Like mosquitoes, ticks are vectors, or transmitters, of disease. Though extremely serious, mosquito-borne disease affects only a few thousand individuals in the US each year, while tick-borne disease afflicts tens of thousands.
Unlike mosquitoes, ticks do not grab a blood meal and go on their way. Ticks have beak-like projections that plunge into the skin of their host. Depending on its type, a tick may feed on the host’s blood for hours, days or even weeks. If you find a tick on you, please follow this guide from the Centers for Disease Control “(CDC)”;http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/ and remove it promptly. To reduce the risk of getting a tick on your property, you can utilize professional tick control services.
To reduce the number ticks on your property, Mosquito Squad recommends following the 6-C’s of tick control:
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.
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 “adult” 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.
Ticks are active when the ground temperature is above 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tick species number in the hundreds, but only a handful typically transmits disease to humans.
Ticks do not jump or fly. Typically, they transfer to hosts by waiting on tall grass and crawling aboard when a mammal happens by.
Ticks that endanger humans also choose deer hosts and are usually prevalent wherever deer are found.
Tick bites often go undetected because they do not hurt or itch.
Ticks that enter your home can live there for extended periods.
There are two families of ticks: hard ticks (Ixodidae) and soft ticks (Argasidae). Hard ticks have three distinct life stages: larva, nymph and adult. Soft ticks may go through a number of nymph stages before reaching adult status.
Tick larvae are not believed to carry pathogens. The pathogens are received from the host when the larvae take their first blood meal. They will not feed again until nymph stage.
The nymph stage is believed to be most responsible for infecting humans as nymphs are small and can more easily go undetected on the skin.
Lyme disease is the most prevalent tick-borne disease in the United States, having been diagnosed in all states except Hawaii. There are nearly 30,000 cases reported by the Centers for Disease Control annually. If discovered early enough, Lyme disease responds well to a variety of antibiotics. Unfortunately, Lyme is a difficult disease to diagnose. The bull’s-eye rash is only one of the many symptoms of Lyme, which also includes fever, exhaustion and joint discomfort.
Although it does affect humans, ehrlichiosis is most commonly found in deer and dogs. The bacteria kill white blood cells causing headaches, fatigue and body aches. Fortunately, ehrlichiosis is treated with antibiotics. With the Mosquito Squad, we want to make sure that your pets are protected from ticks all season.
Need the Squad? Contact Mosquito Squad of Grand Rapids at 616-662-1103.