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Forward Thinking Pest Control

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EHS Pest Control

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Got Voles? Try this first

25 May 2018

Posted by John D. Stellberger

EHS Pest Rodent Expert

Simple and helpful information from our professional partner Victor Woodstream Havahart to help reduce Meadow Vole populations.

Voles are attracted to areas with abundant cover and food potions. By maintaining the cleanliness of your yard and reducing the amount of thick vegetation, you can begin to keep voles from returning to your property. Some steps you can take include:

  • regularly mowing your lawn
  • pulling weeds
  •  tilling soil
  •  removing falled birdseed, berries and nuts
  • cleaning up all other brush and debris that may provide cover.

Contact us for additional information.

Is there really a 'big epidemic' of tick diseases? CDC warns about 7 new viruses

23 May 2018

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Experts say we can expect each tick season to be worse than the last.

A recent afternoon walk turned into a tick attack for a Massachusetts man.

As community forester Derek Lirange was hiking around the Tower Hill Botanic Gardens in Worcester on May 16, he spotted a few ticks on his pants. Within a few more minutes, there were five or six more ticks, followed by more and more. By the end of the hike, he counted 26 ticks.

I hadn't taken every precaution, such as spraying with insect repellent, but I was wearing long pants and socks," the 26-year-old told TODAY. "It was a creepy, ongoing discovery."

Luckily, none had embedded. But the spike of the tick population in the gardens led to the cancellation of a spring walk around the reservoir.

Welcome to the new tick season. No one knows exactly how many ticks are out there, but the skyrocketing cases of tick-borne diseases recently reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides indirect evidence that the little bloodsuckers are becoming more numerous, said Alfaro Toledo, an assistant professor in the department of entomology at Rutgers University.

“It’s a big epidemic affecting the entire East Coast,” said Toledo. “Witness the spread of the deer tick to the north and west.”

And it’s not just deer ticks we now have to worry about. The numbers of Lone Star ticks, which can trigger an allergy to red meat, are also on the rise and their habitat continues to expand, Toledo says.

In its recent report, the CDC said there have been seven new tick-borne viruses discovered to infect people since 2004.

Why more ticks?

One big factor leading to the so-called tick explosion is the overall warming trend. But there are several factors beyond warming weather driving the rise in tick numbers, experts say. One is the booming numbers of deer and rodents. Deer, which are the preferred hosts of adult ticks, are increasing in numbers, “because basically there are no predators anymore,” Toledo says.

More deer means more female adult ticks go on to lay eggs.

High numbers of rodents also drive the numbers of ticks. After hatching from eggs, tick larvae attach to rodents to feed and, unfortunately for us, pick up diseases like Lyme and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Once the larvae get their meal of blood, they move on to the next phase of their cycle, the nymph stage, which is when they’re most likely to latch on to a human.


EHS Pest - Types of Ticks

Ticks in the Northeast Rutgers-New Brunswick Center for Vector Biology

Though both nymphs and adults can transmit disease, the nymphs are more likely to do so because of their small size. Adult ticks are big enough to be easy to spot and get rid of before they can pass on diseases like Lyme. Nymphs are much smaller and often attach long enough to transmit disease without our ever spotting them.

And while deer ticks are most likely to be the ones transmitting Lyme and lone star ticks, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, dog ticks and a new invader, the Longhorned tick, can also carry and transmit disease.


EHS Pest - Mosquito, Ticks and Bedbugs

Experts used to tell people they’d be safe from tick bites if they kept their lawns mowed and stayed out of wooded areas—and that’s still mostly true for deer ticks. But Lone star ticks and dog ticks, which both can carry diseases and bite humans, are perfectly happy roaming through mowed lawns, said Matt Frye, an entomologist at Cornell University.

Frye says we should just accept that every year now is going to be a bad tick year. That means we should get serious about examining our bodies for ticks. “You should do a tick check every day, like you brush your teeth every day,” he said.


EHS Pest - Ticks in the muffin

Can you spot the five ticks in the muffin? The CDC caused a panic when it tweeted that ticks can be as small as a poppyseed. CDC

The situation isn’t entirely hopeless. Though there are no real natural enemies of ticks, researchers are working on some ingenious ways of knocking their numbers back. One method currently being tested in communities with high numbers of ticks is to treat rodents with tick-killing substances, Frye said. Boxes baited for the rodents give them a dose of the same tick poison used to protect dogs.

The idea is that if you can lower the numbers of ticks that make it to the nymph stage, fewer people will be infected. That method is still being tested, so it won’t help any of us right now.

In the meantime, if you do spot a tick and want to know what kind it is and whether it’s carrying a disease, you can send it to a lab for testing, said Laura Goodman, an assistant research professor at Cornell.

She suggests you place your tick in a sealed, escape-proof container and ship it to Cornell or one of the other certified labs around the country. One of the best ways to kill the tick, Goodman says, is to place the container in your freezer. The shock from going directly from warm weather to freezing temperatures will be enough to do in your tick, she said.

For safe tick solution, contact EHS Pest.

Rodent Tracking

22 May 2018

Posted by John D. Stellberger


Rodents travel pathways into and inside of buildings. Many of these trails are laced with pheromones that communicate safe pathways, territories and mating cues.

We humans secrete sebum to protect or skin and hair. Rodents tend to travel the same pathways, this material gets deposited on surfaces and leaves a trail or grease mark. Combined with urine, these trails contain pheromones that orient rodents within their environment.

Dr. Matt Frye knows about tracking rodents. He is a company favorite that inspires us to be better.

For rodent tracking, removal and extermination, contact EHS Pest.

What to Do If You’ve Been Bitten by a Tick

21 May 2018

Posted by John D. Stellberger


There’s nothing more frightening than coming in from a glorious day spent outside to find a tiny, blood-sucking parasite feasting on wherever it decided to call home on your body. But fear not: Brian Chow, infectious disease physician at Tufts Medical Center, says you don’t need to avoid going outside all summer. If you take the right precautions, the chance of disease from these nasty creatures can be avoided.

“The best way to avoid tick bites is to wrap all exposed skin when you head out into heavily wooded areas,” Chow says. “Other effective precautionary measures include using an insect repellant containing DEET or wearing clothes that have either been soaked, or pre-impregnated, with permethrin. Whereas DEET only repels insects, permethrin kills on contact.”

In the past couple years the scare of tick-borne illnesses has risen, and although Chow says they’re not particularly sure why that is, as they continue to monitor and track them, they think it might have to do with the change in micro climates. He says the only ticks that do transmit disease are the black leg ticks or deer ticks—the very tiny ones. As if trying to find a sesame seed-sized insect wasn’t hard enough!

“Especially during this time of year, the baby ticks are out in higher numbers and can be smaller to see,” Chow explains. “If you spend a lot of time outdoors, it’s important to do a tick check. The hardest places to see them are at the hairline, armpits, or groin.”

He recommends also hopping in the shower and scrubbing the body with a brush to dislodge the ticks before they have a chance to bite. If you do happen to get bitten, though, Chow says that you have a lot of time to figure out if they’re on you, and to get them off, as it does take anywhere from 24-48 hours for a tick to transmit a disease.

“The tick has to find a place on your body, bite you, and then get so full it regurgitates back into you,” he says. Um, gross. “If you’ve been bitten, take tweezers right around the head where it’s attached to the skin and pull straight up. You don’t want to burn or smother the tick.”

According to Chow, the most common diseases that are transmitted by ticks are lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and babesiosis. Lyme disease is often characterized by the bullseye rash and later signs can include headache, fever, bell’s palsy, and meningitis, he says. Both anaplasmosis and babesiosis, which mostly cause fever, present very quickly, but Chow says that some people will fight off the diseases themselves. Anyone with weakened a immune system is more susceptible, however.

Although he reassures us that these diseases can be cured by antibiotics, don’t take your chances this summer—avoid becoming a tick’s late night snack and take a pair of tweezers to that sucker ASAP.

To find out more about ticks and how to deal with them, contact EHS Pest.

Source: Boston Magazine

Tick invasion cancels event near Wachusett Reservior

18 May 2018

Posted by John D. Stellberger

​BOYLSTON, Mass. — A local group planning a nature walk to see how trees were recovering from the Asian Longhorned Beetle Infestation abruptly canceled its plans after the organizer discovered dozens of ticks crawling on him during a scouting walk.

"Due to an unreasonable risk presented by the spike in the tick population, the walk has been cancelled," the Worcester Tree Initiative wrote in a post to its followers.

Dereck Lirange was planning to lead the walk on trails around the Wachusett Reservoir. He said he found 26 ticks crawling on him while checking out the mile-long route on which he was planning to take the group.

"That was way higher than anything I ever experienced," Lirange said.

The discovery is likely an early sign of a nasty tick season ahead this summer.

Over the past 12 years, Massachusetts has been one of the states with the largest number of reported cases of tick-borne diseases, with over 50,000 cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Boston Globe reported that, in Massachusetts, in 2017, nearly 8,700 people tested positive for Lyme disease, up from 5,829 four years earlier.

For safe tick solution, contact EHS Pest.

The CDC says diseases from ticks, mosquitos, and fleas have tripled in recent years. Here’s what Massachusetts residents need to know.

09 May 2018

Posted by John D. Stellberger

A local health official and an infectious disease doctor break down the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ticks are displayed that were collected by South Street Veterinary Services in Pittsfield, Mass.
–Ben Garver / The Berkshire Eagle via AP, File

By . Dialynn Dwyer

Don’t forget your bug repellant as you make your summer plans.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report last week that the number of illnesses caused by mosquito, tick, and flea bites more than tripled in the United States between 2004 and 2016.

“Zika, West Nile, Lyme, and chikungunya—a growing list of diseases caused by the bite of an infected mosquito, tick, or flea—have confronted the U.S. in recent years, making a lot of people sick. And we don’t know what will threaten Americans next,” CDC Director Robert R. Redfield said in a statement. “Our Nation’s first lines of defense are state and local health departments and vector control organizations, and we must continue to enhance our investment in their ability to fight against these diseases.”

Local experts began cautioning in early April that ticks alone in particular would be a headache for New Englanders this spring and summer.

To learn more about the risks for tick, mosquito, and flea-borne diseases Massachusetts residents face, we turned to Deputy State Epidemiologist and State Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Catherine Brown and Dr. Linden Hu, associate chief for research in the

Division of Geographic Medicine and Infectious Disease at Tufts Medical Center.

Here’s what they say Bay State residents should be on guard for as the ticks, mosquitos, and fleas emerge with the warm weather.

Illness from ticks is of the most concern in Massachusetts

Brown said she hopes most residents of the commonwealth are already aware that diseases carried by ticks are a “significant problem” in Massachusetts.

“The CDC findings really aren’t new,” she said. “They’re all based on data that are imported from the different states, and, in Massachusetts, we’ve recognized for a very long time that tick-borne diseases have been on the rise for decades now.”

Every year Massachusetts can be expected to have a “bad tick year,” Brown said, given the large number of blacklegged ticks in the state and that a “significant percentage” of the small arachnids are carrying disease.

It’s estimated that about 87,000 people a year contract Lyme disease in the state from tick bites, according to The Boston Globe.

The species of tick that carries Lyme disease — the blacklegged tick (sometimes called the deer tick) — carries at least five different illnesses, according to Brown. Lyme is just the one with the greatest number of cases. The next two most common diseases carried by the blood-suckers are anaplasmosis and babesiosis.

As for the other diseases carried by mosquitoes and fleas that are mentioned by the CDC? She said illnesses from flea bites aren’t a problem in Massachusetts, but the state does have to worry about two mosquito-borne diseases.

“We have both West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis — or Triple E,” Brown said. “Those are two things we talk about with the public every summer. But if you want to talk about true burden of disease and you compare just flat out the number of cases that we have in Massachusetts, just individual patients that have a disease carried by a mosquito versus numbers of patients that have a disease carried by a tick, the ticks win, unfortunately.”

Hu said that while Lyme might be the most prevalent in Massachusetts “by far” of the bite-transmitted diseases flagged by the CDC, he’s most concerned about the illnesses that don’t have treatment options, even if they’re not common in the state.

“Luckily we have treatments for many of these diseases,” he said. “The ones that are devastating — the ones we don’t have treatments for here in Massachusetts are Eastern equine encephalitis, deer tick virus, which is a new one that is luckily still very rare in Massachusetts but it’s increasing, and West Nile virus.”

The symptoms residents should look for with tick-borne diseases

Brown said the most common symptoms to watch for with Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and babesiosis are fever, chills, headaches, and muscle aches.

“Really all of the diseases carried by ticks start out the same way,” she said.

More specific symptoms develop for each illness as they progress, but she said each of the diseases start with those four.

“If you know that you have been bitten by a tick or you know you’ve been spending time outdoors during the months of April through November/December and you develop a fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, it’s a good idea to go ahead and contact your health care provider to talk to them about your potential risks,” Brown said.

With Lyme disease you may also see a rash around the site of the bite.

“It may or may not look like a classic bullseye,” she said. “But that’s really the only thing that can help differentiate Lyme disease from some of the other early stages of disease.”

Brown said that unless ticks are buried under snow — or the temperature is below freezing — the arachnids can be out and active, meaning the season for ticks in Massachusetts can last from April through November or December.

“Our peak tick season, when we see the largest number of our tick-borne-disease cases, really occurs in May through August,” she said.

What you can do to protect yourself

Brown said residents in Massachusetts should not be be afraid to go outside over ticks and the illnesses they can transmit.

“What’s appropriate is not fear, but awareness,” she said. “Knowing that ticks are in the environment but that there are also tools that people can use that will help people protect [themselves].”

There’s a “laundry list” of actions people can take to protect themselves from tick bites, which includes wearing pants and long-sleeve shirts when doing yard work, Brown said.

But the two particular measures recommended by the public health official are using an insect repellent with an EPA-registered active ingredient like Deet and performing a daily tick check after taking a shower or bathing your child.

“The reason for that is that way you can find any tick that has become attached, that you find it quickly and you can remove it promptly,” she said. “The shorter the amount of time that the tick has been attached, the less likely it is to have spread disease.”

Hu also recommended showering within a few hours anytime you think you’ve been exposed to ticks.

“If you shower within two hours of walking your dog or gardening, the ticks take a while to attach and bite, and, if you shower early, they just wash right off,” he said. “So that’s really easy to do. It’s been shown in studies to prevent disease.”

He also suggested buying clothing that is embedded with Permethrin repellent, which is both anti-tick and anti-mosquito.

“It doesn’t work 100 percent, but, again, you don’t have to think about it, it doesn’t make you smelly,” Hu said. “If you buy the commercially embedded clothing, it lasts for 80 washes or so, so something where you don’t have to think about it.”

How to check for ticks if they’re as small as poppy seeds

The CDC recently shared a photo illustrating just how small ticks can be by placing the insects on a poppy seed muffin.

“Can you spot all 5 ticks in this photo?” the federal agency asked.

Hu suggested the best way to check for ticks if you’re concerned you won’t be able to spot a poppy seed-sized blood-sucker is to run your fingers over your skin and feel for abnormal bumps.

“They do tend to like to hide in the tight areas where either clothing is tight against or the skin folds to make a nice enclosed area for them,” he said. “So that is where they tend to feed — like along the belt line and in the groin area, along the scalp and the ear for children. So as you’re showering, just take a feel through to make sure you don’t feel any unusual bumps.” Brown agreed.

“You’re feeling for something very subtle, even as small as a poppy seed, but, if you feel that bump, then you know you should take a closer look at that and see if it’s a tick,” she said.

To learn more how to safely get rid of these annoying pests, contact EHS Pest.

Source: boston.com


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