As a property manager, you are responsible for protecting your reputation and your customer’s safety. Tick and mosquito infestations are a growing threat in New England. Nothing can shut down an otherwise enjoyable outdoor activity like being bitten by a swarm of mosquitos, or finding ticks all over clothes and skin. For guests at common areas, campgrounds, parks, and other facilities, nothing brings more peace of mind than knowing that they won’t have to worry about treating mosquito bites or swatting pests off their skin. An area popular with people and pets will quickly receive bad word of mouth if it’s equally popular with ticks and mosquitos. Give your guests and patrons comfort and freedom from mosquitos with an effective commercial tick and mosquito control solution.

The Mosquito Threat

Life Cycle

 

Mosquitoes have four stages of development: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

When male mosquitoes hatch, they usually don’t travel very far and only live about a week. Consequently, males do not feed on blood but will feed on nectar during their short lifespan.

When female mosquitoes hatch, they often breed quickly, but do not stay near the breeding location. In her 5 to 6-week lifecycle, a female mosquito will fly in search of blood meals, laying hundreds of eggs during her travels.

It is estimated that some mosquitoes will travel as far as 10 miles from their birth sites. This is not the case for Aedes mosquitoes, which are considered prime vectors for the spread of human pathogens. Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus only travel a few hundred yards. For this reason, mosquito control services have a significant impact on the spread of mosquito-borne viruses.

Arboviruses

Aedes mosquitoes spread several arboviruses. An arbovirus is a group of viruses that are transmitted by arthropods. In the United States, the most noteworthy arboviruses are West Nile virus, yellow fever, dengue, and several forms of encephalitis. Encephalitis is swelling of the brain, and can become fatal. Mosquitos can sense carbon dioxide and lactic acid in humans and animals up to 100 feet away. They are attracted to heat, and can also sense movement, especially if someone is wearing bright, loud colors.

Where Mosquitoes Breed in Commercial Settings

{ illustrations with text: stormwater runoff drains, grates, landscaping, retention ponds, near pools, gutters, playground equipment, gardens, etc. }
What You Can Do About Mosquitoes

  • Eliminate sources of standing water that allow mosquitoes to breed. Clear gutters, fix leaky spigots, remove objects in pool areas that capture rainwater, alter playground equipment to prevent rainwater accumulation, and implement similar strategies to reduce stagnant water.
  • Circulate water in ornamental ponds or introduce fish to prevent mosquito breeding.
  • Introduce bioretention areas to absorb high water areas and reduce runoff. Knowing which plants to use in these areas is vital for mosquito resistance. The Landscaping Guidance for Stormwater BMPs (best management practices) is a valuable resource to learn more about the best management practices for stormwater bioretention basins.
  • When properly managed, bats and birds can be essential to effective mosquito control.
  • Place mosquito dunks in areas of standing water. This will introduce BTI, a naturally-occurring bacterium that is toxic only to the larvae of the mosquito, blackfly and fungus gnat.
  • Some plants repel mosquitoes. Consider adding the following plants to your landscape: citronella grass, lemon balm, lavender, floss flowers, peppermint, marigolds, catnip, basil, sage, rosemary, citrosum, and scented geraniums.

Community Education and Partnerships

Involving neighboring communities and educating residents on the importance of identifying and eliminating rainwater collection can have a significant and lasting effect on nearby mosquito populations. Consequently, when routinely managed, initiatives such as these can help to reduce the continuum of harmful diseases contracted through the bite of infected mosquitoes.

Providing useful information on mosquito bite prevention and general protective measures that can reduce one’s exposure to arboviruses from infected mosquitoes is equally—if not critically—important to the health and safety of your residents.

  • Mosquito repellent is the frontline defense against mosquito bites. Use an EPA-approved repellent that contains DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or 2-undecanone. Follow product recommendations for safe usage.
  • Treat clothing items with permethrin. Do not use permethrin products directly on the skin.
  • Wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants to reduce exposed skin.
  • Cover strollers with mosquito netting.
  • Keep window and door screens in good repair.
  • Keep interior areas air conditioned or use fans to keep mosquitoes off.
  • Reduce mosquito breeding sites by eliminating sources of still water on your property.

Partnering with neighboring communities for community-wide clean up campaigns can help with the control of mosquito breeding sites. Implement the following to reduce mosquito populations:

  • Rake leaves and expose ground so soil can dry.
  • Remove objects that hold rainwater, such as plant pots, beverage containers, tarps, toys, etc. Make sure trash can lids are not upside down.
  • Change conditions to prevent the capture of rainwater by poking a drainage hole in a tire swing, adjusting tarps to allow water to run off, or turning kiddie pools over when not being used by children.
  • Catalog locations of stagnant water that cannot be altered, such as ditches, logs, tree roots, ponds, bird baths, etc. These should be addressed by a professional.
  • Make sure all gutter systems are in good repair, free of obstructions, and include downspout extensions to channel rainwater away from the property—if possible directly into a storm drain.
  • Repair leaky spigots or hoses.
  • Address any areas of compacted ground that promote flooding.

How A Pest Management Professional Can Help

A professional mosquito control program incorporates community education, mosquito surveillance, and mosquito control. This service is referred to as Integrated Vector Control. You can expect the following from a pest management professional:

  • Routine inspections and consultation.
  • Assistance addressing mosquito breeding sites and harborage areas.
  • Routine spray treatments to control adult mosquitoes where they rest during the day.
  • The application of biological larvicides in problem areas that promote mosquito production.
  • Assistance with educational efforts.

The Tick Threat

Ticks climb on plants, flowers, woodpiles, and stonewalls to have access to hosts that pass by, including humans and pets. Common areas, campgrounds, parks, and event spaces can present the same opportunity to ticks as going for a walk in the woods.

The kind of ticks you can expect to encounter in New England are the American dog tick, black-legged tick (deer tick), lone star tick, and brown dog tick. All of these ticks pass through four stages of development: egg, larva (six-legged), nymph (eight-legged), and adult. Of these tick species, black-legged ticks present the greatest threat for their ability to transmit Lyme disease, and brown dog ticks present the greatest infestation concern for their ability to complete their entire lifecycle indoors.

Tick-borne Diseases

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention link ticks to the following diseases: anaplasmosis, babesiosis, borrelia mayonii, borrelia miyamotoi, bourbon virus, Colorado tick fever, ehrlichiosis, heartland virus, Lyme disease, Powassan disease, rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), Southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI), tick-borne relapsing fever (TBRF), tularemia, alpha-gal meat allergy, and 364D rickettsiosis.

The Rodent Connection

Effective control of ticks requires competent control of rodent pressures. A single white-footed mouse can have as many as a hundred ticks in its fur. Rodents bring ticks onto the grounds and into man-made structures.

Lyme Disease Facts

  • Black-legged (deer) ticks are the primary vector for Lyme disease.
  • Detection is key. Removing a tick early can prevent Lyme disease. It takes 24 to 48 hours for the Lyme disease-causing bacterium to transfer from tick to human.
  • Identification is also key. Lyme disease is curable if caught early.
  • Transmission of Lyme disease is associated with a bullseye rash but this rash is not always present.
  • Lyme disease patients are most likely to have illness onset in June, July, or August and less likely to have illness onset from December through March. (CDC)

Early symptoms of Lyme disease:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Joint and muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Symptoms of chronic Lyme disease (can appear days to months after a tick bite):

  • Severe headaches accompanied by a stiffness in the neck
  • Facial palsy
  • Joint pain and swelling
  • Rashes on the body
  • Pain in tendons, joints, muscles, and bones
  • Irregular heartbeat or palpitations
  • Inflammation in the brain and spinal cord
  • Dizziness
  • Nerve pain
  • Short-term memory issues
  • Shortness of breath
  • Numbness, tingling, or pain in hands or feet

Community Education

Knowledge plays a key role in the prevention of tick-borne diseases, especially in urban areas where there is a greater risk due to three factors: a lack of knowledge of disease risk, an improper perception of susceptibility to tick-borne diseases, and a lack of tick bite prevention behaviors (Bayles et al 2013). Increasing awareness of the threat, and educating communities on prevention methods can have a major impact.

Controlling and Eliminating Tick Habitats

There is a growing trend toward the development of greener cities. Establishing or preserving spaces where trees and other vegetation can flourish in urban and peri-urban spaces has many benefits, but greener communities promote the spread of ticks and the wildlife that carry them. This has led to an increase in tick populations found in urban centers. Applying the following will help counteract increasing tick and wildlife pressures:

  • Reduce areas of dense undergrowth or weeds, keep lawns trimmed, and rake up leaf litter. This will help to reduce the humidity need to survive.
  • Trim trees and shrubs to allow sunlight into locations that become moist after it rains. Ticks don’t like dry spaces.
  • Remove lawn clutter which ticks can hide under.
  • Establish a 3-foot barrier of gravel or wood chips on the edge of your properties. This will prevent ticks from migrating from wooded areas.
  • Make sure all exterior trash is in sealed containers and construct barriers to discourage wildlife from coming near to man-made structures.
  • Use fencing to protect gardens, berry bushes, fruit trees, etc.
  • Alter landscaping to reduce plants that attract deer and other wildlife.
  • Remove overhanging vegetation to reduce contact between questing ticks and passers-by.
  • Remove conditions that allow the capture of rainwater such as an overturned trash can lid.
  • Keep bird feeders away from man-made structures. Furry animals are not the only creatures that can bring ticks onto your property.
  • Protect shaded locations under decks, porches, and other structures that can provide harborage for wild animals and shade for ticks.
  • Repair leaky spigots and hoses.
  • Make sure gutters are not broken or obstructed.

How To Remove A Tick
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The Modern Solution

You want your customers to use your outdoor spaces frequently, and to keep coming back. You also want them to spread positive word-of-mouth. Bad reviews on social media can affect a business’s reputation very quickly. By stopping the harmful and annoying impact of ticks and mosquitos, you can potentially extend your busy season. Effective and safe pest control can maximize public well-being and minimize effects to the environment. It is also cost-effective. If a business shuts down to treat a sudden infestation, profits will be lost. Based on the most advanced technologies and latest Integrated Pest Management principles, Modern Pest Service’s commercial tick and mosquito control programs are designed to deliver maximum impact to the target pest with little or no threat or disruption to employees, staff or customers.
Providing business clients with a “best-in-class” experience is the foundation for our success. There are many service providers to choose from, but what separates Modern Pest Services is our consistent delivery of exceptional service, fast response, guaranteed client satisfaction and proven results.