1. Who is most at risk for contracting Lyme disease?
Anyone can contract Lyme disease, yet it is more common among active people and those who are often outdoors. Children, athletes, hunters, and outdoorsmen are highly susceptible to the disease just by the nature of their activities. Playgrounds, parks, trailers, fields and even your own backyard are common areas where Lyme carrying ticks are located. High human rates of Lyme disease are directly linked to large deer, mice, chipmunk, squirrel and bird populations. Deer primarily serve as transport hosts by moving infected ticks into areas where people travel and play. Rodents, birds, and white-footed mice are reservoir hosts of Lyme disease and actually infect blood-feeding ticks with the Lyme spirochete. Where these animals are, you’re likely to find Lyme-infected ticks.
2. What is the most effective preventative control method available?
An insecticide application to the lawn and wooded transition zones at your home is the most effective method to kill ticks. These applications should only be applied by a licensed professional pest control operator with knowledge of tick biology and insecticide treatments. Here at Masters Termite and Pest Control, we understand your concerns about the use of insecticides in areas where children and pets live and play. We use absolute caution and have the most updated knowledge concerning how to apply our treatment sprays effectively and efficiently. We also use care when selecting the right product for use, and can even use green products for interior and exterior tick treatment.
3. What causes Lyme disease and how would I contract it?
According to Christopher Donaghy, Board Certified Medical Entomologist, Lyme disease is caused by bacteria in the group known as Spirochetes. Spirochetes are corkscrew-shaped bacteria that bore into and destroy human tissue and organs including the brain, heart, liver, and joint tissue. The Lyme spirochete is transmitted to humans and pets by a bite from the black-legged (deer) tick. After infected ticks bite, Lyme is circulated throughout the body by the bloodstream. Ticks that are crawling on you cannot transmit diseases. Diseases from the tick are only contracted once they become embedded into the skin.
4. How would I know if a tick bite transmitted Lyme disease?
Sometimes there is a bull’s eye rash present soon after the bite; however, this is not a reliable indicator of the problem because the rash does not present itself to everyone, or necessarily on a part of the body that is easy to inspect. The discovery of an embedded tick is a good reason to have the tick properly identified by a certified pest professional, then seek medical advice if concerns associated with the tick arise. Deer ticks range in size from poppy seed to sesame seed sized, making them very difficult to find. Due to this, many cases of Lyme disease go undetected and untreated until chronic and even severe symptoms appear. Symptoms of Lyme disease include:
- Joint Pain
- Chronic Fatigue
- Irregular Heartbeat
- Memory Loss
- Limb Weakness or Numbness
5. How do I remove an already embedded tick?
The tick must be immediately and carefully removed, and a proper removal tool is necessary. There are also specially designed forceps for proper tick removal available. One product that we highly recommend is the Tick Twister. We know firsthand that they work because we have used them for our families and pets. They’re safe and easy to use! If you’re interested in how they work and how to purchase them, just go to www.ticktwister.com. If you choose to use a tweezer, DO NOT grasp the tick by its abdomen, as the pressure will force the tick to regurgitate possible disease microbes into the bloodstream. If you are unable to remove the tick yourself, see a medical professional.
6. What are the removal methods that I should avoid?
NEVER use alcohol, lit matches, cigarettes, insecticides, repellents, gasoline, ammonia, or any other solvent or heat source to remove embedded ticks. Any of these methods may cause the tick to regurgitate into the victim’s bloodstream, increasing the likelihood of contracting a tick-borne illness.
7. What happens if I get Lyme disease?
The nature of your illness will depend on the length of time that Lyme disease goes untreated. Not everyone responds the same way to the disease. Ticks can also transmit more than one type of disease, further complicating a diagnosis and treatment. Left untreated, the disease can cause severe debilitating issues, both physically and mentally. This stage is known as Chronic Lyme and is even more so difficult to diagnose and treat. Early stages of Lyme disease are typically cured with common antibiotics issued by a physician. However, detecting Lyme disease in its early stages is difficult.
8. Can I prevent contact with Lyme disease?
Currently, only a few preventative measures exist to prevent the disease. There are no absolute measures that will prevent people from getting Lyme disease. The best method is to stay away from areas where ticks are prevalent. However, that might include a soccer field, a nature trail or even your own backyard, and most people find that restriction to be unacceptable. Lyme disease is an issue for people, pets, and livestock. Set up a free estimate with our office staff, and we will send our professional technicians to evaluate the situation. We have yard treatments specified for ticks that will aid in maintaining tick infestations and decreasing the population. For more information on tick infestation prevention, click our Tick Free Zone link.