Will the East Asian Tick Spread to the Arlington Area This Year?

east asian tick exterminationThe East Asian tick has made the news in the last few days because it is a new tick species that was identified as being in the United States this year. It was first identified last fall, but efforts were made to eradicate it. Unfortunately, scientists have determined that those efforts did not work, and the species has been established in New Jersey.

Why Are People Concerned About the East Asian Tick?

It is an extremely invasive species that originated in Asia. When it first spread to Australia it caused significant problems for farmers there. The ticks are often found around farms animals, but they can also be found on large animals like deer. The East Asian tick does carry the SFTS virus, which is a new virus that was first discovered in 2009. It has potential for serious complications and scientists worry about a potential outbreak.

How Does the East Asian Tick Spread?

The experts are not sure how the East Asian tick made its way to the United States. However, once it is in the United States, it moves from area to area by attaching itself to an animal that travels from one area to another. As the animals move out, the ticks will spread out across the country. It can also move on farm animals as they are shipped from state to state. With all of these factors, it is difficult to determine just when the East Asian tick will reach the Arlington area.

Are Other Ticks an Issue?

The experts have predicted a record tick season for the state of Virginia. The winter weather was especially conducive to ticks, which means that you need to be sure to take steps to protect yourself from ticks. One of the things that you can do is to be sure to wear insect repellent with DEET in it whenever you visit an area that is prone to ticks. You can also protect yourself by wearing long sleeves and pants. You add additional protection when you tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks. Another step that you can take to protect your family is to treat your yard for ticks.

What Do I Do If I Find a Tick on Me?

You will need to remove the tick right away by using tweezers. Ticks can spread a number of serious illnesses including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. This is spread when the tick regurgitates after feeding. The sooner you remove the ticks the less likely you are to catch an illness.

 

5 Reasons You Should be Talking about Ticks

tick controlMany people never think about ticks. It is not a common that is commonly discussed. However, it is important to raise awareness about ticks and the dangers that they can cause to you and your family. Here are five reasons that you should be talking about ticks.

Ticks Carry Serious Illnesses

Likely the most well-known illness caused by ticks is Lyme disease. However, ticks can spread a number of serious illnesses including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, STARI, and Ehrlichiosis. Generally, these illnesses need to be treated with antibiotics and they can have long lasting effects if not treated soon enough. You can protect your family from these illnesses if you know how to safely prevent getting ticks.

Ticks and Old Wives’ Tales

Another reason to discuss ticks is because there are a number of old wives’ tales that talk about the different ways to remove ticks, but they are not actually safe to do. If you burn the tick with a match or rub gasoline or Vaseline on it, you may cause the tick to regurgitate into you, which increases the changes of you getting a tick-borne illness. Always remove the tick with tweezers by grasping it firmly and pulling straight back. Be sure that you do not leave any of the tick behind in your skin.

Ticks Can Make Your Pets Sick

Animals can become sick from the same diseases that plague people. They also need to be treated with antibiotics to help them recover from things like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The vet can test for these illnesses and prescribe medicine to help them. You should regularly check your pets for ticks and remove any that you find.

Ticks Can Cause Food Allergies

The Lone Star tick can cause some people to develop a severe allergy to meat, primarily red meat, although some people have also developed an allergy to chicken. This allergy will slowly worsen over time and first symptoms may be weeks or months after the initial tick bite. A doctor can test for this. The firs symptoms are feeling extremely sick a few hours after eating meat. It is easy to identify the adult female Lone Star tick because there is a dot on the back of the tick.

Ticks Can Be Prevented

There are things that you can do to prevent being bitten by a tick and to save you from the complications of these illnesses. The first is wear insect repellent when going to tick prone areas. You can also treat your yard for ticks. You should also check yourself after a camping trip or a hike. As you leave the woods, brush off your clothing to make sure you do not bring any ticks home with you.

5 Home Projects to Combat Mosquitoes

how to kill Mosquitoes
Image courtesy of Alvesgaspar CC by 3.0 SA

Mosquitoes are a nuisance for a number of different reasons. While many people focus more on the annoyance of being covered in itchy bites. Mosquitoes actually carry a number of serious illnesses that can affect both your family and your pets. There are steps that you can take to protect your family around your yard. Here are five home projects that can help you tackle mosquitoes.

Clear Out Yard Debris

The first thing you can do is clear out any yard debris. This includes old leaf litter, trash and even old tires that may be on your property. Anything that can collect water or prevents the lawn from drying out completely can make your yard more hospitable for mosquitoes. You should make keeping your yard neat and trim a priority since it can help with mosquito control.

Check Drains Around Your Yard

Another important step is to address the drains that are around your yard. Look at the drains that are coming off your gutters along the roof to be sure that they are draining properly. You should also check the gutters along your roof to make sure that they are not clogged and draining properly. You may have drain pipes around your yard that may be an issue. Check to make sure that there are no areas where water may be collecting without realizing it.

Check Your Screens

Every spring, you should check your window screens to see if they need to be replaced. If there are holes in them or if they are bent from removing them, you will need to replace them. The screens allow you to open your windows to take advantage of cool breezes while keeping the bugs out. You should check the screens to your patio doors and in your screen doors. If you do not have screen doors currently installed, you may want to consider installing them.

Remove Old Bird Baths

Bird baths are another issue that may be causing mosquitoes to be an issue around your property. Bird baths naturally collect water and it is still. If you want to continue to have bird baths on your property, there are a few things you can do to prevent mosquitoes. The first is to add a water feature that will keep the water moving inside of the fountain. The second is to empty the bird baths each week and scrub them out to get rid of the mosquitoes. The third option is to apply larvicide to the bird baths. This option will not harm the birds or other insects.

Check Potted Plants

You should check your potted plants both inside and outside of your home to be sure that they are draining properly. This will prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs in your plants and creating problems. If you regularly have cut flowers in your home, be sure to empty the water in the vases each week and to clean the vases.

Why Do My Pets Keep Getting Fleas Again and Again?

flea controlOnce your pets have fleas, you may treat your pets, only to have your pets show symptoms of fleas again in just a few weeks. Fleas can be difficult to deal with, and it is not enough just to treat your pets. You will need to address your home. When fleas lay eggs, they fall of your pets and land in your carpet. The eggs and larvae will live in your carpet. The eggs and the pupae are difficult to treat with flea powders which is why your pet may become infected again. Here are things you can do to stop your pets from dealing with fleas again and again.

Treat Your Pets

First, you will need to treat your pet with a medicated shampoo. The shampoo will state how frequently you can use it. If not enough time has passed, you will need to do your best to comb the fleas out of your pet’s fur. You should check your pets to make sure they are not developing sores or hot spots. If your pets seem overly tired or miserable, it is a good idea to have the vet check them for complications or other illnesses.

Treat Your Home

If you have had your pets get fleas multiple times in the last few months, chances are that the flea treatments you are doing to your home are not effective. You should contact a professional to come in and perform a treatment for you. In addition, you need to wash your bedding and vacuum your furniture thoroughly. You should not neglect washing your pet’s bedding. You will need to vacuum, and you may also want to have your carpets professionally cleaned to be sure that all the eggs and larvae are removed from your home.

Put Your Pet on a Flea Preventative

There are a few things you can do to stop your pets from developing fleas in the future. The most important is to put your pet on a preventative medication. This can be a flea collar, drops that you apply to the back of your pet or an oral medication. Your vet can help you determine the best option for your pet. If you have been using this type of medication, and your pet is still getting fleas, it is likely time to switch the medications to a different medication or method. Be sure to check with your vet before you make change to make sure it is safe.

Three Ticks in Northern Virginia

Northern Virginia is a part of the country where there a large number of ticks that can spread serious illnesses. Fairfax county reports an increase in rare tick-borne illnesses throughout the country.  There are three basic types of ticks in Fairfax county. Here is a list and a basic description of the ticks.

tick control in Northern VirginiaLone Star Tick

The Lone Star tick is identified by the distinct white mark in the center of the female’s back. Adult male ticks have a dark back with patterns around the edge of the back. The seed ticks are small and brown. The Lone Star tick carries a number of serious illnesses like Tularemia, and STARI. The Lone Star tick can also cause people to develop an allergy to meat. This can be a life-threatening allergy. Many people who develop this allergy must drastically change their diets. The Lone Star tick is considered very aggressive.

 

 

Three Ticks in Northern VirginiaBlacklegged Tick

The blacklegged tick has black legs. The adult male is mostly black. The adult female has a black head and brown body. The legs are black. This tick will transmit Lyme disease, Powassan disease, babesiosis and anaplasmosis. This tick is active throughout the spring, summer and fall. It can also come out of hibernation in the winter to look for a host to feed on.

 

 

Flea and Tick PreventionAmerican Dog Tick

The American Dog tick is brown with a patterned shell.  The American Dog tick is known to spread Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia. This tick is most active in the spring and summer. Some people may refer to it as the wood tick.

Steps to Take If You Are Bitten by a Tick

If you find that you are a bitten by a tick, you will need to remove it using a pair of tweezer. You should pull straight back until the tick detaches. Do not twist because the head may detach from the tick. You will need to kill the tick by putting it on a cotton swab with alcohol on it and then putting it in zipper bag.

If you are bitten, you should watch for signs of a tick-borne illness. Many of them start out the same way with body aches and pains, a fever and a headache. It is similar to a cold, but you will not start feeling better on your own. For several illnesses, a distinct rash will appear on the third day of symptoms. Rocky Mountain spotted fever has a spotted rash that appear on your ankles and wrists. Lyme’s disease will develop a bull’s eye rash, but only about 80% of patients develop the rash. The bull’s eye does not have to be around where you were bitten. STARI will have a rash that develops around the bite and it will expand out in a bull’s eye type pattern.

It is also important to be aware of the possibly of developing an allergy to meat. This can take a few months to develop, and the symptoms usually begin about six hours after you have eaten as your body breaks down the proteins in the meat. It can be a severe stomach ache and body pains, but it can also lead to breathing issues. If you have these symptoms you should ask to be tested.