RICHMOND, Va., May 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The long weekend ahead kicks off the unofficial start to summer with outdoor parties, barbeques, parades and celebrations under the stars. However, a perfect storm of weather conditions over the past months have made conditions ripe for what is being predicted as a powerful crop of mosquito and tick populations to wreak havoc on outdoor plans.
Reported cases of Lyme disease continue to rise with more than 280,000 Americans being diagnosed since 2002, with an additional 30,000 diagnoses just last year. Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). An illness that can have lifelong debilitating effects such as arthritis, fatigue and even neurological deficits, Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged or deer ticks.
Experts at Mosquito Squad (http://www.mosquitosquad.com) are on watch and have tips to help homeowners mosquito and tick-proof their yards and make outdoor spaces safer.
"It's important to know that there are things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones," said Boyd Huneycutt, Mosquito Squad's resident tick expert. "In addition to performing a daily tick check, there are specific actions a homeowner can take to reduce the tick and mosquito population in their yards, thus reducing exposure for themselves, guests and pets."
5 T's and 6 C's to Start off a Safer Summer
The experts at Mosquito Squad recommend the following tips to help prepare for summer.
The 6 C's to Tick-Proof Your Yard
- Clear out. Reduce your tick exposure by clearing out areas where lawn and tree debris gathers. Ticks thrive in moist, shady areas and tend to die in sunny, dry areas. Locate compost piles away from play areas or high traffic. Separate them with wood chips or gravel. Don't position playground equipment, decks and patios near treed areas.
- Clean. Eliminate leaf litter and brush by cleaning it up around the house and lawn edges, mow tall grasses and keep your lawn short.
- Choose plants. Select plants and shrubs that are not attractive to deer and/or install physical barriers to keep deer out of your yard. Check with your local nursery to determine the best choices for your area.
- Check hiding places. Know tick hiding places and check them frequently. Fences, brick walls and patio retaining walls are popular hiding places.
- Care for family pets. Family pets can suffer from tick-borne disease and also carry infected ticks into the home. Talk to your veterinarian about using tick collars and sprays. As with all pest control products, be sure to follow directions carefully.
- Call the pros. Professionals utilize both barrier sprays that can kill live ticks on the spot as well as "tick tubes." Strategically placed, "tick tubes" prompt field mice to incorporate tick-killing material in their bedding, effectively eliminating hundreds of tick nymphs found in each mouse nest.
According to Huneycutt, there is actually an additional "C" for homeowners: communicate. "Once you understand how ticks breed, share that information with others, especially those with small children or those older than age 55. If Lyme disease is contracted by either of these groups, they typically sustain the most severe health complications," Huneycutt said.
When outdoors away from home, the CDC recommends wearing long-sleeved, long-legged, light-colored clothing. Tuck pant legs into socks to refuse ticks an entry point. Spray clothing and any exposed skin with a product containing 20 percent DEET. Clothing and other gear, but not skin, can be treated with Permethrin, which will kill ticks and mosquitoes on contact and should last through several washings. Check carefully for ticks after being outdoors.
5 T's to Control Mosquitoes
- TIP. Reduce standing water to eliminate mosquito threats, including those in children's sandboxes, wagons or plastic toys; underneath and around downspouts, in plant saucers and dog bowls. Other hot spots include tarps, gutters, and flat roofs.
- TOSS. Remove excess grass, leaves, firewood and clippings from yards.
- TURN. Turn over larger yard items that could hold water like children's portable sandboxes or plastic toys.
- REMOVE TARPS. If tarps stretched over firewood piles, boats or sports equipment and grills aren't taut, they're holding water.
- TREAT. Utilize a mosquito elimination barrier treatment around the home and yard. Using a barrier treatment at home reduces the need for using DEET-containing bug spray on the body. Mosquito Squad's treatments eliminate up to 90% of the mosquitoes and ticks on a property.
About Mosquito Squad
With more than 100 franchise locations nationwide, Mosquito Squad specializes in eliminating mosquitoes and ticks from outdoor living spaces, allowing Americans to enjoy their yards, outdoor living spaces, special events and green spaces. Mosquito Squad, an Outdoor Living Brands company, was certified as a World Class Franchise by the Franchise Research Institute in 2012, 2011, and 2010 and was rated one of the Top 50 Franchises by Franchise Business Review, receiving their 2012, 2011 and 2010 Franchisee Satisfaction Award. For more information, visit www.MosquitoSquad.com, www.MosquitoSquadFranchise.com and www.OutdoorLivingBrands.com.
SOURCE Mosquito Squad