Eastern Equine Encephalitis has been in our news over the past few weeks. The third case of EEE this year was found in a Tyngsborough horse that died from the illness. The mosquito threat level in neighboring Chelmsford and Westford has been set at moderate risk. EEE is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito causing serious swelling of the brain. One human case of EEE has been reported this year. The news of higher threat calls for mosquito control measures in the Central Massachusetts area.
Mosquitoes are a problem until the first frost when most die or retreat until the weather becomes warm again. Protecting yourself from being bitten is the first step to avoid acquiring a mosquito-borne illness. Wear long clothing, especially in the evening when most mosquitoes come out. Apply repellent that contains DEET to your body when going outdoors. In your own Central Massachusetts yard ensure that items likely to collect water are tipped over every couple of days. Keep your lawn cut short and discard the clippings.
Although mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illness is high profile, there is a larger threat in our Central Massachusetts area. You are more likely to contract a tick borne illness in our area than a mosquito-borne illness. Why is this so dangerous? Unlike mosquitoes, ticks don’t buzz or hurt when they bite. They are quiet and stealth. The tiniest of ticks are often the most dangerous and hard to see! How can you protect yourself?
- Clear debris. This is especially important in moist, shady areas where ticks thrive.
- Clean. Get rid of leaf litter, brush off sidewalks and mow grass.
- Choose plants that are not attractive to deer. Deer will carry ticks into your yard.
- Check hiding places often. Ticks like to congregate at the bottom of brick walls and fences.
- Care for your pets. Ensure you check family pets for ticks and apply tick medication regularly.
- Call a tick control professional. Mosquito Squad of Central Massachusetts’ tick control eliminates ticks that may be carriers of Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis and Babesiosis.