Posts tagged ‘Community outreach on mosquito and tick safety in Rockville MD’

August 5, 2015

A 320% Increase in Areas at High Risk for Lyme Disease in the Northeastern United States

Lyme Disease used to be a little known localized problem that started in Lyme, Connecticut. In 1975 a cluster of children and adults experienced arthritic symptoms that lead to the discovery of the tick-borne disease. While Lyme Disease has over the years become well known in parts of the Northeast and Midwest where it was most common such as Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Minnesota – it is now in the news all up and down the eastern seaboard, even being declared an epidemic in some places.

Confirming suspicions that Lyme Disease is spreading geographically, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published an article pointing out a 320% increase in the number of counties with high incidence of Lyme Disease. From 1997 to 2013 Lyme Disease has spread from county to county and from state to state making the risk for Lyme Disease very high along most of the east coast and all of the northeast.

LymeDiseaseGrowth2001-2013

From 2001 to 2013 you can see the spread of Lyme Disease.

Lyme Disease Prevention

Preventing Lyme Disease at your Montgomery County home means lowering your exposure to ticks and tick bites. While you could cover yourself from head to toe when you venture out, or simply don’t venture out at all – neither one of those ideas are practical when attempting to enjoy the variety of summer weather we have in the greater Washington D.C. area. With hot humid days, head to toe clothing would make your outing unbearable and no one wants to miss out on the summer season.

Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery can eliminate up to 90% of the ticks on your property, including deer ticks that are spreading Lyme Disease. With our traditional barrier spray ticks are eliminated on contact with continued protection for up to 3 weeks.

Tick Tubes Eliminate the Next Generation of Ticks

With the addition of tick tubes to your Montgomery County tick control plan, we can eliminate the next generation of ticks. Our tick tubes are placed around your property where rodents are known to travel. Within the tubes is treated nesting material for the rodents to take back to their dens. In the rodent dens tick larvae and nymphs will be eliminated before they have a chance to become infected and travel out to spread Lyme Disease to new hosts. Late summer tick tube applications prevent spring tick hatches. Call today 301-444-5566 to find out more or get on the schedule. If you wait until spring it will be too late, we want to eliminate the next generation of ticks over the winter.

Susan Levi, Owner Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery

Susan Levi, Owner Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery

Preventing your exposure to ticks is your best weapon in preventing Lyme Disease. At Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery we can eliminate 85-90% of ticks in your yard with our traditional barrier spray and tick tube treatment. Contact Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery to learn more about protecting yourself and your family from the risks of tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme Disease in your backyard! Sign up today • (301) 444-5566 • email:westmontco@mosquitosquad.com

We will manage your mosquito and tick control plan in North Potomac, North Bethesda, Rockville, Darnestown, Gaithersburg, Kensington, Takoma Park, Silver Spring, Kentlands and most of Montgomery County.

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July 26, 2015

When Are You Most at Risk for Lyme Disease in Montgomery County?

The life cycle of ticks is a bit of a confusing subject and affects the risk for Lyme Disease in humans greatly. Understanding the life cycle of the deer tick is very helpful in remembering when to be most vigilant in your tick control and Lyme Disease prevention measures.

The Deer-tick’s 2-year life cycle

Adult female deer ticks begin laying their eggs in mid to late May. They usually lay 1,500 to 3,000 eggs at a time. The eggs hatch in late July or early August making the deer tick larvae most active in August. In August and September the larva tick will take their first blood meal from a host, usually a small rodent or bird.

The larvae molt over the winter/early spring and by May they have entered the nymph (teenage) phase of life. Nymph ticks remain active from May – July seeking out their second blood meal so that they can become an adult tick. By fall nymph ticks molt into adults. Engorged adult female deer ticks will survive the winter in leafy underbrush and emerge in the spring to lay their eggs and start the cycle all over again. See Mainly Ticks life cycle time line below for a better visual understanding.

How the tick Life-Cycle effects Lyme Disease Risk

In August and September larval ticks are generally free of Lyme Disease infection as they are recently hatched and have yet to be infected. Once they take a blood meal from an infected host they will molt during the winter and emerge in spring as infected nymph deer ticks, about the size of a poppy seed. Nymph deer ticks are most active from May through July, which is, not coincidentally, when most cases of Lyme Disease occur. The nymph deer tick is so small and there are so many of them, it is hard to notice when they get on you. This makes infected nymph deer ticks the most dangerous in transmitting Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.

Tick Tube Treatment

Mosquito Squad tick tubeAt Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery we offer tick tube treatment that is essential to eliminating ticks before they have a chance to become the dangerous infected nymph ticks that are active from May through July. Made of cardboard and cotton treated with a tick-killing chemical, the tubes are placed in strategic locations where mice are likely to travel and collect nesting materials around your home and yard. The rodents take pieces of the material to build their nests where the larval ticks are having their first blood meal. This eliminates the larval ticks, before they can molt into nymphs and infect humans. Tick tubes are a key ingredient in lowering everyone’s risk for Lyme Disease. With up to 3,000 eggs per female tick hatching each spring, eliminating ticks in the first stage of their life cycle is a great way to exponentially lower the deer tick populations in Montgomery County.

Susan Levi, Owner Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery

Susan Levi, Owner Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery

Preventing your exposure to ticks is your best weapon in preventing Lyme Disease. At Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery we can eliminate 85-90% of ticks in your yard with our traditional barrier spray and tick tube treatment. Contact Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery to learn more about protecting yourself and your family from the risks of tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme Disease in your backyard! Sign up today • (301) 444-5566 • email:westmontco@mosquitosquad.com

July 3, 2015

Choices, choices: Did you know we offer an organic and traditional barrier spray program?

shutterstock_116298694It seems the word “Organic” is appearing more and more on the shelves of every grocery store.  Whether concern over GMO food, the antibiotics used in our meat or concern over the pesticides used to increase the production of food, the term organic is used on more products.  As popular TV shows on food and health teach us, buying organic is more important when buying some foods than it is for others.  We may choose to pay more for organic fruit when we are going to eat the outside skin of our fruit.  For other fruit, like bananas and oranges we have fewer health concerns eating ones sprayed with pesticides.  The more we know about the food we eat, the better choices we can make for our families and our self. When considering a mosquito barrier spray for your yard, you also have a traditional and organic option.  They each work differently, so we want to point out some of the things you may want to consider when making your choice between a traditional or organic barrier spray for mosquitoes.

Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery MDTraditional Barrier Spray  Keeping mosquitoes away is the best way to prevent mosquito bites,and the further away they are, the better.  Our traditional barrier spray eliminates 85-90% of the mosquitoes in your yard.  Since most mosquitoes are poor fliers, most live their life within 300’ of where they are born.   Eliminating mosquitoes in your yard means fewer mosquitoes and fewer bites throughout the summer. The traditional mosquito control approach uses a very effective and proven insecticide.  The spray eliminates mosquitoes on contact and continues eliminating them for weeks, as they rest and feed on the treated vegetation.  When the spray dries, this take approximately an hour, it remains there.  It will need to be reapplied usually every 21 days.

Spring dayOrganic Barrier Spray Our  organic mosquito control spray is made from garlic.  It reduces the number of mosquitoes in your yard by repelling them rather than eliminating them.  When applied, the spray has a slight odor.  After it dries, you will no longer smell the odor.  However, mosquitoes will be able to smell it and continue to be repelled.  This spray will reduce the number of mosquitoes in your yard by 70-75%. Just as any organic farmer knows, natural pesticide solutions don’t last as long as traditional pesticides.  They need to be reapplied more often.  The same is true when using our organic mosquito control treatment. Our organic treatments needs to be reapplied every 14 days in order to receive continuous protection in your yard.

Your Decision The decision on whether to use our traditional or organic spray is often decided on how you use your yard and whether you have infants or toddlers.  You should know that our technicians are trained to avoid spraying flowering plants or fishponds.  Fish ponds usually have moving water to support the fish.  Mosquitoes prefer standing water like that found in flowerpots and tires.  Focusing the spray on areas where mosquitoes are more likely to be resting will also help prevent harm to any beneficial insects.

Organic mosquito control Rockville MDIf you have a vegetable garden or fruit trees in your yard, or little ones who are still crawling, you may feel more comfortable using our organic barrier spray.  When spraying, we use foggers to mist vegetation.  Of course, some of the mist will come in contact with the lawn where toddlers may later be playing and crawling.  Until your children are walking and not on hands and knees, you may feel more comfortable using our organic spray.

Whether you choose our organic garlic, organic essential oil or traditional barrier spray each will typically dry on leaf foliage within an hour after treatment.  You can feel comfortable using your yard as you normally would after that time.  The difference noted in your yard will feel like night and day when it comes to mosquito bites.  Finally, you can enjoy working in your flower garden or grilling outside with friends and family no longer worried about mosquito bites. Preventing West Nile disease and other mosquito-borne infections begins and ends with reducing your exposure to mosquitoes and their bite.  Using either a traditional or organic barrier spray is an effective place to start with your mosquito control program.

Contact Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery  to learn more or sign up today • (301) 444-5566 • email:westmontco@mosquitosquad.com

Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery organic mosquito control

 

 

April 17, 2015

Montgomery County MD Tick Control and Lyme Disease: My Personal Story

Susan Levi, Owner Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery.

Susan Levi, Owner Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery.

Lyme Disease Affects Us All

If it had not been for the “bulls eye” rash, I wouldn’t have even known that I had been bitten by a tick. The infected tick had fallen off days or possibly weeks before, but there it was. Seeing that expanding rash, I then knew that the achy, blah feeling was not just some summer bug I had caught: actually a bug, in the form of a deer tick (Ixodes scapularis) had caught me! I had contracted Lyme Disease. This was in the summer of 2012, and am happy to report that I have since made a full and complete recovery. For me, since I help treat yards to prevent ticks and mosquitoes from injuring families, it was easy to pinpoint where I picked up the infected tick– a property inspection.

Rash from Lyme Disease

My rash from Lyme Disease.

Lyme Disease’s Mystery

Lyme Disease is a mystery in many ways. Because I had the tell-tale rash, it was also easy to diagnose and positively treat. Not everyone is as fortunate. It is important to understand though, that the rash is not present over 20% of the time. Combine this with the fact that Lyme Disease can many times mimic other illnesses with its symptom list of fever/chills, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, a vastly larger segment of society may actually be suffering from Lyme Disease, without even realizing it.

tick_habitatOur Best Defense

Prevention becomes the number one way to protect yourself from contracting Lyme Disease. It is widely acknowledged are our best defense. There are some easy, important, and simple steps that you can take to decrease your risks. We here at Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery County truly care about our community. Like you, we also, want to be able to use and enjoy our yards without fear. Here are some helpful tick prevention tips we recommend:

  1. Keep compost and debris piles clear from play and dining spaces. Adult ticks natural habitat consists of damp, cluttered spaces. Ticks thrive in moisture and do not do well in dry heat.
  2. By having a well-trimmed yard versus a wilderness wonderland, you eliminate the “questing” point for ticks. Ticks will perch with their back legs on long grass or branches and hold up their front legs, ready to grab on and scurry up the leg or arm of any creature, be it dog, cat, deer, or human. Their favorite latching places are armpits and the groin. No long grass means no place to quest from.
  3. Ticks have known hideouts. Some of their favorite places are fences, brick walls, retaining walls, including walls that are also used as seating areas on your deck or patio. Check these spots regularly for ticks and “clutches.” A clutch is a mass of up to 2,000 tick eggs.
  4. Pets can not give you Lyme Disease, but they can bring ticks into contact with your family. It is important to use preventative care with your pets as well, especially dogs, since they can contract Lyme Disease.
  5. Call the pros for a barrier treatment spray. An effective spray will eliminate live adult ticks on contact.

ms west montgomery tick controlThe Mosquito Squad Solution

Thankfully, we offer effective Montgomery County MD tick control. It’s a personal commitment, for me and my wonderful team of trained professionals to protect your landscape from these predatory invaders. Ticks can live somewhere else other than our yards. Myself and many of our friends and neighbors, including college-aged kids and vibrantly healthy individuals, have also suffered from the debilitating effects of Lyme Disease. To eradicate up to 85% – 90% of the adult ticks on your property, we use an EPA-approved barrier spray that we apply every three weeks to offer continuous protection all season long. Combined with our tick tube program, which takes care of larval and nymph ticks in rodent dens, this offers a very strong defense against ticks which carry harmful illnesses. Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery leaves you with peace of mind to enjoy your yard throughout the spring and summer and well into fall.

Mosquito Squad logo squareTo learn more, we look forward to your call for a free quote at 301-444-5566 or email us at westmontco@mosquitosquad.com.

September 4, 2014

Our service enables you to renew your love of the outdoors and being at one with nature!

There are many benefits associated with spending time outdoors!

There are many benefits associated with spending time outdoors!

One of the most beneficial aspects of being able to enjoy your backyard mosquito and tick free is freedom; the  freedom of placing yourself at one with nature anytime. Being “in” nature has proven positive effects including an increase in health, happiness, wealth, a better sense of community, an improved state of mind and even increases a child’s ability to learn!

According to an article published by the Harvard Health Letter through the Harvard Medical School titled “A prescription for better health: go alfresco”, the simple act of spending time outdoors is loaded with mental and physical benefits. One of the listed benefits includes an increase in your level of Vitamin D.  Being exposed to sunlight  begins a process that leads to the creation and activation of vitamin D. Studies suggest that this vitamin D helps fight certain conditions,  including Osteoporosis, Cancer, depression and heart attacks. A lack of vitamin D, and not getting outdoors often is a driving force for what we refer to as “cabin fever”, and even the “rainy day blues.”

It is human nature to become more active when outside because there is so much to see, and experience in nature.

It is human nature to become more active when outside because there is so much to see, and experience in nature.

Another benefit of getting outdoors is it gets you up and at em’! Outdoor living increases physical activity. It is human nature to become more active when outside because there is so much to see, and experience in nature. It is true that many adults exercise “within” the settings of a gym or on the treadmill at home but children are the ones who generally miss out on the many benefits of being outdoors. Indoor living has long been associated with being sedentary, particularly for children, while being outdoors is associated with activity. According to some surveys, American children spend an average of 6+ hours a day with electronic media (video games, television, and so on), time that is spent mainly indoors and sitting down. British researchers used Global Positioning System devices and accelerometers, which sense movement, to track the activity of 1,000 children. They found that the children were more than doubly active when they were outside. By encouraging children to get outside, especially though setting an example, this will mean less time spent in front of the television and computer and more time walking, biking, gardening, cleaning up the yard, and doing other things that get kids moving — plus, the time spent outdoors with your child are the times they will cherish!

Did you know that light can help elevate your mood? It’s true, and getting outside and enjoying the sun is one of the best ways to treat conditions like Seasonal Affective Disorder. Physical activity has been shown to relax and cheer people up too, so if being outside replaces inactive pursuits with active ones, it might also mean more smiles and laughter.

Mother Nature holds the power of healing.

Mother Nature holds the power of healing.

Not only will experiencing the outdoors increase concentration, but a recent  story discusses how outdoor play in children is increasingly linked scientifically to stronger mental muscle. The article, titled “Does outdoor play make kids smarter?” was featured on the Children and Nature Network website and points out that “Parents have long thought of outdoor play as the icing on the cognitive cake: Finish your homework, attend to all of the after-school lessons and clubs intended to gain you admission to Stanford or Cal, and then, and only then, can you go out and play. A growing body of research, however, suggests that outdoor play offers such a positive bump in brain power, it should perhaps be a priority. One school of thought about why nature has such an effect is the attention restoration theory: If you want to gain strength by lifting weights, you need to take a break between sessions for your muscles to recover; nature provides a similar break in attention for your brain. The other theory, “is biophilia: This is what my brain was built for. Our brains evolved in nature. Now that we have light bulbs and iPads, nature has a calming effect. MRI tests confirm that nature produces chemical shifts in the brain.”

And last , but certainly not least, fresh air, nature and exposure to natural sunlight has been proven to help us heal faster from injuries, illness and surgery. University of Pittsburgh researchers reported in 2005 that spinal surgery patients experienced less pain and stress and took fewer pain medications during their recoveries if they were exposed to natural light. An older study showed that the view out the window (trees vs. a brick wall) had an effect on patient recovery. Of course, windows and views are different than actually being outside, but we’re betting that adding a little fresh air to the equation couldn’t hurt and might help.

Mosquito free life

The desire to spend time outdoors is natural to us. It puts things in perspective. Even after a long, hard week at work or school, stepping into nature gives us solace and is as good for our soul as it is for our health, and mood. At Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery, our goal is to create a space that enables you the freedom to be outdoors spontaneously. We create backyards that allow you and your family the endless benefits of Mother Nature without the worry of mosquitoes or ticks.

Contact us to learn more today • (301) 444-5566 • email:westmontco@mosquitosquad.com

Susan Levi, Owner Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery.

Susan Levi, Owner Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery.

 

 

 

August 27, 2014

Don’t Let Mosquitoes and Ticks Rain on Your Labor Day Parade!

Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery having fun at the 2011 Labor Day parade

Highlights from our participation in previous Kensington Labor Day parades… the dreaded mosquito has met its match!

Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery will be at the 47th Annual Kensington Labor Day parade on Monday, September 1, 2014 and we cordially invite you to attend this fun-filled annual event!   The day starts off with the Parade traveling down Connecticut Avenue from St. Paul Park toward Town Hall, featuring local marching bands from area schools; equestrian show groups; dance groups; floats and ambassadors from local churches, schools, non-profits, and businesses; and local, state, and federally elected officials.

The crowd cheers as the mosquito begins to fall!

The crowd cheers as the mosquito begins to fall!

Kensington residents know they have a giant mosquito problem ( just look at the picture!) Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery will be participating in the annual parade again this year. Our participation in local and community events is an important part of teaching our neighbors the importance of mosquito and tick control in their own backyard as a way to reduce the risk of vector-borne illness and as a way to make the the time spent outdoors safer and more enjoyable for every member of the family, including pets.

Both mosquitoes and ticks are capable of infecting us with illnesses like West Nile Virus, Lyme Disease and can even infect our beloved pets with heartworms, Eastern Equine Encephalitis and Canine Lyme Disease.  Our mission here at Mosquito Squad is simple: to educate you about the risks of vector-borne illness and how enjoy the outdoors without the worries! We can even keep those dreaded stink bugs away too!

Susan Levi, Owner Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery.

Susan Levi, Owner Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery.

We look forward to seeing at the Kensington Labor Day parade and festival — You can also contact Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery to inquire about our mosquito & tick control programs designed to keep you and your family happy and healthy • Call us today for a free quote •  (301) 444-5566 • email:westmontco@mosquitosquad.com

August 25, 2014

Listen to what our happy Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery customers are saying…

 

Take back your outdoors with Mosquito Squad

Take back your outdoors with Mosquito Squad !

At Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery, along with improving the time you and your family spend outdoors, customer service is our top priority. To ensure we’re doing our job and our service is really protecting our Montgomery County MD customers from mosquitoes and ticks, Mosquito Squad utilizes a third-party review system. The survey has only one question — how did it work? We are then emailed the results and our customers are confirming that our program is not only effective, they love it.

Read some of the reviews below. You may also read more reviews on our website.

 

“Getting rid of the bugs was a great treat for summer outdoor fun. Good communications and “on-time” service were outstanding.”

-David H. of Kensington, MD

 

“The mosquitoes are gone!”

-Natasha H. of Rockville, MD

 

“We just had our first service last week. What a difference! We got our yard back!”

-Elizabeth S. of Rockville, MD

 

“This my second summer with Mosquito Squad and I am very pleased with the service. The men are polite and work quickly.”

-Saundra P. of  Takoma Park, MD

 

“It’s effective! I don’t get bit by mosquitos any more! Also, communication is good, and you come when you say you’ll come.”

“It works!”

– Doris L. of Kensington, MD

 

Mosquito Squad of West MontgomeryRead more great testimonials from Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery customers on our website.

Contact us today to keep mosquitoes and ticks out of your yard for the entire summer • (301) 444-5566• email: westmontco@mosquitosquad.com 

 

August 18, 2014

Now is the time to think about tick tube implementation!

Deer ticks in your backyard waiting for you to walk by

Deer ticks in your backyard waiting for you to walk by.

Along with our effective and proven barrier spray for ticks, you may have heard us talk here about tick tubes.  Tick tubes are an excellent way to eliminate future generations of ticks on your property.  Along with our barrier spray, tick tubes are an effective second punch at eliminating ticks in your yard.  So, what are they and how do they work?  When is the best time during the year to use them?

Tick tubes target nymph ticks.  Ticks have 4 stages of development in their average two-year life cycle.  Ticks begin as eggs laid by female adults in late fall.  In MD, ticks are most often found in the dens of white-footed mice.  These mice provide the best conditions for them to develop.  First, the mice build protected nests; second, they are warm-blooded mammals and can provide a blood meal for both larvae ticks and nymph ticks.  Tick eggs laid in the mice’s nest in the fall will become larval ticks in early spring and need their first blood meal.  When white-footed mice aren’t available, chipmunks, shrews, voles and other rodent nests will suffice.

https://mosquitosquadmaryland.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/egg-mass-produced-by-lone-star-tick.jpg

Egg mass produced by tick.

After hatching from eggs in early spring, the larvae take their blood meal from the closest host they can find, the white-footed mouse whose home they live in.  As they grow into nymph ticks, small rodents serve nicely as the tick’s second blood meal.  Nymph ticks still aren’t very big so don’t need an animal with a big blood supply as they will need later when they become adults.  Because mice and ticks spend so much time together when ticks are in 2 of the 4 stages of their life cycle, the mice get bitten many times as hosts to both larvae and nymphs.  The transmission of the Lyme infection from one infected nymph tick who previously took a blood meal from an infected mouse allows the infection to be transmitted to many ticks that later bite the same and other previously infected mice.  The infection rate of mice with Lyme Disease is often as high as 80-90%.

Ticks are not born with Lyme Disease and larvae ticks are never infected when they first enter that stage of their life cycle.  Only after needing a blood meal at the end of the larvae stage can they become infected by infected mice.  Given the infection of white-footed mice and the fact that larvae ticks are often found in the dens of white-footed mice, that first blood meal is where they ticks are likely to be first infected.

The most prevalent source the tick acquires the bacteria is a rodent, such as a white footed mouse, or field mouse.

The most prevalent source the tick acquires the bacteria is a rodent, such as a white footed mouse, or field mouse.

As fall arrives, the nymph ticks are seeking a home for winter and a place they can get their next blood meal as they move into adulthood.  Once again, they will seek out a white-footed mouse’s nest.  In the second spring of its life, the nymph tick will take its second blood meal from the white-footed mouse whose nest it may be in.  It is in this second spring that we and our pets are most likely to get Lyme Disease from a tick.  Since nymph ticks are so tiny, we often don’t notice them on our skin, or on our dog’s skin.  Why do ticks need to bite us for blood when they have the mice?  It’s not often that ticks stay attached long enough to get a full meal from any one source.  As they grow larger, they are above ground and not in nests and begin “questing” for any available animal.  For this reason, a tick may bite several hosts (mice, other rodents, humans, etc.) before getting the amount of blood they need to continue growing into adulthood.

Tick tubes are meant to make sure ticks don’t make it to their 2nd spring.  In order to build a proper nest for winter, white-footed mice will search for nesting material.  Mosquito Squad tick tubes have cotton balls in them saturated with insecticide that will eliminate ticks.  By making their nesting material with the tick tube cotton, the mice will get the insecticide on their fur as they move around in their nest during the winter.  When spring comes again, enough insecticide is on the mouse’s fur that the ticks will be eliminated on contact, before they can get their 2nd blood meal.  No harm is done to the mouse by the insecticide, so they continue to serve as tick-destroying hosts during the warmer months of the year.

how tick tubes work

How tick tubes work

Susan Levi, Owner Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery.

Susan Levi, Owner Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery.

By placing tick tubes out at spring, summer and fall your tick protection is supported by a second line of defense, tick tubes.  Each year, as more nymph ticks are eliminated on your property, there should be fewer adults to lay eggs.  Our barrier spray eliminates ticks on contact and works for up to 3 weeks on active ticks living in your yard.  Tick tubes eliminate the ticks you won’t ever see.

If you have questions on how to protect yourself from mosquito and tick-borne diseases, please contact Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery, (301) 444-5566.

August 7, 2014

Can those pesky house mice spread Lyme Disease?

Various types of mice.

Various types of mice.

You may have read stories before on this blog talking about the link between ticks, Lyme Disease and white-footed mice. These stories may have peaked your curiosity about other species of rodents, especially pesky house mice that like to take up residence in our homes. Since we are entering into the peak season for nymph ticks, and very soon,  into the fall when the weather will be growing cooler and house mice will be looking for places to stay warm, now is a great time to become familiar with tick/mouse activity!

White-footed mice do exceptionally well in the habitat of the Northeast US and other similar places because of the urbanization of old farmland.  Open woodlots and brushy areas make ideal living conditions for white-footed mice and ticks.

Although Lyme Disease is not as prevalent in some US states, other tick-borne diseases are.  Tularemia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and other infections are often prevalent in places Lyme Disease is not.  Shrews, voles, rabbits, chipmunks and other small rodents will fill a similar role as white-footed mice in these regions when available.

Notice this white-footed mouse is covered with nymph ticks

Notice this white-footed mouse is covered with nymph ticks.

When an adult female tick needs to lay her eggs, she looks for a location that will have a temperature warm enough in winter to allow her eggs to survive.  White-footed mice build nests in burrows, stumps, brush piles, buildings and in the abandoned nests of other small animals and birds.  These nests provide concealment for them from predators and warmth in the winter.

When an adult female tick lays her eggs in the nest of a white-footed mouse, she is providing both protection and a good start for the next generation.  When hatched into larvae in the spring and early summer, these ticks will take their first blood meal from the closest available small animal, which is usually the white-footed mouse.  Tick larvae are not infected with Lyme Disease when born.  Their first chance to be infected is when they take their first blood meal from the mice.  As these larvae ticks grow and need a second blood meal to grow into their third life stage as nymph ticks, the mice will often serve as hosts to that meal also.

Studies show that 80-90% of all white-footed mice are infected with the Lyme bacteria.  When you consider the number of larvae and nymph ticks that take their blood meal from white-footed mice, you can easily see why the infection rate is so high.  Ticks will often have to bite more than one host for a blood meal in order to get an adequate supply of blood, so they can grow into their next life cycle stage.  If one larvae or nymph tick is infected with Lyme Disease, the infection will usually be transmitted to any of the mice they bite.  Ticks that bite an infected mouse have a very high likelihood of becoming infected themselves and further transmitting the disease.  As ticks become larger, they need larger mammals and birds for their blood meal.  This is how Lyme Disease is transmitted to raccoons, foxes, opossums, birds, and other small mammals.  Deer serve as hosts for adult ticks because of their size allows them to have enough blood to provide many adult ticks their blood meal to lay eggs.

House Mice in a loaf of bread

House Mice nesting in a loaf of bread.

For mice that do not frequent open woodlots and brushy areas, there is little chance of them being exposed to ticks.  No contact with ticks means no Lyme infection.  This is the primary reason that Lyme Disease is rare or non-existent in mice that seek shelter and warmth in your home.  As these or any mice spend time in your yard and in tick habitat, it’s possible they can become infected, if bitten by an infected tick.  House mice have not been studied to determine if they contract Lyme Disease in certain situations; but there is no reason to think they would be immune.  It’s likely they are not a vector for Lyme Disease because they simply don’t spend as much time in tick habitat as other rodents.

As you can see, the circumstances that lead to Lyme Disease are diverse and complex.  With so many vectors, hosts and reservoirs responsible for the disease, researchers are a long way off from knowing how the disease continues to spread. Rather than wait for science to provide a solution, there are effective solutions now such as barrier sprays and tick tube implementation for your yard. Contact Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery now to discuss our tick barrier spray and tick tube program that will protect your yard all season long.

Susan Levi, Owner Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery.

Susan Levi, Owner Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery.

Learn more about protecting yourself and your family from the risks of tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme Disease in your backyard! Sign up today • (301) 444-5566 • email:westmontco@mosquitosquad.com

July 24, 2014

Are Humans The Only Ones Who Get Lyme Disease?

Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery wants to keep you informed about Lyme Disease

Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery wants to keep you informed about Lyme Disease!

You may know that ticks get the Lyme bacteria, Borrelia Burgdorferi, from the white-footed mouse and then pass it on to us.  However, do the mice themselves get Lyme Disease?  Do they get sick?  What about all the other animals that ticks bite, like chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, birds and the like? The list of animals that ticks bite is a long one.  In order to make sense of the research, we need to break down this list.  It is easier to understand how Lyme Disease exists in wildlife by talking about small, medium and large animals, and birds.  The size of the animal seems to make more of a difference than the specie when discussing how Lyme Disease affects wildlife.

All size deer ticks can transmit disease.

All size deer ticks can transmit disease.

How is Lyme Disease transmitted? Before discussing how Lyme is transmitted, we need to define two terms.  The first is the term, host.  A host is, as you would expect, someone who serves someone something.  In the tick’s case, the host is the animal or bird who serves them their blood meal after the tick bites them.  A tick needs a blood meal in each of the three stages of its life cycle, larvae, nymph and adult in order to grow and move onto the next stage. The second term we need to define is reservoir.  Since ticks aren’t born with Lyme Disease, they need to get the bacteria from somewhere.  The term reservoir refers to where the bacteria are present.  Many animals can be reservoirs for the Lyme bacteria, Borrelia Burgdorferi.  Some reservoirs have an abundance of bacteria in their blood.  In other animal reservoirs, there may be very few Borrelia Burgdorferi bacteria.  An animal with a large number of bacteria in their blood are referred to as a competent reservoir.  This means they have enough bacteria to infect any ticks that bite them.  Other animal reservoirs can be incompetent reservoirs, meaning they have so few bacteria present they will not infect the tick when it bites them.

Small animals White-footed mice, chipmunks, rats, squirrels, moles, voles and certain species of birds are competent reservoirs.  These animals are often infected with Lyme Disease, as well as Anaplasmosis and Babesiosis.  These small animals are the ones most responsible for transmitting Lyme Disease to larvae and nymph ticks.  Since larvae and nymph ticks are often in the dens and burrows of these animals, they are often the young tick’s first blood meal.  The small ticks in this life stage do not need a lot of blood for their first meal.  Adult ticks need a larger animal for their larger blood meal. Although studies show these small animals are often infected with Lyme bacteria, there has been little to no research into how the disease affects them.  Whether they get a rash or sick from the bacteria is unknown.  One study that looked into the mortality of white-footed mice and showed 93% of them succumbed to predators, primarily weasels.  Only one mouse death in the study was attributable to Borrelia Burgdorferi bacteria.  From this study, we can hypothesize that most or all of these small animals can succumb to the infection, but it is not common. Is the lifecycle of the white-footed mouse so short or predation so high, that Lyme Disease doesn’t have a chance to take more of them?  We simply don’t know. Many studies have shown that birds are often infected with Lyme Disease and are responsible for its geographical spread.  One NIH study found, “ticks have detrimental effects on their avian hosts even under natural infestation conditions…and may also present symptoms of infection, though these may be subtle.”  Birds do seem to be affected physically by the Lyme bacteria; however, it is not acute or obvious.  Lizards may also become infected with Lyme Disease but are incompetent reservoirs.

Medium size animals Raccoons, groundhogs, rabbits, beavers, opossums, foxes, bobcats and coyotes rarely serve as reservoirs for Lyme Disease.  Scientists also do not find many ticks on them when sampled.  That doesn’t mean they don’t transmit other diseases.  Rabbits transmit tularemia, rarely Lyme Disease.  Beavers, like rabbits, transmit tularemia but are not identified with helping to transmit Lyme Disease.  Groundhogs transmit bronchopneumonia and hepatitis B primarily.  Squirrels transmit tick fever and their fleas can transmit plague.  Coyotes are incompetent reservoirs of Lyme Disease.  Foxes are also incompetent reservoirs of Lyme Disease. Foxes provide a benefit when it comes to Lyme Disease because they are predators of white-footed mice reducing their numbers. Even when the Lyme bacteria are found in these medium size animals, the bacteria present is minimal, making these animals incompetent reservoirs.  No research has been done on how or why the Borrelia Burgdorferi bacteria present in them is so low.  Whether some of these animals have less exposure to ticks carrying Lyme, or whether their immune system is prepared to prevent a significant infection, is not known.  Some scientists and studies have hypothesized that these animals may have a “primitive immune system” but no scientific definition exists for that term.  No studies exist to confirm or deny it.

https://mosquitosquadmaryland.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/egg-mass-produced-by-lone-star-tick.jpg?w=370

Egg mass produced by tick.

Large size animals The only wild large size animal in the tick lifecycle is the deer family. White tail Deer as well as other members of the deer family, including elk, moose and caribou are the blood meal host often chosen by adult ticks.  First, several thousand ticks can attach to deer because of their size.  This number of ticks makes it easy for males to locates the female ticks as ticks use deer to find a mate much like a local “pick-up” joint.  A female tick will use a deer to consume a large blood meal, in order to lay a clutch of 2,000 to 18,000 eggs.  Elk and moose carry dog ticks in the West, which are often infected with Ehrlichiosis and can be transmitted to humans.  With the introduction of elk and moose in the Eastern US, no one knows the effect they may have in Lyme Disease and Ehrlichiosis transmission. All deer are incompetent reservoirs with low levels of Lyme bacteria in their blood, despite the number of ticks that bite them.  Once again, scientists attribute the deer’s immunity to a primitive immune system or an ability to flush the bacteria from their blood. Based on numerous research papers, it is clear that the animals most responsible for transmitting Lyme Disease are small ones, especially white-footed mice, voles and other rodents.  Research studies show that voles become important in the transmission of Lyme bacteria mostly in areas where few white-footed mice exist.  Medium size and larger animals and birds spread the disease further geographically that any of the smaller animals because of their territorial ranges and their effectiveness in giving infected ticks a ride to new locations.

Susan Levi, Owner Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery.

Susan Levi, Owner Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery.

Tracing the epidemiology of Lyme Disease is complex, as you can see.  With so many vectors, hosts and reservoirs responsible for the disease, researchers are a long way off from knowing how the disease continues to spread. Rather than wait for science to provide a solution, there are effective solutions now such as barrier sprays for your yard. Contact Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery now to discuss our tick barrier spray and tick tube program that will protect your yard all season long.

Learn more about protecting yourself and your family from the risks of tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme Disease in your backyard! Sign up today • (301) 444-5566 • email:westmontco@mosquitosquad.com