Posts Tagged tick treatment for the yard

Practice Tick Safety this May

Did you know that Alec Baldwin, Avril Lavigne, and George W Bush have all battled Lyme disease at different stages? May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month so all of us at Mosquito Squad urge everyone to be tick safe.

Lyme disease is spread through the bite of an infected deer tick. While drawing blood from its host, the tick injects saliva that carries the Lyme bacteria. Lyme can display itself in many different ways including fatigue, fever, joint pain and more.

The best way to reduce your risk of Lyme is to reduce your exposure to ticks. We call our property tips the 6Cs:

Tick BiteClear out yard debris. Ticks thrive well in moist areas. Yard debris holds water and moisture, making it a tick haven.

Clean leaf litter. Leaves naturally hold water when left in piles. Take the time to pick it up (and check yourself for ticks when you’re done).

Choose plants that deer don’t like. Deer are ticks main source of transportation so where there are deer, there are ticks. Keep deer out of your yard by choosing plants that they don’t find tasty like phlox and marigolds for example.

Check tick hiding places. Ticks are known to hide along retaining walls, fences or foundations.

Care for pets with tick collars. Dogs and cats rub up against plants, bushes and trees where ticks can be found. It’s best to follow your veterinarians recommendations on how to protect your pets including tick collars or topical flea and tick medication.

Call the pros. Even when you do the rest of the Cs, you may need professional tick control services. At Mosquito Squad, we use a combination of barrier sprays and tick tubes for the best results. Barrier sprays eliminate adult ticks on contact while tick tubes eliminate them in the nymph stage.

Whenever you spend time outdoors, it’s a best practice to do a thorough tick check on the body. Ticks are small and can hide in hard to see places like in the armpits or behind the knee. If you find one, promptly remove it with tweezers and place it in a plastic bag in case it needs to be tested for Lyme.

If you have questions on tick treatments for your yard, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Are Mice the Perfect Host for Ticks?

I spend a lot of time outdoors in the spring and summer months and I’m also hyper-aware of the presence of ticks. For such a small animal, the tick can cause some serious damage.

Ticks are vectors, or transmitters, of disease. They infect through their bite and have been known to cause devastating damage to humans, moose and other mammals. One animal that it doesn’t seem to impact, however, isn’t what you would normally picture as tough: the white-footed mouse.

A new study from Sarah Lawrence University biologist Michelle Hersh studied the relationship between mice and ticks. Mice displayed no apparent negative affects from ticks and the bacteria they carry. And the number of ticks didn’t matter either. Even when the mice were hosts to a large number of ticks they didn’t seem bothered.

Small tick on finger

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

As co-author Richard Ostfeld explains; “they basically thumb their noses at ticks, no matter how many are on them. There is something about these mice that makes them incredibly permissive to infection by the pathogens that make us sick, and also to the ticks that bite them and us.” Source.

At Mosquito Squad, we use mice being a super host for ticks to our favor with our backyard tick control service. Knowing that ticks usually get their first blood meal from a mouse, we use mice as a vehicle for our tick treatments.

Tick tubes are filled with cotton that is treated with a tick toxicant and then are placed in areas of the property where mice are known to travel, for example along fence lines and foundation walls. When mice come across the tick tubes, they take the cotton to use as bedding in their nests. The tick control solution rubs off onto the mouse’s fur. When the tick goes to feed on the mouse, it ingests the tick control solution, effectively eliminating them.

Tick tubes are usually strategically placed twice a year in spring and late summer/early fall. A tick control professional will come out to your property and base the number of tubes on the size of your property and tick population.

If you have questions on tick elimination services for you yard, please contact your local Mosquito Squad.

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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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Possible Lyme Disease Vaccine Does Well in Preliminary Testing

Since May is Lyme disease Awareness Month it is fitting that just last week news of a clinical trial for a Lyme disease vaccine is going well was released. Lyme disease numbers have grown over the last several years here in the U.S and what was once considered a New England-based disease has, unfortunately, expanded its reach.

The Lyme disease vaccine is being developed and tested at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine and Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York. The initial findings have been published by The Lancet Infectious Diseases’ website.

The vaccine triggers the body to create antibodies against Borrelia, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. While there are hundreds of Borrelia variations, this vaccine is said to fight against all those that are carried in the Northern hemisphere. In early trials consisted of 300 volunteers that each received three immunizations and one booster. The researchers are happy with the results so far and excited to see it advance to the next stages of testing. As Dr. Luft, a co-author of the paper explains:

“The results of the clinical trial conducted by Baxter are promising because the vaccine generated a potent human immune reaction, covered the complete range of Borrelia active in the Northern hemisphere, and produced no major side effects. We hope that a larger-scale, Phase 3 trial will demonstrate not only a strong immune response but true efficacy in a large population that illustrates protection against Lyme disease” (Source).

A common frustration with Lyme disease is that it isn’t easily diagnosed. While many people relate Lyme to the bulls-eye rash, many patients never develop it. Most of the symptoms related to Lyme are unfortunately the same as those related to the flu and arthritis, like joint paint, fever, fatigue, headaches and more. The longer a patient goes without a proper diagnosis, the worse some symptoms can become. A vaccine would be a great first step in being more proactive in fighting the battle against Lyme.

At Mosquito Squad, we help combat Lyme with our tick treatments for the yard. Our barrier spray knocks down any adult ticks it sprays during application. Further protection includes tick tubes that are placed in parts of the yard where mice are most active. Tick tubes hold treated cotton that the mice will bring back to their nests. Most ticks actually get their first blood meal from mice, so when they come in contact with the treated cotton, they’ll die. The number of tick tubes your yard needs will depend upon the size of your yard. Contact your local Mosquito Squad office to learn more about our tick control services.

If you live in an area that is known to have Lyme and you spend any time outdoors, make sure you do a thorough tick check after coming inside, including behind your knees and under your arms. These hard-to-reach places are tick favorites. If you do find an attached tick, make sure to remove it properly with tweezers and put it in a plastic bag if you can, that way you can have it tested if you do indeed start to show symptoms of Lyme.

We at Mosquito Squad are excited to see the news of the Lyme disease vaccine and will be keeping all of you posted!

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