On November 29, 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that it is working with experts in academia, agriculture and public health to understand the latest pest threat known as the Asian longhorned tick.  The tick was first noticed in 2013 on a dog and most recently on a sheep in 2017.  So far, the menace has been spotting in these nine states:

  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

To read more about this, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

What Can Pest Control Companies Do to Help Their Customers?

The first thing pest control companies can do is get the word out about the threat in the affected states.  Communication is the most important thing.  Letting clients know about the threat gets the situation out in the open and helps everyone get on the page for identification, prevention and treatment.

Pest control service companies should start communications now since southern states such as Arkansas and North Carolina are warmer and will most likely be affected through winter.  Start with some small communication pieces and ramp up to a springtime campaign since spring is only a few months away.  Real Green Marketing can help you start planning your awareness campaigns.  You can talk to one of our reps by calling 800-422-7478, option 6.

The second thing pest control companies can do is provide advice and resources.  Citizens and news professional in the affected locations will be looking to the experts in their area to learn how to identify the Asian tick, where to look for it, and what to do if they spot in, especially if it’s near or at their home.  If it’s been spotted, they will want to know what to do to control the spread, which leads into the next step.

The last thing pest control companies can do is provide service with treatment options that can stop the spread of Asian tick.  Dogs, cats and children are more susceptible to tick bites since they are closer to the ground.  Provide treatment that reduces the odds of your customers’ family and pets getting bit by ticks.  One option that you can offer is a tick tube, which can be placed around the yard in addition to professional pest control applications.

What are Tick Control Tubes?

Tick control tubes are made of cardboard or PVC pipe then filled with Permethrin soaked cotton balls. Cardboard tick control tubes are biodegradable and will break down naturally. PVC tick control tubes can be reused and stored for the next season. Almost all rodents will take nesting materials. Therefore, cotton looks very appealing, especially when it’s free for the taking. Permethrin is used to fight ticks before they can mature into adults.

Tick control tubes are placed around the yard in addition to professional tick and mosquito control spray applications. The tubes are a safer option for children and pets, especially when all warnings are taken seriously. Follow all precautions on the Permethrin bottle to avoid any harm. Permethrin can be purchased at most home improvement stores, farm supply stores and online through Google and Amazon.

Where to Place Tick and Pest Control

Hide the tick control tube under mulch, wood, rocks or other yard decorations. Follow all precautions on the label. The rodents naturally go into the tube looking for nesting materials. The Permethrin soaked cotton balls are taken into the rodents nest. The Permethrin is released within the nest killing the ticks in the nymph stage. This keeps the adult ticks from attaching to the mice for a blood meal.

It’s not clear if Asian longhorned ticks do this, but most ticks start in the nest of rodents. Different from most ticks, the Asian longhorned tick can produce close to 2,000 eggs without even mating.  As a result, mice could potentially carry hundreds or even thousands of young ticks. Stopping the ticks before they reach the adult stage, keeps them from reaching humans, pets, and outdoor wildlife such as deer and squirrels. Homeowners can slow the spread of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.  Asian longhorned ticks have been known to the spread viruses that causes severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) and Japanese spotted fever.

Use Permethrin with Caution

Permethrin is extremely toxic to cats, fish and tadpoles, bees and other insects. As a result, never spray near plants or flowers that bees may use for pollination.  Keep the tick tubes away from all bodies of water.  And finally, make sure your pest control technicians wear all their protective gear.  Though Permethrin is poorly absorbed by humans, consistent exposure can cause headache, nausea, muscle weakness, excessive salivation, shortness of breath, and even seizures.

Follow all warnings

Finally, follow all precautions on the warning label. Apply the Permethrin to the cotton ball. Almost all of the tubes will need to be refilled every two to four weeks. Permethrin breaks down over time, especially when exposed to the elements. Permethrin can be purchased premixed or may need to be diluted with water.