… About Disease
Lyme disease may have become the darling of the media the past few years, but those in the business of pest management know that there are plenty of human diseases transmitted by ticks. Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Heartland virus, Colorado tick fever — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists 16 in all on its website.
Consumers are becoming more aware of the dangers of coming into contact with ticks. In fact, 62 percent of pest management professionals told PCT they believe their customers see ticks as a public health threat.
This is a far cry from the past, when customers simply didn’t know as much about ticks.
“Five years ago, we had to educate customers about tick-borne diseases, but today, with Lyme disease in the news at least a couple of times a year, there’s much more awareness,” says Josh Carver of Pro Turf & Pro Pest Solutions. “Now that we’re seeing more lone star ticks, we need to make them aware of southern tick-associated rash illness [STARI], too. It’s different from Lyme disease in that the symptoms aren’t chronic, but it can still require treatment and cause people a lot of distress.”
Jason Julio of Last Bite Mosquito & Tick Control says that his team still gets a lot of questions about tick-borne diseases. “People are scared of what they don’t know, so I point them to resources — namely, tickencounter.org [University of Rhode Island], because it has a lot of great information,” he says. Jason and Jeremy Julio also push information out on social media and post it on their website. To build greater community awareness, they participate in events to raise funds for patients of Lyme disease through the LymeLight Foundation. “It’s a great way to give back and raise awareness of the risks associated with ticks,” Julio says.
… About Doing Their Part in Tick Control
As with most pests, customer collaboration is essential to excellent tick control. For this particular pest, customer responsibilities fall into two areas: maintaining their yards and taking good care of their pets to ensure they’re not serving as hosts.
Let your customers know they can help resolve their tick issues, and protect their families and pets, by doing the following:
- • Keep the grass low
• Eliminate standing water, which can attract wildlife hosts as well as ticks
• Clear brush, leaf piles, debris and clutter
• Keep mulch beds clean
• Stack wood neatly
• Trim weeds
• Keep play areas off the tree lines
• Have a designated area for pets (don’t let them run through the woods)
• Take pets to the vet or choose proven, reputable tick and flea products, and use them according to instructions