Ticks aren’t just nuisances to our pets, they are dangerous for both humans and animals. In Michigan including the Greater Lansing areas, tick-borne illnesses include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tularemia, and Ehrlichiosis. These diseases can cause painful symptoms, and in some cases, Lyme disease can cause fatal organ failure in dogs. Ticks love to hide out in cool, shaded spaces or drop from trees, which are also places where kids love to explore. Our barrier treatment service in the Greater Lansing area eliminates adult ticks and fleas, and we offer additional services to disrupt the life cycles of these pests and prevent them from returning. For fleas, we add a growth regulator to the barrier treatment. For ticks, we offer tick tubes that eliminate young ticks.
Preventing encounters with ticks is the best way to avoid tick-borne illnesses. And while you can’t keep ticks out of public parks and hiking trails, you can protect yourself in the place where you spend most of your outdoor time, your own yard.
1. Clear Out
Reduce tick exposure by clearing out areas where lawn and tree debris gather. Ticks thrive in moist, shady areas. Locate compost piles away from play areas or high traffic.
Eliminate leaf litter and brush by cleaning it up around the house and lawn edges, mow your grass regularly and keep the lawn short.
3. Choose Plants
Select plants and shrubs that are not attractive to deer and/or install physical barriers to keep deer out of your yard. Check with your local nursery to determine the best choices for your area.
4. Check Hiding Places
Know tick hiding places and check them frequently. The base of fences, brick walls and patio retaining walls are popular hiding places.
5. Care for Family Pets
Family pets can suffer from tick-borne disease and also carry infected ticks into the home. Talk to your veterinarian about using tick medication. As with all pest control products, be sure to follow directions carefully.
6. Call in the Professionals
Our Mosquito Squad professionals utilize both barrier treatments, that eliminate adult ticks on the spot, as well as “tick tubes” that effectively eliminate nymph ticks.
Mosquito Squad can eliminate 85-90% of all ticks in your yard for the entire season. We use our traditional barrier treatment starting from the perimeter of your property all the way in, paying extra close attention to all of the shady cool places ticks like to hide. The barrier treatment eliminates ticks on contact and continues to work for up to 3 weeks with our timed-release formula.
For additional protection we place our tick tubes twice a year to eliminate larval and nymph ticks as they nest with the rodents on your property. Tick tubes contain specially treated cotton, which enters the tick’s feeding cycle when the cotton is dispersed by mice and other small mammals that are common tick hosts.
Here at Mosquito Squad, we realize that some of your outdoor activities are not all taking place in your own yard. Read on to learn about the most common tick-borne illnesses and what to look for if you should happen to get a tick bite. Whether you are going camping, hiking, canoeing, or just to a backyard barbecue in an untreated yard, you need to be aware of what to watch out for to stay safe and healthy.
Ticks can be carriers of several tick-borne diseases including:
Below we will provide the information about tick-borne diseases our Michigan homeowners should know about.
Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by ticks. In most cases, Lyme Disease in Michigan is contracted from Blacklegged tick (deer tick). Typically, infections occur through the bites of immature ticks called nymphs. Nymphs are tiny (less than 2 mm) and difficult to see; they feed during the spring and summer months.
In Michigan, there are over 20 species of ticks, however the top three ticks found in Michigan are the American Dog tick (wood tick) — 75 percent found on people and companion animals —Blacklegged tick (deer tick), and the Lone Star tick.
The Ticks not known to transmit Lyme disease include the American dog tick, Lone star ticks, the Rocky Mountain wood tick, and the brown dog tick.
Adult ticks live in brushy wooded areas, tall grass, leaf piles and along the base of fences and brick walls.
How Do I Know If I have Lyme Disease?
One of the first signs of Lyme Disease is a red, expanding rash called erythema migrans (EM) otherwise referred to as a bulls-eye rash. The rash occurs in about 70-80% of Lyme disease cases at the site of the tick bite usually within 3-30 days after being bitten. During that time you may also experience fatigue, fever, chills, headache, muscle and joint aches and swollen lymph nodes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) if left untreated the infection may spread from the site of the bite to other parts of the body causing various symptoms that may come and go. These symptoms include: bulls-eye rashes on other areas of the body, Bell’s Palsy (facial paralysis), severe headaches and stiff neck due to meningitis, pain and swelling in large joints, shooting pains, heart palpitations and dizziness due to change in heartbeat (Lyme carditis). Many of these symptoms will resolve on their own in weeks or months, but left untreated could lead to further complications and even death.
If you experience any of these symptoms and believe you have been exposed to blacklegged tick (deer tick), see your doctor immediately. A trained professional will help diagnose you with a combination of observed signs and symptoms, your history of tick exposure, and finally laboratory blood tests. Blood tests are not a perfect science for Lyme Disease in that they measure for your body’s immune response to the pathogen, not the pathogen itself. This means it is extremely difficult to get an accurate early diagnosis without a full report of symptoms and exposure from the patient.
Other tick-borne illnesses are becoming more widespread with the growth of the tick population. These diseases are less common but still dangerous and can even be deadly. Knowing how to prevent tick bites and infection is important, but it is critical to know what signs and symptoms to watch for after a bite or exposure to ticks.
Anaplasmosis and Babesiosis are both transmitted by the black-legged, or deer tick. Both diseases are most prevalent in Northeast and Upper-Midwest United States. Both have some very similar flu-like symptoms: fever, chills, nausea, headaches and body-aches. That is where the similarities stop. Anaplasmosis and Babesiosis are very different infections.
Anaplasmosis is caused by a bacteria. When treated promptly with antibiotics, patients usually recover often with no lasting effects. However, Anaplasmosis can be fatal when not treated correctly or in patients with a compromised immune system such as those being treated with chemo therapy. Signs of a severe case of Anaplasmosis can include kidney failure, neurological problems, difficulty breathing, or hemorrhage.
Babesiosis is caused by microscopic parasites. These parasites infect red blood cells which can cause a special type of anemia called hemolytic anemia. Jaundice (yellowing of the skin) and dark urine are signs symptoms to watch for. Babesiosis can be especially dangerous and even life-threatening to people who don’t have a spleen, are elderly, have a weakened immune system, or who have other serious health conditions.
Both Anaplasmosis and Babesiosis are diagnosed with a combination of observed symptoms, history of exposure, and studying blood smears under a microscope. It is critical to pay attention to your body after you’ve been exposed to ticks or pulled a tick off of yourself to recognize the symptoms early and seek proper treatment.
Transmitted by the Lonestar Tick, commonly found in southeastern and southcentral United States, Ehrlichiosis is a broad term covering several different infections. Ehrlichia chaffeensis, Ehrlichia ewingii and Ehrlichia muris are the three bacterial infections that fit under the broader term. Symptoms develop in 1-2 weeks after being bitten by an infected tick.
While symptoms of Ehrlichiosis vary from patient to patient they can include fever, headache, chills, malaise, muscle pain, nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, confusion, conjunctival injection (red eyes), and rash. The rash presents in up to 60% of children and less than 30% of adults.
If not treated properly Ehrlichiosis can be fatal even in previously healthy people. Individuals who are immune compromised appear to develop a more serious case of the disease and a higher fatality rate. Severe cases can present themselves with difficulty breathing or bleeding disorders. 1.8% of Ehrlichiosis cases result in death.
If caught early, patients will be given a course of antibiotics to take at home. If the case becomes severe or is diagnosed late it may require intravenous antibiotics and prolonged hospital care.
Similar to other tick-borne infections, diagnosing Ehrlichiosis is dependent upon symptom observation and history of exposure. Blood tests to confirm are not accurate in the first 7-10 days and should not be waited for to start treatment.