Nearly half (49 percent) of PMPs said the frequency of tick infestations increased in the past year, according to the PCT 2020 State of the Tick Control Market survey.
“We’re certainly seeing an increase in tick issues in our state, especially in more rural areas,” said Mark Constantino, Arkadia — Eco Pest Control. “The more homes that they build next to forests with a dense deer population the higher the risk of coming into contact with a deer tick that carries Lyme disease,” he said.
Others reported few tick issues. “I have never had to treat for ticks in my area in my 13-plus years in the industry,” said Ryan Ewalt, owner of Victory Pest Control, Myrtle Beach, S.C. “There just aren’t very many cases of ticks around here,” he says.
Rodney O’Quinn, Keller’s Pest Control, believes the pet medicines prescribed by veterinarians have significantly impacted tick populations. “That I believe is probably the biggest factor as to why our tick business and flea business has basically become extinct,” he said.
The PCT survey found the largest number of tick service calls in 2019 were due to brown dog ticks (28 percent), American dog ticks (27 percent), blacklegged ticks (18 percent) and lone star ticks (10 percent). While more than a quarter (27 percent) of PMPs said no particular species posed a control challenge, almost a quarter (24 percent) said the brown dog tick is the most difficult to manage.
The pests are vectors of numerous diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports their bite can transmit bacteria that cause Lyme disease, tularemia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, Powassan virus disease, Heartland virus and anaplasmosis, among other illnesses.