With the country gradually re-opening, this July 4th weekend is sure to be one of the most celebrated in a long time. Safely gathering with family and friends this Independence Day weekend will be the highlight of summer with its cookouts and fireworks. But all the siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins might not be the only ones who show up to your party. Ticks and mosquitoes love a good party, too.
Our nation’s birthday falls in the middle of Black-legged Tick (aka Deer Tick) nymph activity time. With the mild winter we had tick populations are at an all time high. The nymphs of this pest are small, about the size of a poppy seed. This species of tick is the kind that carries Lyme disease.
There is a 25 – 30% chance that a nymph deer tick is infected with Lyme disease. This is the stage most likely to transmit Lyme disease because they are so small and hard to see, and their bite is typically painless. If they can remain attached for at least 24 hours, they will be able to transmit disease if they are infected.
Not all tick bites will lead to illness or disease, but you should contact your doctor if you’ve been bitten and especially if you develop a rash or any other signs of an illness.
Ticks live throughout most of the United States but to learn about the different types of ticks here in Tennessee including how ticks can transmit diseases or how to remove a tick, click here.
Ticks aren’t the only pests out there looking for a warm body on which to feed. And like ticks, the mosquito population has surpassed what would be considered normal for this time of year.
There are many different types of mosquitoes found in the Tennessee and Mississippi areas. The type of environment where they can breed varies greatly. Some breed in the salt marshes along the coast; some in the calm waters of ponds, others in the temporary floodwaters that result from heavy rains at any time during the season. Some grow only in the stagnant water found in items like old tires, outdoor pots that don’t drain well, or a forgotten birdbath or dog bowl.
Only adult mosquitoes can fly and only the female mosquito bites to suck blood but not all types of mosquitoes prefer to bite humans. Mosquitoes can transmit different germs and diseases including West Nile Virus.
Avoidance – not going where the ticks are – is probably the simplest way to protect yourself. Ticks need moisture and protection like that found under a nice heavy leaf cover in the wooded areas. They also need plant material to climb up on. This doesn’t include trees. Ticks do not climb trees and drop on people’s heads. Ticks are often found on the head because of the plentiful blood supply in the scalp, but they get there by climbing up from the lower legs.
Keeping away from any wood lines and keeping to the center of any path you take through the woods will reduce your exposure to these pests. Ticks also like tall grass so regularly mow your lawn and avoid walking through high grass in the woods or along an open field. When you have to work in these areas wear long pants and make sure to check yourself and loved ones for any of these little buggers right away.
Avoiding mosquitoes isn’t quite as easy. They can fly significant distances and can breed in many different habitats as discussed above. While you may not be able to do anything about the salt marsh or other wetland around your house, you can take a walk around your property and clean up anything that will hold standing water and serve as a breeding area.
One of the best ways to control both ticks and mosquitoes is with a monthly application of a control product. Organic options act mainly as insect repellents as it only kills any pest that comes in direct contact with the application before it dries. Chemical controls will kill mosquitoes and ticks for up to 30 days and some will prevent mosquito eggs from hatching.
There are DIY products out there to help prevent or kill these pests but most of those products have a limited effectiveness. Applying more effective products should really be left to the professionals. A certified applicator will also follow all laws regulating the application of these products and take all appropriate precautions to protect our pollinators.
While it is not possible to eliminate mosquitoes entirely, since they can continue to migrate into your landscape, consistent monthly applications can significantly reduce mosquito populations.
Looking for more information on insect control or just ready to let the professionals take over your lawn care needs? The Lawn Jox team is ready and willing to answer any questions you have and can provide you a free quote on your lawn care services for the season. Contact our local office today!