2016 Maine Tick and Mosquito Problem UpdateApril 8, 2016
After a long, dark and dreary winter, springtime in Maine is universally celebrated. For it brings with it more sunshine, warmer temperatures and greater opportunities to get outside and enjoy our beautiful landscape.
Unfortunately, the downside to warmer temperatures also means that long dormant outdoor pests, including mosquitoes and ticks, will start to become active once again. Like any other hibernating animal, ticks emerge from the underground dens they shared with mice and other rodents, ravenously hungry, and immediately go in search of a meal.
Maine’s mild winter likely to boost tick population
Following a record setting warm winter, many experts are now predicting that Maine’s tick and mosquito population will also be higher than average too.
Just last week, Griffin Dill, coordinator of the University of Maine’s tick identification program, explained the situation in a Portland Press Herald article. “More ticks tend to die off during the winter when there are a few weeks in a row of temperatures around zero with no snow on the ground to provide insulation. That never happened this year,” said Dill. ““They are going to be out early, and in higher numbers (this spring).”
Of particular concern here in New England is the Blacklegged (deer) tick because it is the most common type of tick carrying the Lyme disease bacterium.
According to the TickEncounter a national tick resource center founded by the University of Rhode Island, here in the northeastern United States, as many as 20% of Blacklegged tick nymphs and 50% of adult females are infected with the disease.
If bitten by a tick, it’s very important to remove it right away, ideally using a pointed pair of tweezers. Blacklegged ticks that are attached for less than 24 hours are unlikely to have transmitted any infection.
Once removed, try to identify it by visiting websites such as Tickencounter or the Tick Identification Lab at UMaine. The TickEncounter website also encourages people to take a photo of the tick and submit it to them for verification.
Early season mosquito and tick treatments have long term benefits.
A bright spot for Mainers looking to control ticks and mosquitoes on their properties is that both insects generally do not travel more than a few hundred feet during their lives.
That’s one reason why government agencies such as the CDC and EPA stress the importance of eliminating potential breeding habitats for mosquitoes, including removing any standing water from around the home, as an important component of reducing the mosquito population and the risk of mosquito-borne diseases.
Maine homeowners can learn how to identify and remove potential mosquito breeding sites from their properties and reduce the risk of transmitting vector borne viruses such as Zika, Dengue and West Nile by visiting https://www.epa.gov/mosquitocontrol
By reducing the number of places that mosquitoes can breed – especially early in the season – homeowners can have a positive impact on the number of mosquitoes on their property.
Since a single female mosquito can lay between 100 and 300 eggs on the surface of stagnant water overnight, eradication of one mosquito in April and May prevents hundreds more from emerging in June and July.
As the old saying goes “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”
Many Maine homeowners also take additional steps to further reduce mosquito and tick populations by hiring a professional mosquito and tick control service to treat their properties. Lucas Residential offers mosquito and tick treatment programs that can rapidly – and dramatically – reduce adult populations and also assist homeowners identify any tick or mosquito problem areas that may be contributing to their presence.
Call Lucas Tree Experts today and we’ll make sure that your yard is as pest-free as possible in 2016 … and beyond.
How Bad Will Mosquitoes and Ticks Be This Year? MPBN News, March 31, 2016
Mosquitoes able to carry Zika farther north than originally believed. WCSH, March 31, 2016
Are Mosquitoes Infected with Zika in Maine? Lucas Tree Experts, May 24, 2016