As the Massachusetts Lyme disease epidemic grew over the past several years, the amount of information available about the disease grew as well. Unfortunately, not all of the information out there is informed and accurate. At Mosquito Squad of Central Massachusetts and the North Shore, we have a few select trusted resources such as the CDC, MDPH, and Tick Encounter Resource Center. We recommend that if you read something about Lyme or ticks in general, that seems unlikely, refer to the sources above to check for accuracy. Until then, check out these top 5 misconceptions we’ve heard more than once around town.
I don’t need to worry about ticks; I don’t go in the woods.
Ticks hitch a ride on deer and rodents. So they can be found anywhere those animals may venture. They especially like dark and moist places along fence lines, wood piles, retaining walls, and even shady, damp areas in your lawn. They cannot last long in a dry, sunny space, which makes keeping your lawn trimmed and short a great way to keep them out of your most trafficked areas. Follow the C’s of tick control for your yard for other tick prevention tips.
If a tick bites me, I’ll know it.
Do you know how small a tick can be? As small as a poppy seed. If that is not enough to convince you that it can bite you without you noticing, we have some science. Ticks secrete a painkiller with their saliva to help them go unnoticed. This survival tactic helps them stay attached for the several days it takes to get a full blood-meal. It takes a tick being embedded for more than 24 hours to transmit Lyme, making safe tick removal a vital component to Lyme disease prevention.
It’s not summer; there are no ticks out now.
Adult ticks can be seeking a blood-meal all winter long if they are not buried in snow. So their prevalence is certainly depending on the winter weather. There is often a surge in October, right when you think you can forget about summer insects and pests. Be careful during hunting season, where the deer are, the ticks are.
It can’t be Lyme; I didn’t get a bulls-eye rash.
Did you know only 70-80% of confirmed Lyme patients have a bulls-eye rash? Not only that, ticks often hide in discreet places. If you never saw a tick on you, you could have had a rash in a place you would not notice. Don’t dismiss Lyme as a possibility because of a lack of the infamous target-shaped rash.
Lyme disease is sexually transmitted.
Despite many theories and anecdotes, the CDC has no evidence that Lyme is transmitted through sexual intercourse. The only person-to-person transmission of Lyme has been found from mothers to their unborn infants. It is however recommended that you not donate blood if you have Lyme disease.
Avoiding tick bites, period, is still the best form of Lyme disease prevention. From Worcester County to Middlesex and out to Essex County, Mosquito Squad of Central Massachusetts and Mosquito Squad of the North Shore is here to answer your tick questions. Whether you need tick control for your property or need expert advice, give us a call at 877-957-1940. We look forward to hearing from you.