What you need to know about Ticks and Mosquitoes on Cape Cod
With temperatures on the rise again on Cape Cod, also comes the rise of ticks and mosquitoes. For years, these biting insects have kept many folks on Cape Cod from truly enjoying their yards and some of the great outdoor destinations the Cape has to offer. They aren’t just nuisances that we find ourselves swatting away; they carry with them the real concern of transmitting viruses and diseases that could alter your entire life.
It seems like every year, there is yet another virus that mosquitoes are at risk of transmitting here in the U.S., most notably EEE, West Nile, and now the ZIKA virus.
In regards to ticks, the most successful vehicle of Lyme disease around, there are three types commonly found on Cape Cod; the Deer Tick, Dog Tick, and Lone Star Tick. (pictured below)
Yard Tips for Ticks
- Remove Leaf Litter
- Clear tall grass and brush around edge of lawn
- Mow lawn frequently
- Remove clutter of any kind. (trash, wood piles, yard debris)
- Discourage unwelcome animals (deer, raccoons, stray cats, etc)
- Place a 3 ft barrier of gravel or wood chips around recreational areas in yard to avoid tick migration.
Yard Tips for Mosquitoes
- The most important thing you can do to discourage mosquitoes is address any standing water. Common culprits are garbage cans without lids, buckets, tarp covers, backed up gutters and un-chlorinated children’s pools.
- Dense vegetation around the house or recreational areas.
- Making sure window and door screens are intact.
While making your yard as unattractive as possible to mosquitoes and ticks is definitely a worthwhile effort, treating your yard is usually required to truly get these pests under control. I spoke to Dan Caouette, owner of Pest Pros, to learn more about how treatments work. His company has been doing mosquito and tick control for several years on Cape Cod and the South Shore. “We do a combination of fogging and applying granules around the perimeter of a yard. We’ve found that treating at least once a month, keeps a yard under control throughout the Spring and Summer. Our customers have given us great feedback on our treatments and rave about how they can actually enjoy their yard again!”
What about your pet?
Pets are usually the member of the household that are most susceptible to bites from ticks and mosquitoes. While having the yard proactively treated is a great way to reduce a pet’s exposure to tick and mosquito bites, treating them directly offers the greatest level of protection. The most common treatment methods are topical products to be applied to their coat, digestible pills and tablets and protective collars. Collars target primarily the neck and head, which tend to be where ticks gravitate to. Topical treatments like powders, shampoos and spot-ons can be fast acting and help control fleas as well. Pills and tablets can also be an effective option and generally require a prescription. There are also mosquito repellents on the market and since this flying biter is known for carrying heartworm, preventative medication for heartworm can be worth looking into. You should always consult your vet or knowledgeable pet store rep when choosing the most appropriate product for your pet.
So, to combat ticks and mosquitoes this year remember; Don’t forget about protecting your pet as well as yourself, go through your property and make sure you are not inviting these pests over, and consider proactively treating your yard by a professional.