Archive for category Types of ticks

Lone Star Ticks Causing Meat Allergies

Ticks have been a major player in the news this year. The media has been warning viewers and readers to protect themselves from ticks in a year that is bringing out more and more ticks. While we’ve known that ticks can cause Lyme disease and other diseases, a new study is showing that the Lone Star tick is causing meat allergies, turning those hamburger lovers into veggie burger eaters.


A Lone Star tick is defined by the white mark on its back

There are hundreds of species of ticks in the world, with three of the most common ticks in the United States being the blacklegged (deer) tick, American dog tick and the Lone Star tick. The Lone Star tick is named for its defining white spot on its back and in states from Texas to Maine. A recent study by the University Of Virginia (UVA) says that bites from the Lone Star tick is causing new meat allergies.

“’People will eat beef and then anywhere from three to six hours later start having a reaction,’ says Dr. Scott Commins, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.” (See full story from ABC News here). Many of the patients studied had such bad reactions that they stopped eating meat all together.

While Commins has worked with 400 patients, this allergy is very odd. It is uncommon for adults to develop food allergies later in life, yet 90% of the patients have a history of tick bites. Additionally, with normal food allergies, patients see effects of eating the food almost instantly. These tick bite patients aren’t developing hives or any other symptoms until four to six hours after eating. “It’s complicated, no doubt,” says Commins, “but we think it’s something in the saliva.”

When ticks bite a human they leave a small amount of saliva under the skin. Commins theory is that there is something in the saliva that reacts with meat.

The majority of meat allergy cases popping up have occurred along the east coast and Bible belt, mirroring the population of the Lone Star tick. As always, we at Mosquito Squad encourage everyone who spends time outdoors to do thorough body checks and remove the tick promptly if you find any on you. If you can, take note of what the tick looks like in case you start to show symptoms of tick borne disease.

If you live in an area with a large population of ticks, professional tick control may be necessary.

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May is Lyme disease Awareness Month

As we’ve discussed here before, Lyme disease can be a devastating disease that unfortunately is on the rise in many parts of the United States. Cause by the bite of a deer tick, Lyme can cause nausea, fatigue and joint pain. Although treated with antibiotics, if left untreated, symptoms can become more serious.

May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month which we at Mosquito Squad are happy to participate in. Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the country with over 30,000 Americans contracting the disease every year! Our vector expert and co-founder of Mosquito Squad, Boyd Huneycutt explains: “there is no doubt that ticks present a threat to the health of Americans, their families and even their pets, due to the movement and rise in the deer tick population. We urge everyone to control the factors that they can, and check themselves thoroughly when in areas that can house ticks.”

In recognition of Lyme Awareness Month, we want to reiterate Mosquito Squad 6 C for tick-proof yards:

  1. 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.

Even if you follow the 6Cs, it is important to take the necessary precautions when spending time outdoors. The CDC recommends wearing light, long-sleeved clothing when in areas where ticks may be present. Always make sure to do a thorough body check when coming inside. If you do find a tick on you that has attached, be sure to remove it properly and place in a plastic bag in case you need to take it in for testing. Be aware of any rashes that occur around the bite itself. One symptom of Lyme disease is a bulls eye rash around the bite mark. If you think you are showing any signs of Lyme, it is important to go see a doctor.

If you would like to learn more about tick control in your area, please visit us at or contact your local Squad.

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Ticks! They’re Everywhere!

I always thought that to have ticks in your yard you had to live in areas with large deer populations (as many deer ticks are carried by and bite deer, hence the name). Well, this year I have been proven wrong. You see, my husband, Drew, and I live in the city of Richmond. Although we have a yard, we are far away from the wooded areas I thought ticks lived and I had never seen a tick in our yard or on our dog. I thought we were safe…

Ticks Populations increase

Tick populations are on the rise, make sure you keep close attention when spending time outdoors

In an effort to help our grass grow and flowers bloom, Drew has been spending more time in our yard watering, trimming etc. (I could say I have been too, but that would be a lie). In our front yard, our hose is located in the shade behind some large azaleas that we have. It’s one of the few places of our yard that gets more shade than sun and holds moisture pretty well. After turning off the hose and before coming inside the other day, what do you think he found crawling up his leg? The dreaded tick! Drew was lucky he was wearing long pants and was able to see and remove the tick before it bit. Since then we’ve been extra careful to check ourselves and our dog when coming in from the outside.

Because of the mild winter that many areas of the country experienced this year, more ticks are expected this spring. And with the increase in the reported cases of Lyme disease, every family should be extra vigilant when spending time outdoors, whether in the woods or sitting on your deck. To help fight the bite, we at Mosquito Squad are happy to offer up our 6 Cs of tick control you can utilize in your yard.

  1. Clear out debris. Debris often accumulates in moist shady areas where ticks thrive (they usually die in sunny dry areas).
  2. Clean. Eliminate leaf litter, brush off sidewalks and mow tall grass to cut down on the places ticks can harbor.
  3. Choose plants that aren’t attractive to deer. In areas where deer are present this is very important because deer will carry ticks right into your yard.
  4. Check hiding places periodically. Ticks like to hide along the base of fences and brick walls.
  5. Care for family pets. Ticks can easy hide in the fur of your pets. If your animals (like our Wiley) spend time in areas where ticks may be present, make sure you apply a topical tick medication.
  6. Call the pros. Mosquito Squad’s tick control eliminates ticks before they can bit and danger your friends and family.

In a year when ticks are expected to be worse than normal, it’s important to be extra careful. Make sure you do a full body check when coming inside and, in the case that you are bitten, remove the ticks properly and place it in a plastic bag in case it needs to be tested for tick-transmitted diseases.

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Protect Fido from Lyme disease

canine lyme disease

How can you not want to protect a face like that?

Hello, my name is Jane and yes I am a crazy dog owner. This cute face to the right is one of the lights of my life, Wiley. I rescued Wiley and those big ears four years ago and he’s been my number one running pal, cuddle body and just a great companion since day one. If you are a dog owner, you know this love. The love of a wiggling body and pure joy any time you walk through the door. I could go on forever about my pup, but I will stop and get to the topic at hand: protecting this little guy.

As we’ve written about before, Lyme disease is a growing issue for many parts of the country, but what some people don’t know is that it affects dogs (cats don’t seem to show any symptoms). Unfortunately our four-legged friends can just tell us when they aren’t feeling well and their fur hides any hint of the bulls eye rash that human get. You may notice if your dog is a little “off” however. In the case of Lyme disease, here are canine symptoms:

  • Lameness due to joint pain
  • Sensitive to touch
  • Lack of appetite
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Stiff walk
  • And more

Lyme disease is transferred to humans and dogs alike through bites from deer ticks. As our dogs are more likely (in most cases) to run around in the woods, bushes and leaves piles than we are, they are also more likely to get bitten by ticks, making it all the more important to protect them. Topical flea and tick medicines that are applied monthly will help kill ticks if by chance one does bite your furry buddy. And just as you would if you were bitten by a tick, remove it carefully with tweezers and place it in a plastic bag in case it needs to be tested for Lyme.

If you live in an area where there are a lot of deer, it’s very likely that deer ticks are close by as well. In certain cases, tick control is necessary to protect you and family from tick bites and the diseases they carry. Mosquito Squad’s barrier spray and tick control will help kill ticks before they can get to you. Contact your local squad to learn more.

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Is Global Warming Affecting the Tick Population?

Global warming has been a hot topic the past few years resulting in a greater awareness of Mother Nature, her ever-changing status, and what we can do to protect her. According to PlanetSave, a blog focused on saving the planet, global warming could lead to the extinction of over a million species. Ticks, however, is not one of them.

Ticks Populations increaseTicks thrive in warmer weather. Whether it’s the heat of the summer or dead of winter, ticks can become active anytime the temperature rises over 40 degrees and there isn’t snow and ice on the ground. For many areas around the country, that’s the case right now.

With ticks coming out earlier in the year and staying later, their population has increased in many areas, resulting in more cases of tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease. On a recent warm day here in Virginia a friend of mine asked me if I continue to give my dog flea and tick medication throughout the winter. The answer is yes as you never know when a tick is on that plant my four-legged friend is sniffing so intently. Depending on where you live, it’s important to protect yourself, your kids and your pets from ticks all year round (for those of you in states with inches of snow right now, you’re safe).

How can you protect yourself from ticks and the illnesses they carry? It’s all about being observant and proactive:

  • If you are going outdoors, wear light colored and loose clothing that covers the majority of your body. Ticks’ dark bodies are easier to see on a light background.
  • Check yourself. Check your clothing and skin for ticks when coming indoors. Make sure to check those hard-to-see areas like behind the ears, armpits, etc.
  • Remove all ticks immediately. Here’s a guide to remove ticks properly from the CDC. Record the date and location of the bite and place the tick in a baggie if you can in case you notice any symptoms in the future.
Mosquito Squad kills ticks dead

Mosquito Squad kills ticks dead

Ticks are small, but they can be big trouble. If you want to rid your yard of ticks, contact Mosquito Squad. Our tick tube application will get to the ticks before they get to you.

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Chalk one up for mama mouse and preventing Lyme disease

Mice nesting in auto air filter

Mice nesting in auto air filter

Recently I took my car in for an oil change. The technician told me I needed a new air filter and proceeded to show me the reason why. It seems that a mama mouse had decided to use my car’s air filter for her nursery this year, my filter was full of tissues and other bedding materials that she was using to “feather” her warm, fall nest deep within my cars inner workings. No wonder every time I needed a Kleenex lately the box was empty?

Naturally I had the technician change the filter, but the point of the story is that mice are building their nests now for a warm spot to have their babies, this includes the  white footed mice that are responsible for facilitating the cycle for Lyme disease. These mice will need, and will find, by one means or another a material to fill their winter nests. Why not provide the mice with nesting material ( so they will leave my tissues alone) and kill the Lyme carrying ticks that harbor on the mice and within their nests?

Does this sound too good to be true? Well, it’s not, and it is happening more often with the use of tick tubes. Tick tubes are small tubes that contain  an insecticide treated cotton to provide a way to kill ticks that harbor Lyme disease by using the mice as couriers. The insecticide is safe for humans and animals, but kills the ticks quickly and efficiently. The insecticide used to treat the cotton is a mild, plant-derived insecticide.  Tick Tubes have been proven to reduce the chances of coming into contact with a tick infected with Lyme disease by up to 90%. This innovative tick abatement product presents a win/win answer for us and the mice. The mice get help building their nests and we reduce our chances of coming into contact with this tick-borne illness on our property.


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

Here is a breakdown on how it works. Mosquito Squad places these tubes at random throughout the areas on your property where mice frequent. The mouse find the tick tube, and along with being a happy mouse for finding great bedding for her winter’s nest, she carries the treated cotton within the tube back and starts building. The young deer tick feed on the mice, this is part of the evolution of Lyme disease. The treated cotton in the nest and around the mouse breaks the chain of disease before it can infect a human because once exposed to the insecticide treated cotton, the tick perishes.

Mosquito Squad stops ticks dead in their tracks

Mosquito Squad stops ticks dead in their tracks

Mosquito Squad uses these innovative tick tubes within their tick abatement program. Contact Mosquito Squad to learn more. Using tick tubes will keep the mice happy, and will give you peace of mind against tick-borne illnesses and disease. 804.353.6999 •

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Now you see them, then you won’t. Tick biting – a cautionary tale.


Dread Skeeter of Mosquito Squad-waging the war on ticks and tick-borne illness and disease.

Chances are, in your neck of the woods, the ticks that are biting right now are the larger adult ticks which are easily detected because they are bigger, more visible, and we are more apt to feel their presence than that of a smaller tick. Just because the ticks are in their adult cycle of life among most areas of the country does not mean we are “out of the woods”, so to speak, when it comes to the dangers of tick-borne illnesses and disease.

Small tick on finger

The nymph tick is small and harder to detect than adult ticks.

The life cycle of the tick is quite complex. The female tick lays her eggs within her environment. A female tick can lay up to 22,000 eggs at a time. Then the eggs will hatch and the offspring will seek their first meal of blood. This is the larval stage.  Once a host for their “dinner party” has been found they will feed for several days then drop off the host to begin to digest its meal. After a few weeks the larva will  molt  and become nymphal ticks. These are the ticks that are highly prevalent during the spring. Small in size, and hard to detect on your body. These nymph ticks will continue to seek hosts to feed from and continue to molt until they reach adulthood, getting larger each time they molt, then as mother nature surely predicts they will also breed and lay eggs and the circle of life continues. Some species of ticks can live up to two years.

Ticks are less likely to be detected while in their nymph stage, which happens during the  spring. During the nymph stage of the tick’s life cycle, they are still able to feed and spread disease and can be as small as a pin dot, and quite difficult to detect.

In the unique and complex connection that is required for a deer tick to ultimately bite and infect a human with Lyme disease, it all begins with a mouse or rodent to facilitate the chain. A little known fact is that rodent nesting season is happening right now. This includes the white footed mouse, and other rodents that are responsible for aiding in the spread of ticks which carry Lyme disease.  The deer tick that is the vector for Lyme disease which feeds off the rodent and is carried  back to the rodent’s  nest, whereas this begins the cycle of tick to animal or human contact to feed and possibly spread dangerous and debilitating Lyme disease as well.


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

Mosquito Squad is instituting the use of tick tubes to fight ticks at their source to prevent Lyme disease as well as cutting down on the tick population that will ultimately affect us during the upcoming spring that lies only months away. Tick Tubes are small tubes that are filled with cotton which has been treated with a tick-killing insecticide which is safe for humans and animals, including mice, but kills the tick. The mice transfer the cotton from these tick tubes to use as bedding material within their winter nest’s and the treated cotton will kill ticks within the nest and on the mouse itself. It is a win/win situation. The mice get a fluffy nest for their young, and the ticks are killed, which helps reduce the chances of a tick infecting us with Lyme disease. Tick tubes have been found to reduce the chances of being bitten by a tick that could be a potential carrier of Lyme disease by up to 90% according to a tick tube study conducted on Fire Island, N.Y.

Mosquito Squad stops ticks dead in their tracks

Mosquito Squad stops ticks dead in their tracks

The effective use of tick tubes as part of our tick abatement program which includes our safe and effective barrier sprays designed to kill ticks on contact, used in conjunction with tick tubes give you maximum tick protection and peace of mind in an uncertain world. Contact Mosquito Squad to learn more 804.353.6999 •

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