Ticks and Mosquitoes A Growing Problem in NJ

As we enjoy our yards more and more these days, don’t forget to stay protected.  Insect control is inexpensive.  At the same time, it can be done safely, it’s effective and can save lives. 

Ticks and mosquitoes are getting worse and causing many health issues.  Mosquitoes are a nuisance on top of it all!   Dirt & Turf has natural insect treatments that work, make it safer and easier to enjoy your backyard.  Please contact us for a FREE estimate.

It’s hard to avoid scary articles, but it is good to educate yourself for when a problem shall arise.  Unfortunately, most of us know someone who has been affected, so don’t take prevention lightly, especially when solutions are economical and don’t require much time.

While mosquitoes tend to be a problem the more south someone may travel and in the North ticks can be even worse.  New Jersey may not have the most mosquito/tick cases, but NJ is located in the center of these two problems and both can be a huge problem for the Garden State.

Ticks

Ticks become a problem in New Jersey from spring and persist through the fall. Anyone who regularly ventures in grassy, brushy or wooded areas should do as much as they can to protect themselves from bites.  CDC recommendations for safety here.  People should be checking themselves regularly, bathing is a good time for it. Common body parts you should regularly check:

  • Under the arms
  • In and around the ears
  • Inside belly button
  • Back of the knees
  • In and around the hair
  • Between the legs
  • Around the waist

If you find a tick, the Centers for Disease Control’s protocol for removing them:

1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.

2. Once you have a firm grasp, pull upward with steady, even force. Don’t twist or jerk the tick, because you might cause its mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin.

3. If you accidentally break the tick apart, try removing the mouth parts with the tweezers. If you can’t, leave it alone and let the skin heal.

4. You can dispose of the tick in one of several ways: Submerse it in alcohol, place it in a sealed bag or container, wrap it tightly in tape, or flush it down the toilet. (Never handle a tick with your bare fingers; pathogens called spirochetes can pass from the tick to you through even tiny breaks in your skin).

5. Once the tick is disposed of, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.

6. Check the bite area for several weeks after removal. If you develop a rash there (or have a fever at any point in that time frame), see a doctor about getting tested for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.

Know the signs of Lyme disease. If a tick gets through the lines of defense and a person is bitten by an infected tick, there still may be time to prevent serious symptoms. Lyme disease is known as a form of arthritis caused by bacteria that is transmitted by ticks. If detected early it can often be treated effectively. If not, severe and long-lasting symptoms may develop.

Many people with early symptoms of Lyme disease develop a circular red skin rash around a tick bite, that slowly expands. Most rashes appear within the first four weeks, but can appear up to three months after being bitten by a tick.  The rash will usually last for several weeks. The CDC says, “multiple rashes, a red, oval plaque on trunk or an expanding rash with central clearing are all common rash symptoms of Lyme disease.”  Moderate to severe headaches are commonly associated with Lyme disease.  Often, patients often encountered migraines, light sensitivity and nausea, usually on one side of the head. Lyme is an inflammatory disease that enters the central nervous system, causing these headaches. Sleep disturbances, fevers, and joint pain tend to go along with these symptoms.

Ticks are considered to be the most dangerous bug in the United States and more diseases they carry are emerging.  Lyme disease has destroyed many lives over the years and continues without a cure.  Tick bites have many risks other than Lyme disease. In the United States, there are more than a dozen tick-borne diseases. This is why regular lawn maintenance is important.

Once a tick bites, pathogens (bacteria that cause Lyme disease) take up to 3 days to pass from tick to human, but others (Powassan virus) can be transmitted in a matter of hours. 

Ticks love dark, moist places.  Keep that in mind when outdoors, but that even includes body parts.  Don’t forget to examine armpits, the groin, behind the ears, and the base of the skull, near the hairline.

The deer tick (black-legged) catch the virus from infected rodents. Deer ticks, which also spreads Lyme disease, regularly bites people. People infected with Powassan may not show any symptoms, but when people do get sick, fever, headache, vomiting, and general muscle weakness will occur. Some people can also develop a severe neurological infection. There is about a 10% fatality rate when a person has severe symptoms, while 50% that survive the severe infection have lingering neurological problems. Currently there is no treatment or vaccine for Powassan.

It’s not just the deer tick that we must watch out for.  Along the coast, the Lone Star Tick can be dangerous as well.  More species of ticks are being introduced to New Jersey and other disease similar to Lyme disease are emerging.  

As the climate is changing, ticks and insects are making us sicker and sicker.  Powassan is not a major problem yet, but according to the CDC, reported cases of illness caused by ticks, mosquitoes, and flea bites more than tripled from 2004 to 2016 and have continued to increase, according to the CDC. Ticks are the largest culprit, with Lyme disease being the most common illness, but new tickborne diseases are emerging. So make sure you have adequate lawn care!

Mosquitoes

Last year, the New Jersey Health commissioner, Judith Persichilli issued a statement, “While we are always concerned about more common mosquito-borne diseases, like West Nile virus, we also need to be vigilant for rare, but severe viruses, like Eastern Equine Encephalitis.  Individuals who are concerned they may have Eastern Equine Encephalitis should contact their health care provider right away.”

In 2019, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), a rare virus that can kill, had a rise in cases in New jersey.  EEE recent outbreak impacted 13 counties out of 21 last year; Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Salem, Sussex, Union and Warren.  This is a significant increase from the previous year, which also saw an uptick in cases for New Jersey.

As the increase in cases happened, health officials even saw more mosquitoes testing positive for the virus in the Garden State. Eastern Equine Encephalitis is native to New Jersey, Native bird-biting mosquitoes that develop in small pockets of water in swampy areas.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the EEE virus can cause fevers, headaches, lethargy and/or brain infections and death.  While there isn’t a cure for EEE, doctors may still help with hydration and nutrition to help cope with the symptoms.

West Nile virus has similar symptoms as Eastern Equine Encephalitis and neither have treatments available, but the fatality rate is much higher with EEE.  In New Jersey, number of cases between these viruses are close in numbers, but in 2018 New Jersey had a big jump of infections, 61 cases of the West Nile virus.

While the number of EEE cases in recent years may not be alarming, keep in mind years past.  New Jersey only had one reported case in 9 years prior, between 2009 and 2018.  The numbers are clearly getting worse and what can be alarming is the mortality rate.  33% of cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis lead to death.

While counties may spray for adult mosquitoes, you still want to wear repellent if you are noticing activity and you may want to look into companies that offer mosquito control.  Dirt & Turf offers natural treatments that works great; natural insect control.

Call today (800) 645-0814 or email us at Expert@DirtandTurf.com.