Tech Notes

Tick prevention 101: what you need to know about Lyme disease, tick control and more

By Nicky Gallagher, Technical Services Manager, Professional Pest Management, Syngenta

With a steady increase in the occurrence and spread of tick-borne diseases, members of the pest control industry, public health officials and homeowners must know how to manage outdoor tick populations. Lyme disease is the fastest growing vector-borne disease in the U.S. Each year, more than 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported nationwide, while studies suggest the actual number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease is more likely around 300,000.1 A recent study also found a 44.7% increase in the number of U.S. counties that have recorded ticks carrying Lyme disease.2 The highest risk for Lyme disease occurs in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic and upper Midwest, with pockets of lower risk along the West Coast.

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. In the eastern half the country, B. burgdorferi is transmitted through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis (also known as the deer tick).The western blacklegged tick, Ixodes pacificus, is the vector along the West Coast.

Most humans are infected through bites from immature ticks called nymphs.3 Tiny and difficult to see (less than 2 mm in size), nymphs emerge and feed throughout the spring and summer months. Adult ticks can also transmit Lyme disease, but they are much larger and more likely to be discovered and removed before they have time to transmit the bacteria.

CClose up of tick​​​​​​​Tick profile: Ixodes scapularis (blacklegged tick/deer tick)

  • Habitat: Wooded, brushy areas
  • Hosts: White-footed mice, deer mice, chipmunks, shrews and white-tailed deer
  • Transmits: Lyme disease, Powassan virus disease, anaplasmosis and babesiosis
  • Activity:
  • Adults: October-May (as long as daytime temperatures remain above freezing)
  • Nymphs: May-August
  • Larvae: July-September

Blacklegged tick. Source: Scott Bauer, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org



Tick bite prevention tips

The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites:

  • Avoid wooded, brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter
  • Walk in the center of trails
  • Take extra precautions in spring, summer and fall when ticks are most active
  • Use tick repellents registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Repellents can protect exposed skin for several hours (always follow the product label)
  • Treat clothing with products containing 0.5% permethrin, which remains protective through several washings
  • Pre-treated clothing is available and may provide longer-lasting protection (always follow the product label)
  • Wear long pants, long sleeves and long socks
  • Tuck pant legs into socks or boots, and tuck shirts into pants, to keep ticks on the outside of your clothing
  • Wear light-colored clothing to help you spot ticks more easily

If you find a tick on your body, remove it quickly to reduce the risk of contracting Lyme disease.

Tick control: an excellent add-on service for your business


​​​​​​​To help keep these pests off of your customers’ properties, the SecureChoice℠ Tick Assurance Program from Syngenta can provide up to 90 days of outdoor tick control. This program features Demand® CS insecticide with proprietary iCAP™ technology, which provides immediate and long-lasting tick control to complement your service routes.

When making treatments according to the program protocol:

  • Focus treatment on tick habitats where the lawn meets the woods, stone walls or ornamental plantings
  • Spray several yards into bordering woodlands (areas of greatest tick density), ground cover vegetation near the home or walkways and perimeter areas of the yard often used by people (such as play areas, gardens, outside storage areas, walkways or paths)
  • Use sufficient spray volume to move the spray particles into vegetation up to 3 ft. high
  • Don’t allow people and animals to access treated areas until the application has dried

By taking extra precautions and an integrated pest management approach, you can suppress outdoor tick populations for your customers. For more information, visit SyngentaPMP.com/Tick or contact your local Syngenta territory manager.

Sources:
1 https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/index.html (accessed April 4, 2019)
2 Rebecca J. Eisen, Lars Eisen, and Charles B. Beard. County-Scale Distribution of Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes pacificus (Acari: Ixodidae) in the Continental United States. J Med Entomol. 2016 March; 53(2): 349–386.
3 https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/transmission/index.html (accessed April 18, 2019)
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All photos are either the property of Syngenta or are used with permission.

©2019 Syngenta. Important: Always read and follow label instructions. Some products may not be registered for sale or use in all states or counties and/or may have state-specific use requirements. Please check with your local extension service to ensure registration and proper use. Demand®, For Life Uninterrupted™, iCAP™, SecureChoice℠ and the Syngenta logo are trademarks or service marks of a Syngenta Group Company. Syngenta Customer Center: 1-866-SYNGENT(A) (796-4368).


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© Syngenta. Important: Always read and follow label instructions. Some products may not be registered for sale or use in all states or counties and/or may have state-specific use requirements. Please check with your local extension service to ensure registration and proper use. The trademarks displayed or otherwise used herein are trademarks or service marks of a Syngenta Group Company or third parties. Syngenta Customer Center: 1-866-SYNGENT(A) (796-4368).