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.

When Should I Spray for Mosquitos?

You can find mosquitos pretty much anywhere in the world. In fact, there are over 3,500 types or mosquitos. Mosquitos, and their painful bites, can turn a memory-making summertime party or outing into a nightmare all around for everyone and anyone who gets bit. There’s nothing fun about having mosquitoes as uninvited guests no matter what you’re doing outside when the temperatures warm up.

Not only are mosquito bites painful, but since mosquitos also bite animals, their bites can potentially carry diseases like West Nile Virus, several forms of Encephalitis, and others.

Related: Click here to read about our tick treatments + when you should treat for ticks.

If you’re wondering “When should I spray for mosquitos,” the answer is to spray when mosquitos are most active. We understand this by following the mosquito lifecycle. Following this method, you will drastically reduce mosquitos so you can keep you, your family, and any guests bite-and disease-free.

Mosquito Lifecycle

In order to go from beginning to biting, mosquitos go through four stages in their life cycle: Egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Each stage is important to understand when it comes to mosquito prevention.

  • Egg stage: Mosquito eggs are laid on water, and even though these eggs are laid one at a time, once they’re laid, they form a sort of “raft” that floats on the surface of the water. Most eggs hatch and enter the next stage, the larva stage, within 48 hours; however, in the winter months, they can even survive subzero temperatures.
  • Larva stage: Upon entering this stage, the larva live and breathe on the water surface, and during this stage, as they continue to grow, they can shed their skins up to four times. The larva feed on organic substances and microorganisms from the water.
  • Pupa stage: This stage of a mosquito’s life is a resting and non-feeding stage, and the pupae remain in the water. To stay safe, they move around based on how the light changes around them. Going from the pupa stage to the adult stage resembles how a caterpillar become a butterfly: The pupa’s skin will split as it grows, and once it has shed its skin, it’s now considered an adult mosquito.
  • Adult stage: Once the pupa has moved into the adult stage, it will stay on the water’s surface for a little while as it dries off and its body parts harden. An adult will not start feeding and mating for a couple of days after entering this stage. Adult mosquitos can live up to 2 months, but even as they reach “old age” for a mosquito, their kids are already well on their way to taking their parents’ place as far as biting goes since a female will lay more eggs after each “blood” meal.

The one thing to keep in mind with all these stages is one common denominator, water, which leads us right into how to prevent a mosquito outbreak and keep them from getting to the adult stage in the first place.

How to Prevent a Mosquito Outbreak

In addition to regular spraying, which we’ll discuss below, perhaps the best way to prevent a mosquito from even laying eggs in the first place and to keep any outbreaks in your yard as minimal as possible is to keep potential standing water sources free of water. No matter where you live, this is something you’ll want to do frequently year-round, especially after any rainstorms. If you live in a climate that requires you to water your yard, you’ll also want to be aware of where any standing water can happen so you can eliminate these potential sources of mosquitos also. And since you won’t always stay solely in your yard, it’s good to know where mosquitos might be congregating—no matter where you are—so you can avoid mosquito bites as much as possible. Here are some common sources of standing water:

  • Divots in concrete (sidewalks, driveways, etc.) where water can collect
  • Clogged gutters
  • Ponds, lakes, swamps, marshes
  • Damp underbrush
  • Old tires
  • Flowerpots
  • Tree pots
  • Tall, wet grasses and plants
  • Play structures
  • Trash containers
  • Sand box toys
  • Patio furniture
  • Kiddie pools
  • Unused hot tubs and spas
  • Buckets

Basically, mosquitos love anywhere water can collect, so be sure and examine your yard regularly to make sure you don’t have any sources of standing water.

Another thing to remember is that mosquitos bite just as well inside your home as outside, so make sure that inside your home is mosquito-free as much as possible too:

  • Use window and door screens, and make sure to quickly repair any holes.
  • Keep doors closed, including garage doors.
  • Use air conditioning when possible to make it harder for mosquitos to enter your home through open windows and screens.

When Should You Spray for Mosquitos?

Even if you’re ultra-vigilant in eliminating standing water in your yard, we still highly recommend you follow a regular spraying schedule, treating your yard—including all vegetation—about every 21 days once your daytime temperatures reach 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Another mosquito prevention tip is to also regularly trim these areas and keep weeds to a minimum. In addition to spraying, your pest control professional can also install non-toxic mosquito traps, like those offered by in2care.org, which lure, and then contaminate mosquitos, harming both them and any breeding sites they visit. One huge benefit of mosquito traps is that they’re safe for both the kids and pets who enjoy your yard.

Mosquito prevention doesn’t need to feel overwhelming, especially once you understand both how and where mosquitos breed, where they can congregate in your yard, and how to prevent them both through being ultra-attentive to standing water sources and through a regular preventative treatment schedule. Have questions about how to treat mosquitos in your yard or need a prevention professional on your side?

Contact us, and we’ll be happy to put our expertise to work for you and your yard. After all, our goal is to solve your pest problems—especially where those mosquitos are concerned.

Asian longhorn ticks

It’s only a matter of time before Asian Longhorn Ticks are discovered in MA

Asian Longhorned Ticks are here to stay. The big question is, what negative effect will they have on our environment?

We're in the research stage. So far the ticks collected have not shown any signs of disease, and that's a huge relief for now! But that should not be an excuse to lower our guard.

Reported for the first time in the United States in 2017. Asian Longhorned Ticks have been found on pets, livestock, wildlife, and people. What makes the female ticks so worrisome is the ability to lay eggs and reproduce without mating. Unlike native ticks, thousands of Asian Longhorn Ticks can be found at a time, or even on an animal.

In other countries, bites from these ticks can make people and animals seriously ill. This information was gathered from the CDC. As of Oct. 2, 2018, Asian Longhorned Ticks have been found in AR, CT, MD, NC, NJ, NY, PA, VA.