Posts tagged ‘Raising awareness of tick borne illness 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

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.

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

 

July 20, 2014

Would you know if your dog has Lyme Disease?

Rockville MD Canine Lyme Disease prevention

You may not know “man’s best friend” can also contract Lyme Disease, but they can!

The answer is not so clear.  You may not have realized your pet could get Lyme Disease like humans, until your were asked the question.  Dogs, cats and horses can and do get Lyme Disease from ticks, as well as 3 other serious infections ticks carry.  Your dog’s Lyme Disease symptoms are different from ones you may have; or, they may not appear at all.  If symptoms do appear, they may seem to leave on their own and reappear later.  The lack of symptoms and seemingly temporary nature of Lyme Disease symptoms in your dog can make a correct diagnosis difficult.

Of course, dogs are perfect targets for ticks.  When ticks are “questing” or looking to hitch a ride on an animal to obtain their blood meal, they usually hold onto limbs, grasses and other objects about knee-high in height.  They are looking for coyotes, raccoons, possums and yes, your best friend, your dog.  All of these animals, including your canine family member, enjoy exploring interesting and new places outdoors like brush piles, rock piles, thick grass and the like are also perfect places for ticks to live and look for a meal.

In a story for mspca.org, Erika de Papp, DVM, DACVIM reported that it is common for 50-75% of dogs in New England test positive for Lyme Disease.  Of course, Lyme Disease is endemic in New England, as it is in Maryland.  For dogs that test positive to Lyme Disease, only 5-10% may show clinical symptoms of the disease.  If your dog doesn’t show any clinical symptoms, some veterinarians argue against treatment in healthy dogs.

deer tick control and prevention in Rockville MD

Lyme Disease is transmitted through the bite of a deer tick.

The most serious consequence of untreated Lyme Disease can be kidney disease in your dog.  If your dog tests positive for Lyme Disease based on blood tests but is not treated, discuss the benefit of kidney function tests with your veterinarian.  Until recently, veterinarians could only test if your pet’s blood had antibodies present indicating a Lyme infection had occurred.  These tests couldn’t determine if the infection was recent or one your dog had for some time.  A new test to diagnose Lyme Disease in dogs has now been developed to determine if the infection in your dog is recent, which means a better prognosis for treatment.  Of course, your veterinarian will have the most current information on tests used to diagnose an infection and confirm the need for treatment.

The clinical symptoms of Lyme Disease in dogs are fever, decreased appetite, tiredness, swollen and painful joints that may be painful to examination and lameness or limping that may seem to shift between legs.  The appearance of these symptoms between the time of the bite and when they occur may be 2 to 5 months apart.  Symptoms may also appear to clear up, only to return later.  It is important to keep up with any symptoms you observe in your dog and to document when they occur.

Canine Lyme Disease in Rockville MD

Keeping your furry friend happy and healthy is up to you!

With the prevalence of Lyme Disease in some of our most precious canine family members, as well as the difficulty in diagnosing a disease often without symptoms, the prevention of tick bites should be your first priority.  The use of a parasite preventative and regular tick checks of your dog whenever they return indoors are important in Lyme Disease prevention.  In order to eliminate your dog’s exposure to ticks, remove any brush piles and leaf litter on your property and keep grass cut low.  Hard ticks such as the black-legged tick, or deer tick, dry up when exposed to the sun or heat for long periods.  They need shade and moisture, so eliminating their hideouts and keeping your lawn trimmed low will help protect your pets as well as your family from ticks.

Finally, choose our effective and proven barrier spray , as well as out tick tube treatments.  Reduce the population of ticks in your yard and you will have greatly reduced the risks of Lyme Disease for you and your dog!  Don’t forget: Barrier sprays, like the ones used by Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery, eliminate both ticks and mosquitoes.  We’ve discussed here the risk of Lyme Disease to your canine family members.  For your dogs, the mosquito bites bring on heartworm.  Our effective barrier spray will eliminate both pests around your home.

mosquito-squad-family Rockville MD

Contact Mosquito Squad today to learn more about reducing the risk of tick and mosquito-borne illness this season!

To answer more questions about protecting yourself and your family, ( including the four-legged kind) against mosquito and tick-borne diseases, please contact Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery and 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!

April 18, 2014

Mosquito Squad raises Lyme awareness at Rockville Science Day 2014

Ribbon cutting at Science Day 2014

Ribbon cutting at Science Day 2014.

Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery, MD participated in the annual Rockville Science Day 2014 at Montgomery College on April 6th. This year marked the 25th anniversary for the event which provided a wide variety of fun scientific displays and fun hands-on activities for all ages with a goal of sparking the imagination and creativity of participants. This year’s Science Day explored aspects of engineering, biology, rocket launches, chemistry, astronomy and much more!

Dignitaries participating in Rockville Science Day 2014

Dignitaries participating in Rockville Science Day 2014: Doug Duncan – former county executive,
Virginia Onley- council member,
Rockville Mayor -Bridgett Newton,
Jennie Forehand -MD State Senator.

The Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery team participated in the event in an effort to help educate and raise awareness within the community about mosquitoes, ticks and vector-borne illness. In conjunction with handing out informative brochures from the Maryland Department of Health, we also interacted with participants of the event to gain a better understanding about their knowledge of mosquito and tick-borne illness. With over 4,000 visitors attending the event, we were able to spread the word about raising awareness about the dangers of mosquitoes and ticks.  Some of the questions we asked included, ” Do you know where ticks get Lyme Disease?” Only two out of the many we asked this question to over the course of the afternoon knew the correct answer.
Do you know?

  • Here is a look at how ticks actually become infected with the pathogen that causes Lyme Disease…

 

Here is a letter we recently received from our participation in the event:

“Wow, what a great event and a beautiful day. Thank you for your participation. You are what made it a very successful day. We counted around 4,000 visitors, to over 90 exhibits, and over 50 volunteers. Our 25th celebration year was the best ever.”

“Again, thanks for a great day, and on to the USA Science and Engineering Festival, April 25-27, at the Washington Convention Center.”

Bob Ekman, Rockville, MD
Rockville Consortium for Science

In addition, Mosquito Squad of West Montgomery educated attendees of the Rockville Science Day about Malaria No More. We are a proud supporter of the Malaria No More campaign which is helping  raise awareness of  Malaria on a global level and helping to provide life-saving tools to help defeat this deadly mosquito-borne illness!

dread-and-kids-in-flowersWe look forward to participating in next year’s Science Day event, and many more upcoming  activities where we are given the opportunity to educate and heighten awareness about the dangers of mosquitoes and ticks here in Montgomery County and the surrounding areas. If you would like to learn more about keeping yourself and your family safe from mosquitoes and ticks this season contact us at (301) 444-5566 or email us at westmontco@mosquitosquad.com

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