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Soaring Mice Populations in the Northeast May Lead to Higher Incidence of Lyme Disease this Season

According to a recent article published by NPR last summer’s soaring mice population in the Northeast may suggest a surge in Lyme Disease this season.

The Hudson River Valley experienced a mouse plague during the summer of 2016. Along with the subsequent nuisance caused by their arrival, researchers are now concerned this may spell trouble. The research was conducted by Felicia Keesing, an ecologist at Bard College, and her husband, Rick Ostfeld, who is an ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, NY. The couple has studied Lyme Disease for over 20 years. One of the warning signs stemming from that research included being able to predict a spike in Lyme Disease based on counting the number of mice present the previous year.

Where is the connection?

Mice, specifically white-footed mice, which are prevalent throughout the Northeast, are key transmitters of Lyme Disease. As the article pointed out, “They infect up to 95 percent of ticks that feed on them. Mice are responsible for infecting the majority of ticks carrying Lyme in the Northeast. And ticks love mice. An individual mouse might have 50, 60, even 100 ticks covering its ears and face,” Ostfeld says. Other wild animals groom themselves, and in turn, eradicate many of the ticks from their bodies. However, the white-footed mouse tolerates the invasion of ticks.

Last summer’s mice increase can be attributed to many factors, including the weather, a dwindling population of natural predators that feed on the mice and even infrastructure changes as part of the Northeast’s growth. The correlation between more mice and Lyme Disease incidence is a simple cause and effect scenario. The mice harbor the bacterium that causes the disease ; the ticks feed on the mice becoming infected and then increase the probability of spreading the disease to you.

We can help keep you protected!

Mosquito Squad of Boston Metro South deploys a dual approach to gain control over your property. It involves the use of our long-perfected mosquito & tick barrier treatment, which eliminates adult ticks and mosquitoes on contact. Our time-released formula creates a barrier on your property that continues to work for up to 3 weeks. Perfect for immediate results, our tick spray is a great solution to eliminating today’s tick problem.

For long-term protection, we recommend tick tube implementation twice a year. Made to work with the tick’s natural life cycle, our tick tubes eliminate tomorrow’s generation of ticks today. Tick tubes are cardboard tubes stuffed with treated cotton, and mice take the cotton to their dens for nesting material. When larval and nymph ticks enter the den on the mice, they are eliminated on contact. Tick tubes are a great solution in areas where Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases are prevalent. Ticks do not become infected with most tick-borne illnesses until they have their first blood meal from mice and other small rodents. By eliminating ticks at this phase of life, we limit the spread of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.


Treated cotton from tick tube in a rodent den

Tick tubes exponentially lower the population of ticks on your property as you continue to use them. With each tick eliminated you prevent future generations from being born. Over time you’ll enjoy fewer ticks, which means you’ll spend less time picking them off of yourself, your children and your pets and more time enjoying your Hingham area backyard again.

Our effective proactive approach will help keep you, your family and your pets protected from ticks and mosquitoes and the diseases they carry. Call Mosquito Squad of Boston Metro South today at (781) 297-0123 or email us at [email protected]. You can also fill out a contact form by clicking Alert the Squad to your left.

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