May Is Lyme Disease Awareness Month: Get the Facts Straight

castor bean tick, ixodes ricinus
Photo: Erik Karits/123RF

Lyme disease is a scary but preventable illness. According to the CDC, approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported each year in the United States, but an estimated 300,000 are diagnosed annually. Nymph ticks, which are most active in the spring, are most likely to transmit the infection and are the size of a poppy seed, making them hard to see. May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and East End Tick & Mosquito Control President Brian Kelly, along with Tick Wise Education’s April Boitano, have some tips to help with prevention.

1. Spray monthly between the months of April and October to control ticks on your property.

2. Always use a repellent when going outdoors and get into the habit of checking yourself afterwards. Pro tip: Have someone else check your back and areas you can’t see.

3. Put a fence around your yard to help keep deer and other animals out of your yard.

4. Keep your pets confined to your landscaped lawn and never allow them to enter the woods and use a tick repellent such as Frontline. If you travel with your pet, make sure you check them afterwards.

5. Teach your kids about the dangers of going into the woods and uncharted territory. Get them into the routine of checking themselves after being outdoors and don’t forget to check them yourself.

6. Buy a tick removal kit and keep it handy at all times and learn how to properly remove a tick.

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

8. Ivy and other sorts of ground cover are tick hot spots—avoid them at all times.

9. As part of your spring yard cleanup, eliminate tick habitat by raking and removing leaves that have blown into your yard edges and under shady vegetation.

10. Ticks don’t jump or fly—they climb up.

11. Ticks are rarely found higher than 2’ off the ground.

12. You are 74 times less likely to have a tick climb up your leg if you spray your shoes and socks with permethrin.

East End Tick & Mosquito Control, along with Tick Wise Education, will host a symposium on Saturday, May 18 from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. at the Sea Star Ballroom of the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead. The symposium will present leading experts in the field of tick-borne illnesses, including Dr. Robert Bransfield and Dr. Daniel Cameron, pediatric tick-borne illness expert Dr. Rosalie Greenberg, and local Lyme pioneer Dr. Joe Burrascano. There will be presentations and book signings by activist and author of $lyme, Jenna Luché-Thayer and author/producer Kris Newby with her newly released book Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons. The presenters will discuss topics including tick borne illnesses, Lyme testing challenges, new treatments for Lyme disease and more.

The multiple exhibitors in attendance include IGeneX Laboratories, 3 Moms Organics and the Peconic Healing Center. Visit the vendor gallery during the allergy-friendly buffet lunch for an opportunity to meet and greet with representatives and owners of business in the field. The event is open to the public, and costs $55 per person.

For more information on East End Tick & Mosquito Control, visit

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