Ticks are Taking Over the East Coast. A new federal tick census was released, stating that over half the counties in the United States are now home to the tick that spreads Lyme disease: the blacklegged tick. This tick and its West Coast cousin are expanding their reign across the country.
When the last tick presence survey was conducted in 1998, the infestation was mainly present in the New England states, with some occurrences in other counties along the East Coast. Now, everything has changed.
Black-legged ticks have really made a move since the last tick census. They spread from being a New England pest inhabiting the entire East Coast. Not only is it moving down the whole coast, but it is also making its move west.
In 1998, black-legged ticks had infested the Midwest and the East Coast. The East Coast movement originated in New England and south along the coast, populating New York and Pennsylvania, and now westward into Ohio. The Midwest movement began in western Wisconsin and has expanded into Indiana, Minnesota, Illinois, and Michigan. Tracking the trend of their current migration path, the East Coast and Midwest infestations look like they are both going towards the Ohio River valley.
Ticks and Lyme Disease
In previous years, many healthcare professionals would rule out Lyme disease as a possible diagnosis because black-legged ticks were not common to the area. Now that the CDC released this new map and census, people are starting to realize they are more exposed to Lyme disease than they were before.
The major symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache and fatigue, which is very similar to that of the common flu. This is why the CDC released the new tick presence survey so that healthcare professionals would know if the black-legged tick made its way into their area.
Researchers did not find it surprising that the ticks began to spread. They were able to get information from a website where people would post pictures of a tick that they would find in their area so that professionals could analyze what species of tick it was. Researchers used this site to their advantage in order to track where the black-legged tick was migrating to.
Although you may not be able to prevent these ticks from coming to your area, you can, at least, try to reduce your chances of them being in your backyard. Here are some tips from ourÂ UltraPro Pest ProtectionÂ team to help keep the black-legged tick away from your home.
1. Clear weeds and brush from the yard.
2. Mow your grass frequently so it does not get taller than three inches.
3. Remove any ground cover around stonewalls and wood piles.
4. Keep wood stacked neatly in a dry area to avoid animals that carry ticks.
5. Put playground equipment and decks away from trees and the edge of the yard.
6. Construct a fence to keep unwanted animals away from your yard.
7. Throw away old furniture and trash from your yard so the ticks do not have any shelter.
The black-legged tick may start to populate your region, but that does not mean you cannot reduce your chances of them being near your home. These simple tips can help you protect your home from the ticks and their disease. If you end up finding any ticks in your area, give us a call or email. We can help identify the type of ticks around your home and use environmentally friendly treatments that keep ticks away but are safe for your yard and pets.