2017 will be a banner year for one of the most despised little critters: ticks. They are expected to be three times as bad compared to last year’s season.
“We’ve got ticks,” said Horticulturist Walt Nelson at the Monroe County Cornell Cooperative Extension. “If I go year to date and look at the submissions, for identifications for ‘16 and ‘15, we are three times over.”
This year will be a domino effect of previous years. “2015 was a great year for acorns and beach nuts,” said Nelson. That means food for rodents, boosting their numbers in 2016. “Field mice were rampant last year in the spring.”
That is where the problem lies; in the rodents according to exterminator Joe Koval. “On the typical mouse there can be a dozen ticks,” said Koval.
Koval says it is the small nymph tick that spreads Lyme disease from a mouse, not a deer. He is already getting calls and texts. “It’s a picture of a fully engorged black legged tick that must’ve fallen off their dog” says Koval. He got a text picture of a tick full of blood after a long meal found in a couple’s bed Tuesday morning.
Koval says they have a two tiered approach to fix the problem. “You want to treat the adult ticks that are in the yard, in the brush around the property, and you want to treat the mice,” says Koval.
That is where the tick tubes come in. Inside contains cotton with poison on them that mice pick up, bring to the nest, and it kills only the ticks.
Whenever getting inside from a long walk outside, always check the skin and use touch to check the dog or cat. Ticks like to hide in piles of leaves and brush.
When a tick is getting ready for its next meal, it does something called ‘questing.’ It finds a blade of grass or shrub, usually along a frequented mouse path. It holds on with its back legs while sticking its front legs out, waiting for its next blood meal to come strolling by. Experts say the easiest and safest way to remove a tick if you have one is with pointed tweezers. It is important to remove the tick in its entirety to avoid any further contamination.