LIVINGSTON, N.J. — The New Jersey Pest Management Association is educating homeowners about the link between ticks and Lyme disease, and reminding them of this spring/summer threat.
“As much as we all look forward to the spring and summer months in order to enjoy the outdoors, unfortunately there’s always the threat of ticks that spread Lyme disease.” said Leonard Douglen, executive director, NJPMA.
Douglen notes that approximately 20,000 news cases of Lyme disease are reported each year to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making it the most common vector-borne infection in the nation.
“The mysterious aspect of Lyme disease,” says Douglen, “is the way it can show up months and even years after the initial infection. It’s a neurological disease that shows up in a variety of symptoms. Pest management professionals are trained and equipped to knock down a population of ticks when they occur either outside or inside a structure.”
Most commonly ticks seek a blood meal from humans because their victims have been enjoying the outdoors, possibly gardening, walking in wooded areas or if their pet has brought the ticks inside a home or apartment with them. The blood is vital to their ability to reproduce.
“I know it sounds counter-intuitive to enjoying the outdoors,” says Douglen, “but people of all ages need to wear long-sleeve shirts and pants, both of which should be treated with a barrier such as permethrin. Exposed parts of the body should be treated with DEET. Both cause ticks to avoid people thus protected.”
The most common source of the ticks is generally agreed to be the Garden State’s large deer population that is estimated to be anywhere from 70,000 to 100,000. There is a species of tick, the black-legged tick, that is often called a deer tick.
Pet owners are familiar with dog ticks, but there are several species of this arachnid that shares a sub-class with mites. Once established, ticks can become a pest in houses, apartments, in kennels, veterinary clinics, and other structures.
“It is important to keep in mind that ticks are not just specific to deer,” says Douglen. “They will take a blood meal, drop off deer, and hitch a ride with squirrels, chipmunks, and other animal specie, including birds, that commonly inhabit people’s yards.”
Douglen says “tick infestations are particularly difficult for a do-it-yourself approach because ticks do not make themselves easily visible, preferring crevices and dark, humid places, inside and throughout the gardens, bushes, and other vegetation around a home or other structure.”
“Trained pest management professionals know where to look,” says Douglen, “and they come equipped with the proper, approved pesticides that will create a barrier of protection indoors or out.”
The New Jersey Pest Management Association was founded in 1941 and is affiliated with the National Pest Management Association. Its members are all licensed and certified by the New Jersey Department of Environment Protection. The Association maintains an Internet site at www.njpma.com.