Do ticks keep you inside?

trailsI don’t know about you, but if it is sunny and warm outside, that is where I am! It’s probably not news to you by now that this is a banner year for ticks. Unfortunately those parasitic little buggers love to make us their lunch by hitching a ride on our clothing or exposed skin.  Having a little tick bite would not be such a big deal if they did not carry illnesses like Lyme Disease to infect your family and pets.  It is important to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our pets from ticks whenever we can.

tickBeing that it is summer in the Northeast, ticks are quite prevalent right now.  If you plan on being outdoors at all, you always have the possibility of encountering ticks.  Be sure you are dressed properly for all situations.  If you know you will be in a tick infested area like the park or in the woods, wear long pants and tuck them into your socks.  The less amount of skin exposed the better! Wearing lighter colored clothing can also help you see ticks if they climb on you.

If you do find a tick that has latched on, be sure to remove it promptly with a set of tweezers.  Grab the tick by its head as close to your skin as possible.  Steadily pull the tick up and out of your skin being careful not to jar it too much.  You want to try your best to get it out in its entirety.  Once it is out, be sure to wash the area, your hands and the tweezers with either rubbing alcohol or an iodine solution.  If neither is available, soap and water are fine.

Try to avoid ticks when you can.  But if you do get bit, pay close attention to the wound for signs of a rash.  Contact your doctor if you have any symptoms like rash, lethargy or you generally feel ill.

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Ticks a big problem this year

It’s a problem that’s only getting worse: ticks.

Walking on trailsLocal veterinarians are seeing more this year than last year. And the concern is the type of tick they’re seeing and the disease it’s known for carrying. They’re called black legged ticks or “deer ticks,” and they carry Lyme Disease. Up until about a couple years ago, local veterinarians rarely saw them, if ever. Now they’re seeing them on a daily basis.

My dogs and I get out a lot, we love going to the state park, and walking the wooded trails near our home, but recently we are finding numerous ticks! So far this year we have had 9 ticks between the dogs and the kiddos. It feels as though we are being attacked.

With the long winter, many people assumed the ticks wouldn’t be as bad this year, but a local veterinarian says the opposite has happened.

“I think what happened is the ground got so frozen, the ticks like to be buried down in the ground and so it’s made them come out even worse this year,” said a local veterinarian in town.

What’s even more troubling is the rise in black legged ticks. They’re much smaller than the common brown dog tick, but pose a bigger threat because they carry Lyme disease.

A whopping 95% of dogs show no symptoms. In fact, the veterinarian says they can live their entire lives without any problems, but the remaining five percent will get swollen joints. If the disease spreads to the kidney, it could actually be fatal to your dog.

ImageBasically for animals the thing we want to do is we want to get them tested for sure, make sure they don’t already have it, and if they do, then we want to treat them and then make sure you’re putting on your monthly flea and tick preventative. This is something we do already, but want other people to do the same

Veterinarians say black legged ticks spread from Michigan, Wisconsin and the east coast. Deer, rodents and birds serve as hosts, allowing the tick to travel long distances.

If you find a tick on you or your pet, don’t panic. The CDC says if you remove it within 24 hours, you can greatly reduce your chances of getting Lyme Disease. You can call  your local veterinarian for more information about protection for your furry companions.

 

 

 

Do Mosquitoes Serve A Purpose?

What Purpose Do Mosquitoes Have?

What is the purpose of a mosquito?
What is the purpose of a mosquito?

Mosquitoes seem to serve no other purpose than to be the uninvited guest at all of our outdoor functions. They buzz, they bite, and just seem to annoy everyone! It is hard to imagine life without mosquitoes, but can we survive without them

We know they make great food for birds, frogs, fish, spiders, and other animals. Mosquitoes make up a small part of the diet of some, but others like the mosquitofish, which specializes in eating the larvae, might become extinct. But most other animals already eat enough of something else, or could change their diet, so they wouldn’t go hungry without mosquitoes.

Without mosquitoes disease among humans would decrease, if the mosquitoes that spread malaria, dengue fever, encephalitis, west nile, and other sicknesses all disappeared! With that being said, fewer people would die, so we would have more people here on Earth, especially in the countries that are already having trouble supporting their populations. Humans would be healthier, more productive, and would not have to spend time caring for so many that are sick.

Plants need pollination
Plants need pollination

Mosquito Larvae consume organic matter in the wetlands, helping recycle nutrients back into the ecosystem. Different larvae and other water dwelling creatures also do the same and could take over that job. Adult mosquitoes feed on nectar as well as blood–in fact, nectar is all the adult males eat. Plants may suffer due to lack of pollinators if mosquitoes stopped visiting.

When imagining a world without mosquitoes, you must imagine that they were killed in a way that was harmless to other creatures, and that’s part of the reason we can’t just eliminate them, as much as we’d like to! Insecticides will kill not only the mosquitoes, but other animals too. Even specially targeted natural larvicides, kill a few closely related species such as black flies and gnats.

The thought of every living thing having a vital place in nature may not be enough to plead the mosquito’s case. So even though mosquitoes don’t seem to have a purpose, other than to cause us annoyance and misery, we can’t just get rid of them right now, without doing more harm to other species that are more useful.

Don’t Count Ticks Out Just Yet

Female Deer Tick

Fall is a beautiful time in Michigan.  The leaves begin to turn bright orange and red.  The air is crisp, but not too cold.  It’s a great time to be outdoors.  If you’re planning on spending any time outside this fall, plan on looking for adult deer ticks.

Through October into mid-November adult ticks are still active.  They are in search of a blood meal before winter arrives.  Usually they prefer deer, but they’ll settle for humans if they have easy access.  Unfortunately, adult deer ticks tend to carry disease organisms, such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis or ehrlichiosis.

 

 

HERE’S SOME INFORMATION TO HELP PROTECT YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES!

Where do ticks live?

Leaf piles or litter, mulch piles, plant shoots, woodpiles, shrubs and weedy areas.

What’s the best way to control ticks?

Treating the perimeter of your yard will help prevent ticks from migrating across your lawn.  Crashing the adult population now will help reduce the number of eggs, larvae and nymphs you see next year.  If you’re seeing a lot of adult ticks around your property, you’re most likely going to be seeing a lot more in the spring.

If you live in an area with ticks, create a tick-safe zone around your home.

  • Remove leaf litter, tall grasses, and brush around the home and at lawn edges.
  • Separate lawn from surrounding wooded areas with a band of gravel or wood chips to limit tick migration.
  • Keep the lawn mowed.
  • Don’t place swing sets or outdoor living areas near surrounding woods.

How can I protect myself from ticks outside?

Before spending time outdoors, apply an insect repellent with DEET to clothes and exposed skin. Make sure to wear light-colored clothing so ticks are easy to spot. Tuck shirts into pants and pants into socks to keep ticks outside clothing.  Ticks aren’t picky, they’ll latch on anywhere.

If you have been in a tick-infested area, check for ticks, especially in skin folds (beneath arms, behind ears, groin area).  Check your head and neckline as well.  Wash clothing in hot water and dry for an hour at high heat to kill ticks that may be hiding in seams.

Don’t forget to check your furry companions for ticks after your adventures.

How should I remove a tick?Tick Removal SpoonHow to Remove a Tick

If you find a tick attached to you it should be removed promptly.  Generally speaking, a tick transmits pathogens after 24 hours. Ticks should be removed with needle-nose pliers or a tick spoon.  Firmly grasp the tick as close to the head as possible and pull straight upwards.  Take care not to break the tick.  Sanitize your tweezers or tick spoon and disinfect the area where the tick was attached.

For more information contact Mosquito Squad at 1-877-MOSQUAD or visit our website.

Labor Day – How To Keep The Mosquitoes Away!

Labor Day and Your Special Day – How To Keep Mosquitoes Away

Dread Skeeter tells those mosquitoes "bite me"

With the Labor day holiday upon us, many households will be hosting backyard celebrations. All the preparations, guest lists and planning you are working on should also include mosquito and tick control and prevention. Special events are an important time to make certain that you and your guests don’t get bitten while outdoors at your home or special event.

Mosquitoes and ticks are vectors for illnesses such as Lyme disease, West Nile Virus and many other dangerous and debilitating diseases. Don’t put you or the health of your guests at risk. Even though autumn is right around the corner, and many feel that summer is coming to an end, we are actually in the height of mosquito and tick season. Now more than ever it is important to stay focused and keep your property protected from mosquitoes.

Mosquito

Mosquito Squad of the West Michigan and Grand Rapids is still receiving requests for mosquito and tick control for other special events such as wedding, graduation and birthday parties as well as other special events. Many of these events are larger in size than your average backyard barbecue and seating accommodations are sometimes placed near taller grasses or back up to the edges of your property or wooded areas.  Cases such as this make it crucial to treat your property to kill ticks as well as mosquitoes, since high grass and bushes are where ticks like to hide.

Mosquito Squad spraying your yard

Aside from any special upcoming event, mosquito and tick control will also ensure you can enjoy the rest of your summer in your yard without the threat of being bitten. Even though the kids are back in school and vacation time has come to an end, there is no reason you can’t enjoy the long afternoons outside with your family and friends. Anytime can be special, even the smallest moments.

Call us now to make sure your Labor day celebration or other special event goes off without a hitch. We are now taking appointments to have you safe and sound for the Labor day weekend. Our safe and effective barrier sprays kill mosquitoes and ticks and prevent mosquitoes from entering the treated area as well. Don’t delay call today. Call us today for a free quote • (616) 994-8220

Ticks in Michigan

Are you aware of the most commonly found ticks in Michigan? If not, read through this to be noted on what ticks to look for in your area!

The American Dog tick is by far the most common tick found in Michigan. It is active from early May-November. It will readily bite humans and our companion animals. This species is the vector of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia, and is easily distinguished by it’s ornate scutum.

Another is the Kennel tick, this species is unique in its ability to survive and breed in indoor environments. It is the vector of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, canine babesiosis and canine ehrlichiosis. Hygienic practices in shelters/kennels can prevent infestations.

Emerging as a serious public health concern in Michigan, the Black-legged tick is the vector of Lyme disease, granulocytic anaplasmosis, and babesiosis. This tick readily quests for hosts in the low vegetation of forests with abundant small mammals and white- tailed deer; accumulating along human and game trails.

Known by its distinctive “Lone Star” marking, this tick is becoming more prevalent in Michigan. It will readily bite people and our companion animals, and is the vector of monocytic ehrlichiosis and tularemia. This tick is common in wooded areas with populations of white-tailed deer.

Often confused with the Black-legged tick, Ixodes cookei is common in Michigan and will readily bite dogs and humans. People and pets will often come in contact near the dens of animals (skunks, woodchucks) in wooded environments. This species is the vector of Powassan encephalitis.

Go to this website for images of these ticks so you can be familiar if you ever see them.

http://www.michigan.gov/documents/emergingdiseases/5commonticks_282020_7.pdf

 

Lyme Disease in the “Lyme” Light

The number of reported cases of Lyme disease, as well as the number of geographic areas in which it is found, has been increasing. To help prevent this we must become educated.

First, you should know where Lyme disease originates from and thats from ticks. There are all types of ticks but one of the most common are deer ticks. They are most often found in wooded areas and nearby grasslands, and are especially common where the two areas merge, including neighborhood yards where deer occasionally roam. Ticks do not survive long on sunny lawns, they dry out quickly and die.

In the early stages of Lyme disease, you may experience flu-like symptoms that can include a stiff neck, chills,fever, swollen lymph nodes, headaches, fatigue, muscle aches, and joint. You also may experience a large, expanding skin rash around the area of the tick bite known as a “bulls eye” rash. In more advanced disease, nerve problems and arthritis, especially in the knees, may occur.

Lyme disease may be difficult to diagnose because many of its symptoms mimic those of other disorders. Although a tick bite is an important clue for diagnosis, many patients cannot recall having been bitten by a tick or are in the 1/4 of patients who do not have the visible “bulls eye” rash. For someone not to have known they’ve been bitten isnt unusual; for the tick is very small and the bite is normally harmless.

In general, the sooner such therapy is begun following infection, the quicker and more complete the recovery. Antibiotics are taken orally for two to four weeks and can speed the healing of the rash and can usually prevent subsequent symptoms such as arthritis or neurological problems

To prevent Lyme disease from getting to your family:

Check yourself, your family, and your pets routinely for ticks, especially after a trip outdoors. Shower and shampoo your hair if you think you may have been exposed to ticks. Check your clothes for ticks and wash them immediately in order to remove any ticks. Wear long sleeves and tightly woven clothing that is light in color when walking in wooded areas so the ticks can be seen more easily. Wear your shirt tucked into your pants, and your pants tucked into your socks or boots. Walk in the center of trails through the woods to avoid picking up ticks from overhanging grass and brush. Keep grass trimmed as short as possible.

You can also call Mosquito Squad of Grand Rapids to spray your yard for mosquitoes, ticks and fleas.

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