Tick Tips: Illness Prevention Is Better Than the Cure

Tick in human skin
Stop ticks before they get this far! Photo: kalcutta/123RF

Once the weather begins to warm, the threat of tick-borne illness, such as the easily preventable Lyme disease, escalates. Brian Kelly, tick control expert and owner of East End Tick & Mosquito Control, strives to educate East End residents about this imminent threat in order to help decrease the number of tick related illnesses in our communities!

“Summer 2017 is going to be a horrendous tick season on the East End,” Kelly says. “This past fall was a monumental season for acorns and, unknown to many, it’s a telltale sign that ticks and Lyme disease will boom this year.” Huh? “Acorns are a food source for animals such as squirrels, deer and mice. The abundance of food means a population explosion of small mammals is looming and therefore, a dramatic increase in crawling, questing ticks.”

During the spring and early summer months, the transmission of Lyme disease is most commonly caused by the bites of immature ticks called “nymphs.” They are less than 2 millimeters long, comparable in size to a poppy seed. Thus, they are difficult to see and the bites are painless. In addition to their small size, ticks typically attach to hard-to-see areas of the body such as the groin, armpits and scalp.

What exactly is Lyme disease? It’s an acute inflammatory bacterial infection that has been nicknamed “The Great Imitator” because its symptoms are similar to those of many other diseases, affecting any organ of the body, including the brain and nervous system, muscles and joints, and the heart.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 30,000 reported cases of Lyme disease in the United States each year. Studies show that 50% of ticks on the East End of Long Island are infected with the disease and that 70% of all people who are diagnosed with Lyme disease are bitten in their own yard.

As the summer truly gets underway, it’s critical to prepare. As Kelly always says, “Prevention is better than a cure.” Here are a few tips he offers to help ensure a healthy, and fun, summer season.

1. Remember, ticks can be found anywhere. It’s important to use repellent when going outdoors and to check for ticks often.

2. Keep pets confined to your landscaped lawn and never allow them to enter the woods or woods’ edge

3. Implement a professional rodent control program around your home to reduce the number of ticks on your property.

4. Remind children of the dangers of going into the woods and uncharted territory. Teach them how to check themselves for ticks.

5. Keep a tick removal kit ready so you are well prepared if you do come across an embedded tick.

6. Keep your grass cut short and don’t over water your plants and shrubs. Ticks are attracted to long grass and cool damp areas.

7. Ivy and other sorts of ground cover are tick hot spots and should be avoided.

8. Spray monthly from April through October to control ticks on your property.

East End Tick & Mosquito Control is the East End’s first and only tick and mosquito control specialist, established in 1997. Licensed under the Department of Environmental Conservation, the fully insured company is committed to keeping East Enders safe with the most effective and environmentally responsible treatment programs that feature necessary and specialized equipment as well as alternative options to harsh pesticides. Recognized by the Lyme Disease Foundation, East End Tick & Mosquito Control is a member/sponsor of Empire State Lyme Disease Association and Time for Lyme, as well as a supporter of Southampton Hospital’s Tick-Borne Disease Resource Center. tickcontrol.com

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