We’ve all heard about the infectious tick-borne Lyme Disease but have you heard that the month of May is Lyme Disease Awareness month? You have now. While Lyme Disease is not be as prevalent in Alabama as it is around the New England states, the ticks that carry the disease are in our area, and unfortunately can transmit the disease to us and our pets.
Because of the lower incidences of Lyme Disease in the South, cases are often misdiagnosed and not reported. The misdiagnoses are due to initial symptoms being similar to the flu – headache, fever, chills and muscle and joint aches. Who wouldn’t think they had the flu?
The one symptom that may help identify the disease is a red “bulls-eye”rash that can occur, but does not always. If left untreated, arthritis and additional neurological disorders can present themselves and have lasting effects. Luckily, the disease seems to respond well to antibiotics if diagnosed early and properly.
So, how do you get Lyme Disease, and more importantly, how do you avoid it? Lyme Disease is cause by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorfer, and transmitted through a bite of the black-legged tick, or as it commonly referred to, the deer tick. These ticks can be very small in size, about the size of a poppy seed, and difficult to see. Prompt and proper removal of a tick is important. The longer the tick remains on your body, the better chance it has to spread the disease. If you think you may have Lyme disease, call your doctor and if you would like more information contact our friends at Alabama Lyme Disease Association.
Avoiding ticks is the best way to protect from Lyme Disease. Mosquito Squad of Birmingham can help eliminate ticks in your yard with our dual-step intensive tick control treatment. We start by applying our barrier spray every 21-days to the foliage in your yard, where ticks reside. Our barrier spray eliminates these ticks (as well as mosquitoes and fleas) on contact and creates a virtual barricade around the perimeter of your yard to keep additional ticks from entering. We follow the barrier spray treatment with our Mosquito Squad Tick Tubes. The tick tubes contain treated cotton favored by rodents for nesting material. The cotton, while safe for the rodents, is taken back to their dens where the younger nymph ticks reside and are eliminated on contact. The combination of these two treatments not only eliminate up to 90% of ticks in your yard, they also eliminate future generations of ticks from developing.
You also can help, by doing a few DIY tips to clean up your yard. We call them the 6 C’s!
CLEAR OUT. Reduce your tick exposure by clearing out areas where lawn and tree debris gathers. Ticks thrive in moist, shady areas and tend to die in sunny, dry areas. Locate compost piles away from play areas or high traffic areas. Separate paths or play areas with wood chips or gravel. Don’t position playground equipment, decks and patios near treed areas. Cameron also recommends rubber mulch under playground sets and faux turf for smaller areas that take a lot of wear.
CLEAN. Eliminate leaf litter and brush by cleaning it up around the house and lawn edges, mow tall grasses and keep your lawn short. “Keeping your yard clean means more than just a spring and fall clean up,” Cameron said. “Before you mow, take a walk around your house and yard to determine what needs to be fixed, cut or thrown away.”
CHOOSE PLANTS. If you have deer in your area, you likely have ticks. Select plants and shrubs that are not attractive to deer and/or install physical barriers to keep deer out of your yard. Cameron recommends bellflower, corydalis and big root geraniums, but check with your local nursery to determine the best choices for your area.
CHECK HIDING PLACES. Know tick hiding places and check them frequently. Fences, brick walls and patio retaining walls are popular hiding places. Rake, and keep yard trash and plants at least 12 inches away from the fences, walls and foundations.
CARE FOR FAMILY PETS. Family pets can suffer from Lyme and other tick-borne diseases and also carry infected ticks into the home. Talk to your veterinarian about using tick collars and sprays. As with all pest control products, be sure to follow directions carefully. “If you personally wouldn’t spend time in your yard due to ticks, then please, don’t send your pets out there. Be sure to check your dog each time they are in the yard, so ticks don’t make their way into the house,” Cameron added.
CALL THE PROS. “With more than 30,000 new cases of Lyme disease diagnosed annually, consider professional help to ensure your yard is tick-free,” Cameron said. Pros utilize both barrier sprays that can kill live ticks on the spot as well as “tick tubes.” Strategically placed, “tick tubes” prompt field mice to incorporate tick-killing material in their bedding, effectively eliminating hundreds of tick nymphs found in each mouse nest.
About Mosquito Squad
With more than 200 franchise locations nationwide, Mosquito Squad specializes in eliminating mosquitoes and ticks from outdoor living spaces, allowing Americans to enjoy their yards, outdoor living spaces, special events and green spaces. The Squad has been a proud supporter of Malaria No More since 2011. For more information, visit www.MosquitoSquad.com and www.OutdoorLivingBrands.com.