range of action taken by the  professional could range from industrial vacuuming to heat treatments , encasement of  mattresses in plastic cover and /or the application of pesticides . Follow up visits may be necessary by your professional to ensure the problem is taken care of.

Like mosquito and tick bites, it’s good to be vigilant and take some time to inspect your bites. While bed bug bites are annoying and cause frustration and concern, at least they aren’t known to carry disease like mosquito and tick bites.

Remember, mosquito and tick bites can be prevented before they happen and in that case, prevention is the best cure. Have your yard sprayed on a regular basis during the spring, summer and early fall season. You can also take extra precautions against ticks by having an expert lay a product called tick tubes which animals will take back to their breeding and sleeping grounds. Click here to read more about tick tubes.


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Dogs and cats can get lyme disease too – know the signs

At first glance, this picture sets a gorgeous scene of a beautiful white stallion grazing in a large pasture while deer assemble peacefully at the other end of the pasture. At second glance, it looks like the deer are staking out the horse.

3 deer and white horse

At second glance, it looks like these deer are stalking this horse and the horse is looking for escape.

I almost feel guilty that I’ve become so jaded about deer. I took this other picture of an adorable baby deer and unconsciously labeled it Bambi has ticks.

Bambi has ticks

Even baby deer can be breeding grounds for disease carrying ticks

Unfortunately for deer, they are not only the feeding ground for ticks that could carry Lyme Disease but they also now have the bad rap of the animals that spread these disease carrying blood suckers into our yards to seek their next blood meal from the furry and non-furry warm-blooded family members that hang out in and around our house.

So do the deer give the Lyme disease to the ticks or do the ticks give the Lyme disease to the deer? It’s the ticks that carry the Lyme disease and they get it by feeding on mice at earlier stages of their lifespan. The ticks then feed on deer for their blood meal and while they’re there they mate and lay hundreds or thousands of eggs that the deer are an unwitting vehicle for.

Back to our pets. Yes, our pets can and do get Lyme Disease. In addition to Lyme Disease, your dog can also get Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Babesiosis. And, unfortunately, according to our dogs are 50 to 100 times more likely than humans to come in contact with disease-carrying ticks because of  their furry coats, proximity to the ground and love of exploration.

What are the symptoms to watch for? Also according to, here are the symptoms to look for.

To watch out for Canine Lyme Disease, watch for…

  • Recurrent arthritis/lameness that lasts 3–4 days, sometimes accompanied by loss of appetite and depression
  • Reluctance to move or a stiff, painful gait
  • Swollen joints that are warm to the touch
  • Pain in the legs or throughout the body
  • Fever, fatigue and swollen lymph nodes

To watch out for Canine Ehrlichiosis

  • Fever
  • Runny eyes and nose
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Weight loss
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Eye disease
  • Retinal bleeding
  • Spontaneous nose bleeds
  • Bruising (petechiae) on gums and belly
  • Swelling of limbs

If your dog is displaying these symptoms, how long should you wait before consulting a veterinarian? As an experienced dog owner, you probably know that some of these symptoms will come and go over time. But early treatment is the best way to prevent long-term ongoing residual sickness from these diseases. As always, use your best judgment as an owner.

Here is a great article about lyme disease, tick feeding and life cycles and other in-depth information.

The best way to protect you, your family, and your pets is to protect your yard from ticks. Mosquito Squad has both a barrier spray program that kills ticks in your yard as well as a tick tube program that attacks the source of the problem.

Read this article about Tick Tubes and how they work.

For more information, contact a Mosquito Squad location near you.

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