Learn How to Avoid Ticks & Lyme Disease

A deer tick found in Central TN - The Bug Man

Have you ever caught a tick mid-bite? Finding a tick trying to latch itself onto you to draw your blood is one of the creepiest pest-related experiences you can have in Central TN. Unfortunately, our climate proves suitable for many different species of them to thrive. The most dangerous species in the area is the deer tick because of its ability to spread Lyme disease. Wondering how you can keep safe from tick bites and their dangerous consequences? Read on to learn how with expert advice from The Bug Man.

How Do People Contract Lyme Disease?

The most common reason for people contracting Lyme disease is being bitten by a deer tick nymph. Deer ticks are capable of harboring and spreading Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that leads to Lyme disease in humans and animals. At only 2 mm long, deer tick nymphs are tiny enough to sneak up onto our legs undetected, and with their anesthetic saliva, they can ensure that their bites cause no pain during the process.

If you contract Lyme disease from a tick bite, the first symptoms you will feel are usually headaches, fever, rashes, muscle and joint pain, and exhaustion. However, if left untreated, these symptoms will snowball into serious nerve damage and arthritis. If you think that a recent tick bite has left you with the initial symptoms of Lyme disease, call your doctor immediately.

Best Ways to Avoid Ticks

Ticks usually hide out in shaded, vegetated, humid areas, waiting for small animals or humans to cross their paths. No one wants to spend their spring and summer inside in fear of tick bites, so it’s important to understand the best methods of protecting yourself, your children, and your pets from coming in contact with these pests. Follow our advice to steer clear of ticks:

  • Wear long pants and long socks while spending time outside to limit exposed skin.
  • Keep your children and pets on the trail and close by when going on hikes or walking in densely vegetated areas.
  • Always perform a tick check on yourself and everyone else when coming back in from extended time outside.
  • If you find a tick on your body, don’t pinch it with your fingers. Secure the tick with tweezers as close as possible to the skin and pull it out slowly.

Professional Tick Control in Central TN

You shouldn’t be dealing with ticks on a regular basis. If you, your children, or your pets are constantly coming back inside with ticks on their legs, you have a tick problem that needs to be addressed by a professional tick exterminator with regional experience. The Bug Man’s team can come out to your property to inspect the premises for tick hotspots and apply a barrier treatment that will keep them away through the summer. Contact us today for a free quote on our tick removal services!

Can Ticks Survive through the Winter

A tick on a dog in Murfreesboro TN - The Bug Man

Many of us see winter as the season where pests try to get inside our homes. While this may be true, it doesn’t exempt us from dealing with pests outdoors, too! Some of the sneakiest offenders in the winter in Central TN are ticks. While many other kinds of bugs scramble for indoor protection or die off in the harsh cold, ticks make do with what they have and are able to survive at relatively impressive rates. If you’re looking to learn more about ticks’ survivability in the winter and the ways we can avoid them, read on for expert advice from The Bug Man!

When Are Ticks In Season in Central TN?

People usually associate ticks with the summer. Walking your dogs through tall grass is often advised against during the warmer months for the number of ticks that could be lurking around, waiting for a host to pass by. There is definitely truth to this—ticks thrive in warm and humid climates, preferring to live in places averaging upwards of 85% humidity.

So, if heat and humidity are the keys to their survival, do ticks die in the winter? Although the conditions are unpreferable, ticks are fully capable of surviving during the colder seasons. Here’s how they do it:

  • If they can find a suitable host, they will latch onto them for as long as they can, feeding off of them and hiding in their fur when resting.
  • If they cannot find a host, they will look for piles of leaf litter to provide a temporary shelter
  • Some ticks will burrow underground for a more stable layer of protection and insulation

How to Steer Clear of Winter Ticks

You’re much less likely to run into ticks when the temperatures drop below 45 degrees and the ground is covered in water, ice, or snow. However, winter tick problems can still arise if you don’t keep your guard up against them. Here are a few ways you can defend your family against ticks in Central TN:

  1. Check your pets when they come back inside. If a tick latches onto your dog, they will stay there until discovered. Conduct a tick check after letting your dogs outside or taking them on a walk.
  2. Don’t let yard waste build up. Since ticks hide in leaf piles and other organic matter during the winter, you want to make sure your yard is cleared of any potential hiding places.
  3. Hire your local tick exterminators. Tick barrier treatments can make your yard uninhabitable for all of the many tick species living in our region.

Tick Control this Winter

Perhaps the greatest danger associated with ticks is the transmission of Lyme disease, which is carried by some deer ticks living in Central TN. To protect your family from dangerous ticks this winter, talk to your local pest control company. The Bug Man’s tick control team has been protecting the Murfreesboro area from parasitic pests for 20 years and can develop a custom plan for your property, commercial or residential. For a free quote, reach out today!

What Just Bit Me? How to Identify Common Bug Bites

What mosquitoes look like in Central TN - The Bug Man

Having bug bites is never a good feeling, especially when you never catch the critter that did it to you. Lots of anxiety can stem from not knowing what kind of biting pest is living in your home. It is also easy to wake up from a night of sleep with bug bites and misidentify them, leading to a longer process of pest removal. If you are trying to find out which kind of pest in Central TN is biting you, keep reading for top insight from The Bug Man.

Pests that Bite to Draw Blood

Some pests that draw blood might not look as frightening as other bugs, but are able to pass on dangerous diseases through their bites. This makes it crucial to be able to identify the bug bites on your skin. Some pests that draw blood in Central TN are:

  1. Mosquitoes: After a mosquito bites you, a raised, white welt will form right away. The bite will then spread out into a larger, red, itchy lump. Most mosquitoes in our area do not carry diseases, but in tropical and some subtropical regions, mosquitoes can carry malaria and Zika virus, along with many other serious diseases.
  2. Ticks: Tick bites can look nearly indistinguishable from a mosquito bite, or like much smaller, darker prick marks. If you notice a tick bite shortly after they find you, you will still see it digging into your skin. Ticks can spread Lyme disease, so if you find a tick on your skin, remove it right away to decrease your chances of contracting it.
  3. Fleas: While they prefer to pester our pets, fleas bite humans, too. You might not even be able to notice a tick bite upon impact, but it will be itchy afterward. Ticks do not spread diseases to humans, but their bites can become infected if excessively scratched.
  4. Bed bugs: Bed bug bites appear overnight. If you wake up with zigzag patterns of tiny red bumps on exposed skin, you are in the middle of a bed bug infestation. Although their bites don’t pass on diseases, they can sometimes transfer diseases to humans that they carry on their bodies through their travels.

Other Bug Bites in Central TN

There are plenty of other pests that bite in our area, but the four mentioned earlier are the most likely offenders. Some bugs in Central TN either seldom bite or their bites yield negligible results. Cockroaches, centipedes, and ants fall into this category. These insects rarely bite, and the effects of their bites don’t often extend beyond an annoyance.

Some spiders in the region can dish out painful bites, but again, they are rarely provoked enough to bite. These spiders include wolf spiders, brown recluses, and black widows. The black widow has the most dangerous bite of the three—if you sustain a black widow bite, seek medical attention right away.

How to Stay Safe from Bug Bites

If you are looking to stay safe from bug bites this summer, ask your local pest control company about what they can do to help. Our pest experts at The Bug Man can perform a holistic inspection of your property to locate any biting pests and promptly remove them. We will also follow up as needed with pest prevention advice and return treatments to ensure that any infestations never return. Contact us today for a free quote!

Ticks in Tennessee will be active this year

tick in TN

Ticks in Tennessee during the summer can be very frustrating. Actually, as I wrote this blog there were several words describing ticks that floated to the surface: creepy, gross, worrisome, concerning… just to name a few. Mostly, people are very fearful. Not really about the tick, itself, but more about the diseases caused by the bite of a tick.

The best cure for tickborne diseases such as Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is to avoid getting bitten by ticks.

This is another one of those situations where pest-related problems concern our health. Since we are in the business of pest control and are not health professionals, we generally prefer not to comment on the medical conditions caused by the pest. We do recommend  information on the CDC site titled Symptoms of Tickborne Illness. If you have health symptoms that you suspect may be caused by a tick or other pest then we suggest that you contact your physician. What we can do is educate you on tick control in order to reduce the chance that you may be bitten by a tick.

Ticks are arachnids, not insects, and classified as an external parasite.

A lot of people are surprised to learn that ticks are actually in the same family (arachnid) as spiders, mites, and scorpions. They have 8 jointed legs and no antennae. They require  a blood meal from a host in order to survive. A tick will attach firmly while they slowly feed on the blood of their host. They will feed, unnoticed, for several days before they release their grasp. They will feed on mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians.

There have been many species of ticks found in Tennessee. The three most common species are the American dog tick, lone star tick, and brown dog tick. All of these common ticks have four life stages- egg, larva, nymph, and adult. Each of the stages, other than the egg, requires a separate animal host to complete its development, which all together may be two or three years long. Each blood-engorged female leaves her host animal and lays a single mass of 3,000 to 6,000 eggs.

Ticks in Tennessee are most active from April through September. Though, it is not uncommon to see some tick activity through the winter months. During periods of high activity we recommend that you remain extra vigilant. Avoid areas known to be infested with ticks such as wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter. If you have to walk though these types of areas we recommend that you apply a repellent according label directions. Also, walk in the center of trails to avoid brushing up against vegetation.

Wear long sleeve shirts and pants. Tuck your pants into your socks to prevent ticks from climbing up the inside of the pant legs. Also, wear light-colored clothing so that you can detect ticks more easily. Upon returning from tick infested areas make sure to thoroughly check your body for ticks. You will want to quickly remove all ticks that are found.

Modify your environment to make it less desirable to ticks

Maybe you’re not going on a hike in the woods but you want to reduce or prevent a tick infestation around your home. There are several non-chemical things that you can do:

Make your surroundings less inviting to rodents and wildlife. They are often carriers of ticks. Reduce the rodents and you will reduce the ticks. It’s a win-win situation.

  • Repair areas where rodents can enter the home.
  • Remove wood piles and debris that make a good nesting area for rodents.
  • Keep pet food stored in sealed containers
  • Keep the lawn mowed and weeds to a minimum

Pets and tick prevention in TNDon’t forget about your four-legged babies, too. Please discuss tick treatment for your pets with a veterinarian.  There are many treatment methods available and something that works well for one pet may not be best for the other. Cats and some breeds of dogs can be sensitive to some products. So, it is always best to check with your vet, first. Also, you will want to inspect your pets and their bedding frequently for ticks.

The final measure for tick management is to hire a professional such as The Bug Man in Murfreesboro to treat the exterior of your home. Our technicians are very knowledgeable about areas that make a great tick habitat and areas that don’t. Most people are surprised to learn that ticks will avoid direct sunlight. So, treating the entire lawn is rarely necessary. We have noticed that customers on our mosquito program usually do not have a problem with ticks. This is probably due to the fact that mosquitoes and ticks have similar habitats such as the trees, shrubs, and shaded areas.

Ticks and Lyme Disease: Put the Lyme in the Coconut and Call Me in the Morning

Ticks and Lyme Disease

Now, let us get it straight, you got the Lyme disease from the ticks and now your neck hurts? Put a lime in the coconut and call us in the morning to set up an appointment to treat your yard for ticks!

Did we stretch that comparison too much? 🙂

With this year’s super-abundance of ticks, you’ve got to wonder if there will be more cases of lyme disease reported. Although only 2% of tick bites result in lyme disease, we wanted to give you a brief explanation of what Lyme disease is.

    • Lyme disease is most common in boys between the ages of 5 and 19. It’s also common with people over 30 years old.
    • 80% of the people with lyme disease develop a rash around the tick bite
    • Lyme rash is often confused with spider bites. The rash enlarges in size over time, and is usually red in color
    • Lyme disease must be diagnosed by a doctor
    • 20% of people with lyme disease have flu-like symptoms, but not a rash
    • A cough and runny nose are not symptoms of lyme disease
    • Fever, aches, and fatigue can be signs of lyme disease
    • If lyme disease is left untreated, it could lead to temporary paralysis, and numbness in the face and limbs
    • Over time it could also lead to short-term memory loss, migraines and dizzines

If you’re in an area that has lots of ticks, be on the lookout for any signs of a rash or these symptoms. Just because you wake up with a sore neck doesn’t mean you have lyme disease, though. Put a lime in a coconut and call your doctor in the morning to discuss any symptoms.

If you’re in Rutherford or Wilson County in Middle Tennessee and you’d like to get your yard treated for ticks, please give us a call at 615.217.7284. You could also call us to sing us the lime and the coconut song, if you’d like. We’re all about random times of amusement throughout the day.

How Acorns are Contributing to More Ticks This Year

How Acorns are Contributing to More Ticks This Year

Did you know that 2010’s acorn crop is contributing to this year’s increase in ticks?

It’s not the early hot weather that we’ve had. It’s acorns!

While browsing Twitter the other day, we came across a story that the National Pest Management Association (@PestWorld) tweeted. To read their full article on the topic, you can follow this link: Acorns, Not Weather, to Blame for More Ticks.

Basically, the increase in the acorn crop led to an increase in mice eating the acorns. And with more mice, come more ticks. The science of pest control has a lot to do with the predator and prey food chain. One pest affects another pest.

The Bug Man serves Rutherford and Wilson County in Tennessee. We have a specialized tick service. For more information on how we can take care of your tick problem, please call us at 615-217-7284 or email us at service@thebugman.us.

And, we’re active on Twitter and Facebook. We frequently post updates about pest issues in our area, as well as funny photos and videos. Join us there!