Spring has arrived and after being stuck inside all winter, we can’t wait to get outdoors but it’s important to remember ticks are active and the time to start preparing for Lyme Awareness Month is NOW. Not convinced? A recent scientific study collected 2,000 deer ticks and nearly half were infected with Lyme disease! What’s even scarier is that 13% carried the pathogen which causes life threatening babesiosis, 9% Anaplasmosis, 2% Borrelia miyamotoi and 1% Powassan encephalitis which took the life of New Yorker a couple years ago.
Acorns are used to estimate the size of a given year’s tick population because they are food for mice, which ticks LOVE to feed on. More acorns = more mice = more ticks, and the 2020 fall crop was HUGE. The Lone Star, Asian Longhorned and Dog Tick can also be found on Long Island and Lyme Diseases isn’t the only tick-borne diseases these ugly creatures carry BUT 20-50% of the ticks on the East End of Long Island are infected with Lyme disease and 70% of all people who are diagnosed are bitten in their own yard!
The Lyme disease infection is caused by Borrelia, a spirochete that is transmitted by the bite of the blacklegged tick. The dominant mammalian reservoir for tick-borne diseases is the white-footed mouse and when ticks feeds on infected mammals, they also become infected and may transfer the disease to human or mammal when they feed again in their life cycle.
Early stages of Lyme disease can include a “bull’s eye” like rash for up to 60% of Lyme cases but the remainder show no rash at all! Other symptoms can include chills, fever, fatigue, headache, swollen lymph nodes, muscle and join pain. If left untreated, Lyme can lead to serious medical complications such as arthritis, heart and nervous disorders, Bell’s Palsy, miscarriages, stillborn births, meningitis, numbness, pain and neurological damage.
The Lone Star Tick, more common in the South with an expanding northern range which includes Suffolk County, is active from early spring through late fall. This tick transmits various pathogens such as Ehrlichia chaffeensis, E. ewingii, Francisella tularnesis and the Southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI). All stages of the Lone Star Tick bite humans and the saliva can be irritating and cause redness and discomfort, but that doesn’t always mean its infected. The alpha gal meat allergy has also been reported in humans that have been bitten by the Lone Star Ticks.
Adult male and female American Dog Tick’s will bite humans but the larval and nympal stages feed primarily on rodents. They can transmit Francisella tularensis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever and your greatest risk of being bitten is during the spring and summer.
New to the United States in recent years, The Asian Longhonred Tick, which is indigenous to Eastern Asia. First spotted in Suffolk County in 2018, these ticks can be found in a variety of habitats which include meadows and grassy areas located near forests. These ticks will bite on humans, pets, birds, livestock and wildlife, but they appear to be less attracted to human skin. The scary thing with this tick is that they can reproduce without mating, which is called parthenogenesis, which means female ticks do not need males to fertilize their eggs. No cases of illness have been reported in humans or animals to this date but research is ongoing.
Protect yourself and your family this season by calling the experts and scheduling your first spray of the season. This application is important because it sets the stage for the entire season by targeting emerging adult ticks which are questing for a blood meal & currently laying eggs on your property as we speak. Call East End Tick Control today and put your worries at ease.
Please call East End Tick and Mosquito Control (Southampton: (631)-287-9700), (East Hampton: (631)-324-9700), (Southold: (631)-765-9700) directly to schedule your spray.