If you thought the threats faced from the immeasurable number of deer ticks and wood ticks just wasn’t quite enough, we can now welcome a new threat – the Lone Star tick. The Lone Star tick, known for its ability to move quickly and above average aggression, is migrating north due to warmer weather. Being relatively new to the area, you may have never even heard of this tick. It has disease-carrying potential and, therefore, at Mosquito Squad of Boston Metro South we want to keep you as well informed as possible on any newly arriving threats, whether it’s from mosquitoes or ticks.
How to Identify a Lone Star Tick
Without question, the female Lone Star tick is the most easy to identify. This is due to the lone white mark in the center of their back. They’re also slightly larger than average deer ticks. They move quickly and have begun their takeover in Massachusetts due to several years of warmer than usual conditions.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “The Lone Star tick is a concern, but not for Lyme Disease. Many people, even health care providers, can be confused about whether the lone star tick causes Lyme disease. It does not. Patients bitten by lone star ticks will occasionally develop a circular rash similar to the rash of early Lyme disease.” The Lone Star tick does transmit Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI).
What is STARI?
Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness has the following symptoms:
- muscle pains
Treatment consists simply with taking an oral antibiotic. With decades of studies completed, the exact cause of STARI remains unknown. Lone Star ticks are also responsible for transmitting diseases such as: Tularemia, Ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Being carriers of such potentially lethal diseases as well as being extremely aggressive biters, the Lone Star tick is undoubtedly a danger to both you and your pets.
How Likely is it for Your Pets to be Bitten by Lone Star Ticks?
According to a recent article by CBS Boston, “In recent months, local vets have seen a 220% increase over last year in the number of tick-borne illnesses in dogs.” According to the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA), the Lone Star tick is three times as fast as Lyme Disease-carrying Deer Ticks and have excellent vision. To make things worse, they also tend to attack animals in swarms. While they do not carry Lyme Disease, Lone Star ticks do carry both Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and a white blood cell infection that can be deadly to pets.
Other Effects of a Lone Star Tick Bite
A relatively unknown, until recently, effect of the bite of a Lone Star tick is the allergies which can be caused. According to a recent article by PBS, " …researchers think the Lone Star tick produces a sugar from its gut called galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose, or “Alpha-Gal.” In some cases, the human immune system develops an allergic response to that sugar. Because Alpha-Gal is also found in red meat, a bite by the Lone Star tick may translate to an allergic reaction to anything from beef hamburgers to bacon. Repeated tick bites can potentially cause the antibody level of Alpha-Gal to rise, worsening reactions."
The severity of the allergy is quite severe. The same article notes, "Hives are the most common symptom, but others include swelling and symptoms linked to anaphylactic shock, such as vomiting, diarrhea, trouble breathing and a drop in blood pressure, according to a report by the Vanderbilt University Medical Center: “Persons with the allergy can go into a delayed anaphylactic shock four-six hours after eating red meat,” the report reads.”
According to a different article written by the Lowell Sun, “Proteins found in their (Lone Star ticks) saliva are similar to those found in red meat and cat dander, meaning one bite can lead to a lifelong allergy to either.” Being unable to eat your favorite cut of red meat, or ever again be around your or anyone else’s cat are scary revelations. Take back your yard with a protective barrier spray by Mosquito Squad of Boston Metro South!
In order to keep your yard safe and free of disease carrying ticks, call America’s most trusted mosquito and tick control company. To get season-long protection for your yard, call Mosquito Squad of Boston Metro South today at (781) 297-0123, email us at [email protected] or click the “Alert the Squad” button to the top right. We look forward to hearing from you soon!