Posts Tagged tick treatment

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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Tick Killing Robot to Begin Trials Next Summer

I must admit that I am afraid of ticks (blame it on the job). The idea of a bug burrowing its head into my skin has always freaked me out. Naturally when I saw an article come across my computer screen that said “Tick Killing Robot,” I was intrigued.

Ticks Populations increaseWhen engineering professor, Jim Squire’s daughter was bitten by a tick, he began to look for ways to rid specific areas of the pest. He worked with his colleague David Livingston and tick expert Daniel Sonenshine to create a robot that can kill ticks. Sonenshine suggested that instead of having the robot seek out tick habitats it would be much easier to attract the ticks to the robot.

The idea behind the robot is pretty simple. Ticks are attracted to carbon dioxide. Sonenshine, Livingston and Squire laid tubing that emits carbon dioxide. After the tubing has been able to give off carbon dioxide for 15 minutes, the robot follows the tubing, dragging a piece of cloth behind it that has been treated with a pesticide. The ticks will attach to the cloth, killing them.

Honestly, the idea seemed so simple to me that I didn’t think that it could work, but very early studies look promising. In one lab test, the environment was seeded with 50 ticks. The robot was able to lure in and kill 45 of them on the first swipe. As Livingston says, “we were shocked. We didn’t expect it to be that efficient.”

Results continue to look positive, even after the studies move outdoors. The robot killed almost 100% of the seeded ticks within the designated test area and the area stayed clear of ticks for nearly 18 hours. The next step is to test the robot on residential properties, which will begin next summer. “We’re not eradicating ticks by any means,” says Livingston. “We’re just very surgically eliminating them from a particular area. Once we clean the yard, how long before they come back? If we can keep it clean for a number of days, then it’s going to be a viable product. If they come back overnight, not so much.” Source.

Because of the pesticide applied to the cloth behind the robot, it has to be handled by a licensed professional. We at Mosquito Squad will be paying close attention to the tick killing robot to see if it can outperform our current tick control treatments and if it makes sense to add to our service.

We shared the professors concern about ticks. There are too many species that transmit dangerous disease to humans. Currently, our professional tick control consists of a barrier spray and ticks tubes. Our mosquito barrier spray eliminates adult ticks on contact and will cut down on a property’s tick population greatly. Additionally, for those clients that are worried about ticks, we place tick tubes around their property. The tubes are filled with treated cotton. That cotton attracts mice that  use it for bedding material. Ticks usually get their first blood meal from mice, so by treating their bedding, we are treating their skin (much like a topical dog treatment), killing the ticks (it won’t kill the mice).

If you have questions on ways to get rid of the ticks on your property, please reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.

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