May is recognized as Lyme Disease Awareness Month. Lyme disease cases reported to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has increased 25 fold since 1982. This is 300,000 cases per year and that is 10 times more than previously reported. Lyme is cause by a bacterium transmitted by the bite of a deer or western black legged tick. The bacterium is called Borrelia burgdorferi or B. burgdorferi.
According to the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, ticks that carry Lyme disease have been found in all 50 states. The deer tick or western black legged tick have always been associated with Lyme. Recently, species of tick such as the lonestar tick and a pacific coast tick have been found to carry B. burgdorferi. There are 5 subspecies of B. burgdorferi. This relates to 100 strains in the United States and 300 strains worldwide.
Many wonder, “Are there ticks in Hawaii?”. The answer is yes; there are ticks in Hawaii. The most common tick here is the brown dog tick. In many cases, pests and disease travel through the transport of the host pests. People travel to areas outside of Hawaii as do their pets. This makes it possible for the Lyme bacterium to be carried to new areas through its host.
Lyme disease has some distinctive early symptoms that can help identify the disease in its early stages.
The most common that it mentioned is the bull’s eye rash that radiates out from the bite location. Some patients also report flu like symptoms. These include fatigue, chills, fever and headaches. Some have also reported muscle and joint pain as well as swollen lymph nodes. Please be aware that as few as 50% of Lyme patients remember a tick bite or a rash.
Preventing tick bites is really the only way to prevent Lyme. You don’t have to be an avid hiker or woodsman to be exposed to Lyme carrying ticks. Exposure to ticks can occur anywhere outside. A pet can even transport an infected tick inside your home. So, we suggest to minimize your exposure to this pest as much as you can. The most common recommendations are long sleeves and long pants when outdoors. You also want to tuck your pants inside your socks. This can help create an additional barrier closer to ground level.
Pesticides used on clothing and in your yard are also recommended. You will also want to use any of the recommended medications for your pet. Many of the pet medicines can repel or kill upon biting. Did you know that your dog and cat can also contract Lyme? Your veterinarian can recommend what is medicine best for your pet.
Tips for yourself
Use a 20 to 30% DEET product on exposed skin and even clothing
You can also use a .5% permethrin on clothing and boots. By treating clothing and gear, you increase protection as it will works for several washings.
Tips for the Yard
Clear tall grasses and brush from around your home
Mow grass regularly
Place a 3 foot wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas. This reduces tick movement.
Keep firewood stacked neatly and dry. This reduces rodents that ticks feed on.
Place playground equipment in direct sun if possible.
Keep all trash removed from the yard. This will reduce the tick’s hiding places.
Check with your pest control company about tick control for your property.
Preventing exposure and tick bites is the key to preventing a Lyme disease and any other tick borne infection. If you are looking for pest control in Honolulu, Sandwich Isle Pest Solutions offers a variety of quality residential and commercial programs. For more information on ticks or any other pest you have questions about, give the pros at Sandwich Isle a call today!