To many people, the word “tick” is synonymous with Lyme disease. It’s understandable, as Lyme disease is the most well-known and common tick-borne illness. It is most prevalent in the Northeast than in the South, but it definitely exists. However, there are different tick-borne illnesses that we need to watch out for in our parts, both for ourselves and our pets. Mosquito Squad of Greater Charleston protects you and your loved ones (two legs and four) from both mosquitoes and ticks.
Keeping our customers safe is our highest priority. Our barrier treatment and misting systems are equally effective on ticks as they are mosquitoes, and unlike other companies, there is no upcharge for tick control.
Contrary to popular belief, tick season is not just in the summertime, it’s year round. Especially here in the South, where we have a much warmer climate. The majority of ticks have four life stages: egg, larva (6 legs), nymph (8 legs), and adult. After the egg hatches, a tick must have a blood meal at every stage of its life to survive. Depending on the type of tick, it may require more than one host at each stage, or it could have just one host for its entire duration. The Brown Dog tick is one that prefers to have a single host during all life stages. Below is a graphic courtesy of the CDC that shows the life stages of a Brown Dog tick, one of the most common here in South Carolina.
As we mentioned, Lyme disease is more common in the Northeast than here in South Carolina, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It’s transmitted to humans and animals by the black legged tick, also known as the “deer tick.” A tell-tale sign of Lyme disease in humans is a “bullseye" rash that occurs at the site of the tick bite, though not everyone infected with Lyme disease displays it. Symptoms range from joint pain, lethargy, and lameness to a decreased appetite and fever. Signs of infection can take months to appear. Among the diseases that ticks can carry, Lyme disease is by far one of the most well-known tick-borne diseases affecting dogs, cats, and many wild animal species. It’s important to note that animals do not get the obvious bullseye rash common in humans at the bite site of a tick carrying Lyme disease, which makes it more difficult to diagnose.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) is transmitted by the American dog tick, the wood tick, and the Lone Star tick. Unlike Lyme disease, it doesn’t take long for this infection to show symptoms. Usually after being bitten by an infected tick, symptoms manifest within a couple days. This disease gets its name from a rash that starts around the wrists and ankles and spreads throughout the body, but sometimes that’s not the first symptom to manifest. It could take a week for the rash to show, while in the meantime you’re experiencing other symptoms like fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, stomach and muscle pain, and lack of appetite.
Ehrlichiosis is transmitted by the Lone Star tick, known by the white dot on its back (hence the name). It’s extremely serious and common here in the Southeast and potentially fatal. Symptoms include fever, headache, chills, muscle pain, malaise, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, conjunctival injection (red eyes), and sometimes rash. Ehrlichiosis is unfortunately the most common and one of the most dangerous tick-borne disease organisms known to infect dogs. Caused by the brown dog tick or the Lone Star tick, symptoms in dogs may not surface for months after transmission, and can include fever, loss of appetite, depression, weight loss, runny eyes and nose, nose bleeds and swollen limbs.
Why are dogs (and cats) more susceptible to acquiring ticks than humans? If you think about it, they’re much closer to the ground, which makes it much easier for ticks to hitch a ride and use our furry friends for their next blood meal. Plus, our pets love to roll around in the grass and wander into tick-infested areas that humans simply don’t fit into. Doing these things can lead them to acquiring any number of ticks. Unfortunately, many ticks on dogs and cats go unnoticed for a while because of fur and because they like to hide in the warm areas of a body that has thin skin—such as around the ears and on the head, in the “armpits,” and in between the digits on the toes. Many ticks will head to the highest point on a host, so that is why the most noticeable ones are found on the head of your pet, especially ears.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to play with your dog or cat in your backyard and not have to worry about bringing stowaway ticks into the house? When ticks are outside, tick control at your Greater Charleston home is much easier than if they found their way inside, where they could find a feast of blood meals on your whole family, other pets included.
Mosquito Squad has a special strategy for tick control. We come to your property and treat it from the perimeter inward, using our traditional barrier treatment that eliminates up to 90% mosquitoes and ticks on contact. Because it’s adhesive and time-released, it prevents existing mosquito and tick eggs from hatching, thus stopping the next generation. (Every barrier spray application lasts for three weeks before needing a re-treatment. We highly recommend one of our service packages for consistent, uninterrupted protection.) Our automatic misting systems are also equally effective on ticks as they are mosquitoes.
In severe tick infestations we take it a step further and get a little help from our furry friends by implementing tick tubes.
Tick tubes are small, biodegradable tubes stuffed with a treated cotton that we place strategically around your property that entice mice and other small animals. These small animals love this cotton and bring it back to their nests/burrows. When a hungry tick attacks one of these critters, it is eliminated shortly thereafter. By taking this proactive step and going “straight to the source,” we eliminate ticks before they come anywhere near you or your loved ones, furry or not. Thanks to this extra step, up to 95% of the tick population on your property will be reduced.
It is important to note, however, that tick tubes are rarely needed in the South and our traditional barrier treatment typically takes care of tick problems here. But in some extreme cases, we do recommend them. A Mosquito Squad representative will gladly explain that option to you if the need arises.
As your experts in Charleston mosquito and tick control, we’re serious about protecting you and your loved ones from mosquitoes, ticks, and the potentially serious diseases they carry. We completely believe in our products and services, but if there’s any reason you’re not happy, please let us know. We’ll either give your property an additional treatment or offer your money back.
If you’d like to discuss how we can help you protect your family from ticks, mosquitoes and the nasty illnesses they can transmit in the Palmetto State, call Mosquito Squad of Greater Charleston at 843-574-8919. Or, simply fill out the form on our homepage we’ll call you. We look forward to helping you!
If you find a tick, remove it as soon as possible. The best way for tick removal is by using pointy tweezers. Grab the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull upward in a steady motion. See the video below.
(Video courtesy of the TickEncounter Research Center.)
Avoid crushing the tick’s body. Do not use petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail polish, or other products such as peppermint oil, as these are not proven to be effective and can actually be harmful.
A tick’s natural response to stress is to spew out of its mouth, which would prematurely infect you with whatever bacteria or parasite it may be carrying.
After tick removal, cleanse the skin with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
South Carolina is home to four species of ticks that are capable of transmitting diseases to both humans and pets while feeding. Those are the American Dog tick, the Brown Dog tick, the Lone Star tick, and the Blacklegged or “Deer” tick.