Mosquito born illnesses have been highlighted in the news prominently over the past year since the fear of the Zika Virus last year brought the issue to the forefront. The New England region sees its fair share of mosquito illnesses with two in particular that are concerning.
Mosquitoes in our region can spread to both the West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). People can get WNV or EEE when an infected mosquito bites them. Mosquitoes get these diseases by biting infected birds, but people cannot get WNV or EEE from birds. Most people bitten by infected mosquitoes experience no symptoms or mild symptoms, but some can develop serious disease.
- West Nile Virus – Most people (70-80%) who become infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months. Less than 1% of people who are infected will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues).The symptoms of neurologic illness can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures, or paralysis. (Source: Centers for Disease Control)
- Eastern Equine Encephalitis – Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is a rare illness in humans, and only a few cases are reported in the United States each year. Systemic infection has an abrupt onset and is characterized by chills, fever, malaise, arthralgia, and myalgia. The illness lasts 1 to 2 weeks, and recovery is complete when there is no central nervous system involvement. Unfortunately, approximately a third of all people with EEE die from the disease.
In our past blogs we have discusses taking precautions against being bitten including: using repellent, dressing in light clothing that covers your arms and legs, and avoiding being outdoors during the peak times of of dawn and dusk. Pro-Tech Lawn Care also recommends having your yard treated for mosquitoes that could carry these illnesses.
Ticks are most active during the warm months of April through September. That means that we are currently in peak tick season. Short of staying indoors and missing all the outdoor entertaining and activities, what can you do to prevent tick bites and protect yourself from tick born illnesses?
- Pro-Tech Lawn Care Tick Protection Program – Our Tick Protection Program is an effective way to help protect you, your family and your pets from the spread of Lyme disease and other diseases associated with these pests. Our program includes three targeted applications to your property throughout the course of the season. Tick treatments can begin as soon as the snow melts and applications can continue through the end of the fall.
- Avoid Direct Contact with areas that are Tick Infested – Obviously avoiding the outdoors is not possible but if you are hiking or playing outside, stay away from wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter. If you do go for hikes try to walk in the center of trails.
- Use Repellent – Use spray repellent that contains 20 percent or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin for protection that lasts several hours. Use products that contain permethrin on clothing.
- Dress Appropriately – If you know you will be in a high tick area, wear clothing that can offer you some level of protection. Long sleeves, long pants and sneakers are a good choice. Tuck your socks into your pants so that there is no access to your skin if you are walking through a grassy area.
- Removal – If you do spot a tick on your skin remove it completely or if you notice a bullseye marking or a rash contact your doctor immediately. Be sure to complete a thorough examination each time after being outdoors to check for the presence of ticks.
Powassan (POW) virus disease is a rare, but often serious disease that is caused by a virus spread by infected ticks. Over the past decade approximately 75 cases of POW virus disease were reported in the United States. While this number may seem small compared to other tick-borne or mosquito-born diseases, Powassan seems to be spreading along the eastern coast at an alarming rate. Here are some of what the latest research shows.
- The (POW) virus is transmitted to humans by infected ticks.
- Most cases have occurred in the Northeast and Great Lakes region.
- Signs and symptoms of infection can include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, seizures, and memory loss. Long-term neurologic problems may occur.
- Unlike Lyme disease, which tends to be transmitted most frequently in the summertime, Powassan is most often diagnosed from March to April, and October to December.
- Powassan can cause encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain.
- The real scary thing about the Powassan virus is that unlike Lyme disease, which can be transmitted in 24-48 hours, laboratory studies indicate that Powassan virus is probably transmitted in under an hour.
- There is no specific medicine to cure or treat POW virus disease. Treatment for severe illnesses may include hospitalization, respiratory support, and intravenous fluids.
- Reducing your chances of tick bites is a preventative action including: avoiding contact with ticks by avoiding wooded and bushy areas with high grass; finding and removing ticks immediately before they have a chance to bite; and applying insect repellents to bare skin, according to label instructions.
Every year, a memo has gone out to the mosquitoes that I am outside and ready to be eaten alive! It is like I am an “all you can eat buffet” for these pests. Do you feel the same way? If you are also a feast for mosquitoes, here are a few tips to stop the madness and avoid those itchy bites this mosquito season.
- Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care to discuss treatment options for your backyard and surrounding property. This program includes monthly treatments throughout the active season for ticks, mosquitoes and other flying insects. This comprehensive program is designed to provide your property with maximum protection.
- Dress for Protection – Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors so wear light tones and cover arms and legs when possible. Long loose fitting shirts and pants can be helpful in deterring a mosquito from landing on our skin.
- Evaluate your Yard – If you have standing water do whatever you can to rid your yard of it including children’s toy pails, pools and other items. This is where mosquitoes breed so do yourself a favor and prevent the breeding from occurring on your property.
- Avoid Peak Times – Dawn and dusk are peak mosquito times, so avoid being outside at those times if at all possible.
- Avoid Sweat and CO2 – Obviously we all have to breath out to survive, but try to stay indoors immediately after exercising for two reasons. One is that expulsion of CO2 attracts mosquitoes and heat and sweat also can be a magnet for these pests.
- Personal Protection – If you choose to use a repellant spray to protect yourself and your family choose one that has deet or picaridin.
If you are interested in stopping the mosquito feast call Pro-Tech Lawn Care today for treatment options.
Finally the warm weather is here and we can all enjoy the backyard, patio, lawn or garden. Are you backyard ready? Preparing your property including the lawn, hedges, trees, and garden takes lots of work and time. Growing lush, thick, pest-free grass is not an easy thing to do. Keeping ticks and mosquitoes at bay is also a struggle from the spring all the way through the first frost of fall. Here are a few tips to make sure you are ready for backyard season.
- Clean it Up – Remove any debris that has accumulated. Raking up areas that have been matted down by snow can help bring the grass back to life.
- Seeding and Hydroseeding – Consider employing professionals to seed your yard, especially if you have large bare patches. Pro-Tech Lawn Care can help you fill in brown spots and get your lawn back!
- Aeration – This allows water, air and nutrients to reach the root zone faster. This can result in new growth and increased root development.
- Repair – Salt and snow can really damage a yard, so do the needed repair work to make the entire yard look like new again.
- Pests – Don’t forget that while all flowers and trees are waking up again this spring, so are pests! Grass, plantings and tree pests can damage, if not destroy, the lawn. Have a thorough inspection done by our expert technicians to ensure that your lawn and garden is protected this season.
- Mulch and Prune – As you inspect your yard take note of areas that need pruning and re-mulching. Keep branches away from your home as they become a “bridge” for pests to enter the structure.
- Soil Check – When was the last time you has a soil analysis? Ask our team to test your soil so you know how and when to fertilize, feed and water your lawn.
- Protect Against Mosquitoes and Ticks – Do you tend to find ticks on your skin or clothes or get eaten alive by mosquitoes when you step outside? Talk to our professionals about treatment options for your property.