Posts tagged ‘montgomery county’

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

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June 25, 2014

Mosquitoes put your loved ones at risk of catching more than the bouquet at your wedding!

The uninvited guest: the mosquito

The uninvited guest: the mosquito.

Most of us don’t like being unprepared when we leave our house.  Going into a movie or restaurant that’s freezing cold in the summer is an annoyance.  Who thinks of bringing a sweater or jacket with them in July to go grocery shopping?  These are unpleasant situations we can endure briefly and either get our food to-go or grab the essential groceries we need and leave as soon as possible.

Getting the family ready to visit their Grandfather on Father’s Day, attending a Little League cookout, visiting friends for a pool party, even attending a friend’s wedding are some of the activities we might be doing this summer.  If we’re the host of these events, we will plan the food and drinks, the activities we need to provide to entertain everyone, what we will wear and all the things to make the day fun and enjoyable.  We want everyone to take away good memories.

After being indoors most of the winter, we often don’t think about what happens as the weather moves from early spring to summer.  How often have you hosted an outdoor event only to forget about mosquitoes?  We often don’t remember how quickly a tiny insect became the most important memory we took away from an outdoor event we attended.  Planning how you will prevent mosquitoes from ruining your event is just one more thing to include on your event To-Do List.  It will be as if all of our hard work meant nothing if you allow mosquitoes to invade your festivities.

Let’s imagine a bride’s wedding day.  Everything has been planned for months.  The cake has arrived on time.  Guests have traveled from far and wide to attend this special event.  Photos have been taken on the beautiful white bridge with lush green trees in the background to show off the bride’s amazing gown.  The bride and groom can think of nothing other than their future together and the new chapter beginning in their lives.  Watch this short movie, and see how their special day unfolds.

After looking at this brief movie, you probably have a better feeling of how biting mosquitoes can turn a planned celebration into a survival event.  Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery MD wants you to know it doesn’t have to be that way.  We offer a one-time event barrier spray to eliminate mosquitoes at any of your special gatherings.  Weddings, Anniversaries, Family Reunions, Birthday Parties, Cookouts, any event you are planning outdoors.

Enjoy the outdoor living season mosquito and worry free!

Enjoy the outdoor living season mosquito and worry free!

How many times have you failed to think of bug spray, anti-itch cream, etc. while getting dressed for any of these events?  Most of us don’t think of them often and neither will your guests.  Last week, while attending a Boy Scout cookout with my sons, one of them began itching and scratching from mosquito bites.  We had to leave to get anti-itch spray.  By the time we returned, we missed half the banquet.  Even someone working in the mosquito business can forget about mosquitoes when focused on children and the celebration they are attending.  It’s easy for any of us to forget how bad mosquitoes can be, especially around lakes and areas with a lot of shade and cover.

the bloodthirsty asian tiger mosquito

The bloodthirsty asian tiger mosquito is just one of over 59 species of mosquito here in MD.

A mosquito barrier spray will make sure that whether your guests remember sprays or creams, they will enjoy their time at your special event.  Our mosquito barrier sprays are so effective many of our one-time event customers later become regular customers.  The effectiveness of our mosquito treatments are our best advertisement and a great way to be introduced to them.  Once applied, no one will know the spray was used.  What guests may eventually notice is that there are no mosquitoes bothering them.

From the time your guests leave their car until they return, our mosquito barrier spray can be protecting them.  Our technicians call before arriving at the event location and will spray a day or two before your event to begin eliminating mosquitoes in advance of your festivities.  Whether you are using your backyard, or a space you’ve rented, we can make sure the only memories your guests take home are the ones you want them to have.  In fact, many of your friends and guests may tell you after your event that they were surprised they didn’t see any mosquitoes.  Of course, if you want them to think you picked a bug-free location for their enjoyment, we won’t tell.  It’s up to you.

Susan Levi, Owner Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery

Susan Levi, Owner Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery.

Now is the time to sign up for our season-long protection. We offer both organic and traditional programs.  If you prefer, sign up for a one-time spraying for your special event.  The benefits of our mosquito treatment will have you coming back for more because you will enjoy up to 3 weeks extended protection every week. You continue to invite family and friends over for cookouts and parties in your yard all summer long!

Our program will  keep you, your family and your pets completely protect you from mosquitoes and the many diseases they carry for the entire season. Contact Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery  to sign up today • (301) 444-5566 • email:westmontco@mosquitosquad.com

April 25, 2014

The importance of protecting against Lyme Disease in Montgomery County, MD.

Lyme Disease Risk in MD

CDC map indicating Lyme Disease risk in Maryland.

Lyme Disease is a multisystem illness caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, a spirochete transmitted by certain species of Ixodes ticks, including the highly prevalent Deer tick. Approximately 30,000 confirmed and probable cases of Lyme Disease were reported in the US during 2012, primarily from high-incidence states in the Northeast which include: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Cases were also reported in the upper Midwest.

According to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Lyme Disease is the 3rd most notifiable disease in Maryland and the most common tick-borne illness reported in the state. This data suggests the importance of keeping you and your family safe from ticks in Montgomery County, MD in order to avoid Lyme Disease. For residents across Maryland, protecting yourself and your family from the dangers of Lyme Disease needs to encompass year-round awareness, not just during the typical tick-active periods during hot weather. Even in winter, ticks can bite on warm days, and climate change is lengthening the seasons when ticks are most active which makes reducing the risk of contracting a tick-borne illness a challenge. This regional epidemic has begun to trigger a broad public health response on target with prevention campaigns aimed at some other vector-borne illnesses, such as West Nile Virus which is spread by mosquitoes. Ticks are quite a devious foe, and require knowledge and awareness in order to overcome rising deer tick populations within our region.

  • How Lyme Disease Infects
All size deer ticks can spread Lyme Disease - nymph to adult.

All size deer ticks can spread Lyme Disease – nymph to adult.

Lyme Disease is caused by being bitten by a deer tick carrying Borrelia burgdorferi which causes the disease. All sizes of deer ticks are capable of transmission. People and animals, including pets, can become infected with Lyme Disease. The same deer tick that is responsible for Lyme Disease within is also responsible for the spread of other tick-borne illnesses such as Babesiosis, Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis. It is also very possible for the deer tick to infect its host with more than one germ in a single bite, which is referred to as comorbidity.

The disease can affect the skin, joints, heart and nervous systems of its victims. In order to infect a host, the deer tick which carries the bacteria has to remain attached on its host for at least 24 hours in order to spread the disease. Lyme Disease displays symptoms in multiple phases of which the first, called the early stage, and is often, but not always, characterized by a rash on the location of the bite area that resembles bulls – eye or donut. The rash, medically referred to as erythema migrans,begins as a small red area that progresses outward hence the comparison to a bulls-eye. Early stage symptoms may also include fever, fatigue, lethargy, depression, stiff neck, muscle and joint soreness and headaches. In many cases the early stages of the disease are mistaken for the flu, and are unreported or misdiagnosed. These early stage symptoms usually appear 3 to 30 days after being bitten by an infected tick, and as with any occurrence of finding a tick attached to your body, your should remove the tick properly and keep the tick in a container and date it should any problems arise or if the tick is needed to further test for the presence of disease. Later stages of Lyme disease can become evident weeks and even years after being infected.

Bulls eye rash from Lyme Disease Erythma Migrans

The well-known bulls-eye rash associated with Lyme Disease.

When caught early, most people recover quickly from the disease with antibiotics, but up to 25% of people report feeling unwell after treatment — sometimes for months or years. There is enormous controversy among doctors and members of the public about why these patients are sick and how long symptoms can last. But there is no doubt that Lyme is a significant health threat. Untreated, the disease can cause a range of symptoms, from facial paralysis to arthritis and heart problems, to more common complaints of fatigue and headaches. Deer ticks are known vectors of transmission of  four other diseases to humans, and this past summer a new disease was added to that list. This new disease is not yet named, but closely resembles Lyme Disease and is spread by the deer tick by a newly discovered bacteria called Borrelia miyamotoi. This new illness might even explain cases of what looked like chronic Lyme Disease, but did not test positive for Lyme.

  • How To Stay Healthy
Deer ticks in your backyard waiting for you to walk by

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

The most effective way for Maryland residents to reduce the risk of becoming infected is to raise awareness of the factors that contribute to the disease and educating residents on how to avoid and prevent ticks. In order to avoid and prevent ticks, you are urged to take control of your property to make it less hospitable for ticks and to exercise good tick sense. Since ticks lurk and thrive in brushy wooded areas, and high grass, keeping your property trimmed, mowed and free of debris and deadfall  is a good starting point. Wood and brush piles, fences and rock piles are favorites among ticks and these areas should be kept tidy and  you should not allow your yard, or underlying areas to become overgrown or unkempt.

It is a wise choice to avoid areas where you know a tick infestation may be lurking and to contact a licensed professional to have these areas treated to eliminate the ticks. Whenever frequenting an area that might be a possible hot spot for ticks,  make sure you wear appropriate clothing and shoes and frequently check yourself for ticks. Lighter colored clothing makes detecting  a tick easier. Make sure to shower immediately upon returning home from any outside endeavor within a potentially tick infested areas. Conduct regular inspections on your  pets when venturing outdoors. With pets, even if your pets are on topical tick preventative this does not guarantee against a tick hitching a ride to on your dog or cats fur only to feed on you later. Small children should also be checked thoroughly after outdoor play.

how tick tubes work

How tick tubes work

Part of our highly effective tick prevention and control program here at Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery includes the use of tick tubes.  Tick tubes are small tubes filled with cotton that has been treated with an insecticide formulated to eradicate ticks. We place the tubes at random locations throughout your property where mice are likely to reside, such as the edges of wooded areas, and on the outskirts of tall grassy areas. The mice will use the treated cotton within the tick tubes to build their nests and in doing so will eradicate the deer tick that feeds off the mice during the ticks early stage of life. By eliminating the tick before it evolves to feed off other mammals, including humans, you decrease the chances of being bitten within your property. Tick tube implementation, when used in conjunction with our barrier spray program, can reduce the number of Lyme infected ticks on your property by up to 90%.

Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery wants you to be aware of the dangers of Lyme Disease and other tick-borne illness, the reality of the disease and to educate  residents on ways to avoid the disease. An ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure, especially where tick-borne diseases and illnesses are concerned. To learn more about way to prevent ticks in your backyard contact us today for a free quote (301) 444-5566, email westmontco@mosquitosquad.com

Remember the key to a healthy, happy insect-free season starts in your own backyard!

May 24, 2010

Dengue Fever Hits Key West

In the summer of 2001, we took our toddler to the Yucatan in  Mexico and by the middle of the first night there, his face was swollen, especially his eyelids, from mosquito bites. I remember a conversation with a policeman who saw him and casually suggested he might have contracted Dengue Fever. As a mom, hearing that was disconcerting, to say the least.

According to the CDC, as many as 100 million people are infected yearly. There is no vaccine, and the most effective protective measures are to prevent mosquito bites. If you have any plans to visit the tropics or subtropics, take precautions. Read the ABC News article here.

If you are staying closer to home, here in the swampy DC area, you are not likely to be in danger of contracting Dengue Fever, but it is still best to avoid mosquito bites. The sooner you start the service the more effective it will be in your yard. With all the snow and rain, we will surely be having a strong mosquito season.

Call before Memorial Day for our Grand Opening Special: 301-444-5566

February 10, 2010

How Will all this Snow Affect Mosquitoes?

I'm with my kids in the Wetlands (Snowlands) next to our home.

We just got through round 2 of Snowmeggedon in the Washington, DC area. WOW! I’ve lived here for 25 years and finally got to see not just a blizzard, but a Double Blizzard! Now that my electricity is back on, I’ve been able to get in the computer to tell you how the snow might affect the mosquito population this coming season. Since mosquitoes eggs and larvae rely on moisture, you can expect a hearty crop when it warms up enough. According to our friend, the Groundhog, you have some time to prepare. Did you know the Asian Tiger Mosquitoes we have now do great in extreme climates?  According to Wikipedia: Tiger mosquitoes can tolerate snow and in some microhabitats, the adult tiger mosquitoes can survive throughout winter. Learn all about them here.

January 21, 2010

Planning an Outdoor Wedding?

This time of year there are many newly engaged couples just beginning their wedding plans. For those who are willing to brave the outdoors and plan a garden wedding, here’s a thought…

Will your wedding be in an area that has mosquitoes or ticks? You really want everything to be perfect for you and your guests with good food, a nice band, and a really fun event where everyone is comfortable. If there is a risk of pesky biting mosquitoes or ticks carrying Lyme disease, here is a great, low-cost solution: Mosquito Squad.

January 11, 2010

Mosquito Control That Really Works

Mosquito Problem?

You might not be thinking about this with that white stuff on the ground right now, but are you sick of being run indoors? Last summer I was.  One day in June, my family had not been able to continue enjoying meals outside anymore. It wasn’t the weather, it was the biting mosquitoes (especially those asian tiger mosquitoes) and the fear of ticks. We’d be run in by those little pests so fast that we’d given up eating outside.  I heard about this company called Mosquito Squad and couldn’t wait to see if it was all it claimed to be.  My reason was twofold: my family needed relief in the yard and in the back of my mind, I thought if it worked, it might be a franchise I would want to buy. (I learned about this company as a franchise consultant that helps others find the right franchise to start up.)

The Test

One Wednesday in June, we got the first application on our yard. Two days later,  we had a couple families over for a casual diner. All nine of us ate outside. Then we stayed out till 10:30 playing board games at the table with not one mosquito. We got our yard back. What a great summer it turned out to be, though I noticed we were the only ones in our neighborhood outside those following months.

It tuns out I’m not the only one who loves this service and the company behind it. There were 18 new franchisees at training a month ago preparing to open 20 new territories in the country.  Here is the link to see if your area is covered: www.MosquitoSquad.com .  If it’s not and/or you think you might want to own a franchise, click here.

Wishing you Healthy, Happy Outdoor Living!

Susan

Proud new owner of Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery County 301-444-5566