Tis the season when many of us begin thinking about ticks. As we move into the autumn, ticks and the illnesses they carry, are a primary concern in backyards all over Massachusetts. While ticks can remain active all year-long if the weather conditions are right, the adult stage of the deer tick is most active during the seasonal weather changes between summer and fall. Adult deer ticks are most common and pose the biggest threat during the month of October in much the same way the nymph deer tick is most active as the weather changes between spring and summer.
There is also a misconception that only tiny, nymph ticks are capable of spreading illnesses such as Lyme Disease. This is certainly not true as these ticks are capable of spreading disease during the adult phase. It is estimated that more than half of all deer ticks are infected with Lyme Disease-causing bacteria. Lyme Disease, however, is not the only tick-borne illness New Englanders need to be aware of; Powasson Virus is also a concern in our area.
According to a recent article on Worcester’s Telegram.com, the state is seeing an increase in the number of people contracting Powassan Virus. Unlike Lyme Disease, which can be treated successfully with antibiotics if caught early, there is no current treatment for Powassan Virus. Two men from Cape Cod have already perished from the virus this year. One of the men was from Falmouth and the other was from Sandwich, both of which had been bitten by a deer tick.
“In addition to the deaths of the two Cape men this year, the journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases, reported that two Massachusetts men — one age 82, the other age 49 — died in 2015 and 2014 after contracting Powassan and demonstrating symptoms ranging from dizziness, nausea and vomiting to a fever and headache” — according to an article from The Cape Cod Times. Additionally, Between 2006 and 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), received reports of 68 cases of neuroinvasive Powassan, mostly in Wisconsin, Minnesota, New York and Massachusetts. Eight of which resulted in death.
Since 2013, fifteen cases of the potentially deadly virus, including two this year, have been reported in Massachusetts, according to the State Department of Public Health. The DPH said the Powassan cases were reported in Barnstable, Essex, Middlesex and Norfolk counties.
One of the best ways to reduce your risk of contracting a tick-borne illness is to exercise common sense practices when venturing into areas where ticks are likely. The CDC provides a helpful guideline for hikers and campers outlining the best way to stay protected.
On the homefront, Mosquito Squad of Boston Metro South offers a combination of techniques to get rid of ticks in your yard and keep them from coming back. First, we treat the entire property with our barrier control application, which eliminates adult ticks on contact. This treatment will last for up to 21 days before it has to be reapplied.
Once the mosquito treatment is in place, we can put tick tubes in strategic locations throughout your yard to entice mice. The biodegradable tubes are filled with treated cotton that the mice will naturally use to build their nests. Most juvenile ticks get their first taste of blood from mice, so they are exposed to the treatment when they go to feed. The result is a yard for you and your family to enjoy.
If you have a tick problem on your property or you want to prevent one from developing in the first place, contact Mosquito Squad of Boston Metro South to learn about our innovative tick control solutions.
Call Mosquito Squad of Boston Metro South at (781) 297-0123 for a Free Consultation!