Types of Ticks in Massachusetts

Ticks, those hard-shelled, teeny tiny little freckled-looking bloodsuckers are pretty much anywhere, and they can actually be found in one variety or another in all 50 states. Ticks can quickly turn a fun time outdoors into a not so fun time of removing them from hair and skin, and since they love so many aspects of the outdoors, it can be difficult to avoid them. That’s not to mention all the disease they carry. Here are some of their favorite places to hang out:

  • Grassy areas
  • Wooded areas
  • Trees
  • Low hanging and fallen tree branches
  • Shrubs
  • Wood piles
  • Leaf piles
  • Yard debris
  • Bird feeders (they can live on the birds that feed)
  • Stone walls and other fixtures where moisture can collect

Most Common Ticks in MA

Ticks reside across the US, here are the most common varieties that can be found in Massachusetts and what they look like:

  • Deer ticks (also called black-legged ticks): Deer ticks are usually a rust color with darker legs. They are about the size of a sesame seed pre-feeding and are also flat and oval-shaped.
  • Dog ticks: Dog ticks also have a flat and oval-shape, but they’re more of a brown color with grayish-whitish markings.
  • Lone Star ticks: This variety of ticks has a single spot on the female’s back; hence, the name “Lone Star.” These ticks are also a rust color. Unfortunately, this breed of ticks likes humans more than other varieties.

What disease do ticks carry in Massachusetts?

When you feel those creepy crawls on your body, it’s easy to forget they transmit some serious disease (many of which have no cure) that can be expensive to treat. It’s important to remember that ticks can carry more than one disease. Below is a breakdown of which diseases are associated with each variety of tick in Massachusetts:

  • Deer ticks: This type of tick is known for carrying some diseases that probably sound foreign to you like Powassan disease, tularemia, babesiosis, bartonella, and anaplasmosis, but deer ticks are most commonly known for carrying lyme disease. The symptoms of lyme disease can include headache, fatigue, skin rash, and fever, and if it’s not treated or treatment occurs much later after the tick bite, these symptoms can turn into an infection that affects the joints, the heart, cognitive functions (short term memory loss and confusion), and the nervous system.
  • Dog ticks: Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia are the diseases carried by dog ticks. The symptoms for Rocky Mountains spotted fever, the most well-known of these two diseases, can include the following: fever, muscle and/or stomach pain, headache, vomiting, nausea, lack of appetite, and rash.
  • Lone Star ticks: This variety of ticks can also carry tularemia, which can be rare, as well as ehrlichiosis. The symptoms for this disease can include the following: rash, severe headache, nausea (with possible loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea), confusion, fever and chills, and muscle aches.

How to safely remove ticks

It’s important to remember that treating your outdoor spaces for ticks is the best way to eliminate them from your yard and stop them from biting you, your family, and your pets.

Click here for our tick and mosquito control solutions 

Even though you try your hardest to not become a tick’s latest victim, it does happen, so it’s important to understand the safest way to remove a tick. According to the CDC, here is the best way to remove a tick:

  1. Fine-tipped tweezers are the best instrument to use, and you’ll want to grasp the tick as close to the surface of the skin as possible.
  2. Then, pull upward without twisting or jerking the tick, using steady and even pressure. If you do twist or jerk the tick, it can cause some of its mouth to remain in the skin, and you the pressure itself can cause the bacteria to enter your blood stream. If it’s not possible to remove the entire tick, leave it alone for healing.
  3. Once the tick has been removed, clean the entire area and your hands (or wear protective gloves) with soap and water. Alcohol is a cleaning option also.
  4. You never want to crush a tick with your fingers, so instead, put it in a sealed container or bag.

While you might think you want to discard that tick, think again. Once you’ve been bitten by a tick, the most important thing to remember is to make sure you keep that tick and send it to a lab for testing. Blood tests test for antibodies (your immune reaction to the bite), whereas a lab test is more accurate than a blood test and tests for the spirochete. This way, you’ll know exactly what bacteria the ticks had when they bit you as opposed to waiting on your body to produce antibodies.

And while it can be common to associate a bullseye mark at the tick bite site on your skin with contracting lyme disease, this isn’t always the case. In fact, only 20-30% of people will get a bullseye as a reaction to a lyme infection. That’s why it’s crucial to get tested just in case.

When and how to treat for ticks in Massachusetts

In order to successfully treat your yard for ticks, you need to understand the life cycle of ticks. Ticks go through 4 stages:

  • The Egg Stage
  • The Larva Stage
  • The Nymph Stage
  • The Adult Stage

Ticks become active biters once they enter the adult stage, but it’s important to treat your yard throughout a tick’s life cycle to hopefully get rid of them before they hit the adult stage.

Related: Read more about a tick’s life cycle here and how to treat your yard. 

It’s also important to be aware of where ticks might like to live in your yard (like we mentioned above) so you’re able to treat all potential tick-infested areas correctly. Here are some important items to keep on your yard maintenance to-do list:

  • Mow grass regularly.
  • Remove yard debris frequently.
  • Plant pest-resistant plants like geraniums, thyme, citronella, and eucalyptus, or consult with your local nursery for the best options in your area.
  • Install a protective barrier between your yard and other yards or wooded areas. This can be as simple as adding gravel, bark, or wood chips on the perimeter of your yard.
  • Keep wildlife out of your property, as they can be tick carriers.
  • Keep pets properly groomed and check them for ticks when they’ve been outside.
  • Apply tick prevention chemicals as directed OR contact a pest control professional.

 

When it comes to tick prevention and yard treatment, at EcoMosquito, we use the “Ladder Approach” to treatment by beginning with the most eco-friendly method possible and working our way up from there if needed.

Most properties see tremendous results with the first method we use; however, some properties may take two or more treatments with our upgraded methods to achieve optimal tick control. No matter if you’re looking to begin a tick prevention program or have found active ticks on your property, we’re here to help.

Contact us today.

Where Do Mosquitoes Lay Eggs?

Mosquitos, one of the most common yard pests, can quickly turn a nice weather fun time into a nice weather not-so-fun time due to those annoying and painful bites they like to inflict on anyone and everyone in your yard. While the lifespan of an adult female mosquito is relatively short—only a couple of months, during those couple of months, a female mosquito has the potential to lay up to 500 eggs. Multiply that number of eggs by all the mosquitos that can swarm your yard, and you’ve got a lot of mosquito eggs that can turn into more mosquitos, multiplying the mosquito problem exponentially.

Related: Learn more about a mosquito’s life cycle + when you should spray here 

Types of Mosquitoes in Massachusetts

There are eight types of mosquitos that are common to Massachusetts, and all eight species like to feed on human blood. And while you think you might be able to escape mosquito bites in spring or fall when the temperatures might not be so hot, you are wrong. The mosquitos most commonly found in Massachusetts mosquitos, of one species or another, are active in spring and fall and in all the months in between.

There really isn’t a “safe” time of day to avoid mosquito bites in Massachusetts either. While it’s commonly believed that mosquitoes are most active in the dusk and nighttime hours, at least one species is also active in the daytime. 

Here’s another “fun” mosquito fact: While most mosquito eggs hatch in 1-3 days depending on the temperature, researchers found that eggs left in moist environments can last for up to 12 months, and they can still hatch and continue on the life cycle after all those months of enjoying that moist environment.

Do Mosquitos in Massachusetts Carry Diseases?

Not only are mosquito bites painful and annoying, but mosquitoes carry diseases as well. If you’re wondering, “Do mosquitos in Massachusetts carry diseases?” The short answer is: YES!

While there are many different diseases stemming from mosquito bites throughout the world, in Massachusetts, the most common mosquito-spread diseases are West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. These illnesses can cause symptoms ranging from a mild fever to more serious diseases like meningitis or encephalitis, both of which can be life-threatening in extreme cases. For this reason, alone, preventing mosquitoes from laying their eggs in the first place becomes the priority in any yard pest prevention plan.

 

Where Do Mosquitoes Lay Eggs?

If a yard—or any part of a yard—isn’t maintained regularly, especially from spring to fall, that yard can be a prime breeding ground for mosquitoes since an untended yard often means not only standing water but vegetation overgrowth also. And any overgrowth can be an optimal environment for mosquito eggs to thrive. The key here is to make sure your yard is regularly maintained so overgrowth and standing water are kept to a minimum. Even if you keep up with your yard regularly, there are several places you may not even think of when it comes to mosquito breeding. Scroll down for more.

Standing Water: No matter the species of mosquito, they all have one thing in common when it comes to laying eggs: Water. So, what’s the best way to prevent a mosquito infestation in your yard? Go to that egg-laying source: Water. Namely, standing water. Let’s break down some common sources of standing water in your yard and what you can do to prevent mosquitos from ruining your outdoor fun.

Flowerpots: While water is needed to grow flowers, if too much water is used in a flowerpot, it results in standing water and the potential for mosquito eggs. Since mosquito eggs take very little standing water to thrive, even the tiniest bit of standing water can be a home to mosquito eggs. To prevent this, make sure you’re watering flowers only as much as needed and remove any water left in the pot or in the pot drainage tray.

Puddles: It seems like a no-brainer where mosquitos and standing water are concerned, but if you have areas in your yard—both in landscaping and on hardscaping—where puddles accumulate, it would be a good idea to address these areas to make sure any standing water is as minimal as possible. With landscaping, some extra fill dirt as well as a proper drainage plan can solve the problem, and with hardscaping, it might be best to fill in these areas permanently to prevent continuous standing water due to irrigation or rainstorms.

Bird Feeders: While it’s fun to watch birds play in the water in your bird feeder, if that water is allowed to go stagnant, it’s also a fun place for mosquitos to lay their eggs. Either change out the water regularly, or if the water isn’t being enjoyed by your neighborhood birds, remove it regularly, especially after any rainfall.

Empty Tires or Yard Debris: Empty tires can be fun play structures for kids (as well as awesome workout equipment!), but when left to collect water, empty tires can become prime structures for mosquito eggs if water is remaining after irrigation or a rainstorm. Yard debris can also be a favorable breeding ground for mosquitos as it’s often left for periods of time, during which it collects standing water.

Rainwater Barrels: Collecting rainwater to use for irrigation purposes can be earth-friendly as well as budget-friendly; however, when these barrels are not tightly sealed, mosquitos can get into them and lay their eggs. And since rainwater barrels are a consistent source of standing water, this can be problematic if the barrel isn’t properly maintained.

Gutters: Standing water in gutters can be a prime mosquito breeding ground since they’re more difficult to maintain due to their decreased accessibility. And since gutters are often placed on a home’s entire perimeter, there’s a lot of places for mosquitos to lay their eggs. In order to prevent this option for mosquito breeding, be sure and remove any leaves and other debris from gutters regularly and make sure gutters are maintained as well to avoid any mosquito issues.

 

Contact us for any of your mosquito concerns, whether it’s about preventative spraying or understanding how to best treat for mosquitos in your yard, as well as for any pest control questions in general. We’re here to put our expertise to work for you and your yard.