When it comes to tick management, the vast majority of pest management professionals (95 percent) say they use residual pesticides in various formulations. Four out of five say a residual pesticide is their primary control measure, and 40 percent add an insect growth regulator (IGR) to stop larvae and nymphs from developing into adults.
Jason Julio of Last Bite Mosquito & Tick Control in Red Bank, N.J., says his team adds a granular application to their standard misting treatment for one in five or six customers. “The liquid product we use controls ticks as well as mosquitoes, but in cases where customers have a particular concern about ticks, or where ticks are an ongoing issue, we also apply a granular pesticide to form a barrier around the house and at the property line,” he explains.
Brian Nauert of Bugs By Brian uses a granular pesticide for perimeter treatments, too, in conjunction with a liquid around mulch beds and dense shrubbery. “We also spray about 10 feet into the woods line, concentrating on tree trunks and underneath the trees, about waist-high or so — maybe 4 feet up and 10 feet in,” he says.
Of course the layout and condition of a property play into the treatment protocol.
“Properties can be challenging when they have a lot of shaded areas with dense vegetation close to the ground,” says Mike Peaslee of Modern Pest Services. “Technicians need to look for these conducive areas, as well as brush piles and structures that provide shelter, and be especially thorough with applications there.”
Treat the Rodents, Manage the Ticks.
Although only 4 percent of survey respondents use rodent control as their primary control measure for ticks, more than a quarter (26 percent) do incorporate rodent control into their service. Makes sense: Rodents are a popular host for ticks, so keeping them out of customers’ yards can go a long way in managing infestations.
“When we walk a property during our inspection, we look for signs of rodent activity: burrows, droppings, grease marks — anything that might indicate the presence of rodents,” says Todd Barber of Barber’s Best Termite and Pest. “If we determine that rodents are an issue, we explain to the homeowner why it’s critical to eliminate them to successfully eradicate the ticks.”