Archive for category STARI (Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness

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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Tick tubes: what are they and how do they work?

Ticks feed on mice. Infected mice = infected ticks. Infected ticks carry disease and transmit them to humans. These diseases can include Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted fever – just to name a few.

Are all mice infected with disease? No. But we won’t ever know which ones are so we need a solution to kill ticks at the larval and nymph stages of their lives where they do their blood meal feeding on animals before they do their blood meal feeding on you, your family, and your pets.

This is how large a tick tube is

This is how large a tick tube is

Mosquito Squad offers a solution called Tick Tubes. They are environmentally friendly using cardboard and cotton. Our Mosquito Squad outdoor bug, mosquito and tick control specialists are trained to place these tubes in the places most amenable to mouse nesting.

These areas include wooded areas, brush and underbrush, gardens, along rock walls, in wood piles, under decks and sheds, and along foundations and fence lines to name just a few. Every yard is different so mice will nest in different areas in your yard.

How does a tick tube work?

The environmentally friendly tube contains cotton that is treated with a tick-killing chemical. The mouse forages for nesting materials and takes the cotton back to its nest. This reduces the source of the tick population by eliminating ticks at their larval and nymphal stages – before they ever spread out through your yard to bite people and pets. The tubes are precision-targeted to kill ticks and can result in up to a 10-fold reduction of exposure to ticks in the treated area.

The tubes are safe for you and your family. They are EPA registered and made right here in the United States.

How many tick tubes do you need for your yard?

It’s best to employ an expert tick control specialist to treat your yard. Mosquito Squad has locations across the middle and Eastern United States that are trained to treat your yard for ticks and other insects but here’s the gist of it. Only part of your yard is suitable for a mouse habitat so we need to figure out what percentage that is. You may have a full-acre yard but only half of your yard is suitable as a mouse habitat because the other area is taken up by the house, driveway, other paved areas, etc. For a half-acre of treatable area, we would use about 24 tubes for each treatment and two treatments are required in order to control the ticks at both the nymphal and larval stages.

Another thing to think about as it relates to employing a specialist to treat your yard for ticks is that the precise areas where mice hang out are the same areas where snakes reside. Let the specialist dig around in those areas and keep yourself safe in more ways than one.

Click on this link to find a mosquito squad tick tube specialist location near you.

Or go to the Mosquito Squad web site to learn more about tick control.

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Tick-borne diseases in the United States

Ticks carry lots of diseases also. As urban sprawl continues, we come in closer and closer contact with deer and mice that carry ticks that could be infected with tick-borne diseases. Ticks carry a lot more than just Lyme Disease

According to the CDC, here are some of the other diseases that can be carried by ticks in the United States.

  • Anaplasmosis is transmitted from the blacklegged tick  in the northeastern and upper midwestern U.S. and the western blacklegged tick along the Pacific coast. Symptoms> headaches, fever, chills, and muscle aches
  • Babesiosis is transmitted by the blacklegged tick found primarily in the eastern United States. Symptoms> fever, chills, sweats, headache, body aches, loss of appetite, nausea, or fatigue.
  • Ehrlichiosis is transmitted by the lone star tick found primarily in the south central and eastern parts of the U.S. Symptoms> fever, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, joint pains, confusion, occasionally rash
  • Rickettsiosis is carried by the Gulf Coast tick. Symptoms> fever, headache, fatigue, muscle aches
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is transmitted by several ticks – the American dog tick Rocky Mountain wood tick, and the brown dog tick. Symptoms> fever, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, lack of appetite, severe headache
  • STARI (Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness) is transmitted via bites from the lone star tick found in the southeastern and eastern U.S.
  • Tickborne relapsing fever (TBRF) is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected soft ticks. TBRF has been reported in 15 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming and is associated with sleeping in rustic cabins and vacation homes.
  • Tularemia is transmitted to humans by the dog tick, the wood tick, and the lone star tick. It occurs throughout the U.S.
  • 364D Rickettsiosis is transmitted by the Pacific Coast tick. This is a new disease that has been found in California.

As you can see, most of the symptoms are the symptoms you might see when you have the flu. Going into cold and flu season, experts advise watching prolonged persistence of these symptoms and be aware of some good ways to avoid coming in contact with ticks.

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