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2018 Maine Tick Outlook

Maine has become well known for it’s tick population. Every year we see an increase in the coastal areas and watch the number of cases of Lyme Disease rise. Dog ticks and Deer ticks are the most prevalent in our state. Dog ticks do not typically carry harmful pathogens but they are a nuisance and cause discomfort for us and our furry friends. The Deer tick is the main culprit in carrying diseases that harm. Marshlands like those in Scarborough, heavily wooded coastal areas like Bath/Brunswick and the lake regions like those in Casco and Fryeburg are the most common habitats. But don’t be fooled! Any cool, dry wooded area can be host to these creatures.

Many believe that the deep freeze we had in January would help control the tick population. Ticks will hide under blankets of snow to remain warm and overwinter. Since we had a nice blanket of snow before the deep freeze, most survived. We at Mosquito Squad of Southern Maine have already heard from many of our customers that they found ticks on their dogs after walking them during the thaw. This is a clear sign that spring will bring another year of tick issues.

In New England, watch out for Male & Female blacklegged (deer) ticks as temperatures rise. Tick activity will increase towards the end of March and especially in April.

It is best to treat for ticks in the spring and fall during their hatching period. We treat during April/May and September/October to achieve the greatest effectiveness. Mosquito Squad of Southern Maine treats with two different methods. We have a proven track record of controlling the tick population. Treatments must be designed to be effective for every life stage of the tick. Many treatments only kill the adult ticks. While effective in controlling numbers, many times doctors and the Center for Disease Control find that the nymph stage Deer tick is the most common culprit in the spread of Lyme Disease. It is a common misconception that the Deer tick needs to feed on deer. Most times, the nymph stage tick is carried on to the property by a mouse or squirrel. The Lyme spirochete is spread from the white field mouse to humans and animals.

As the old adage goes, an ounce of protection is worth more that a pound of cure.

Browntail Moths

Maine is home to many insect species as well as many health issues. Browntail moths cause damage to trees in the adult stage. It is when they are in the caterpillar stage that causes the health issues. In Maine, browtail moths will spin filaments that will fold leaves and give their eggs shelter as they move into the next life stage. As they emerge as caterpillars, they have a brown fur that can cause Poison Ivy type rashes and respiratory issues. Even after they complete metamorphosis into the adult stages, the fur can remain. It is recommended to treat as the trees begin to bud.

Mosquito Squad of Southern Maine is now providing treatment for browntail moths as well as education on the species. The mid-coast area of Maine is where we see the most activity. Areas of Yarmouth, Freeport, Brunswick and Bath have shown the highest populations as well as our Downeast region. Apple and oak trees are the most common trees affected by browntail moths. There are other trees not native to Maine that can be affected as well. This is the time of year to check. If you see curled leaves, chances are your tree is infested. You can remove the leaves and place them in a bucket of soapy water for 24 hours to kill them. For areas you cannot reach, it is best to seek treatment from professionals. There are different ways to treat for browntail moths. Each professional will have their own methods. We at Mosquito Squad of Southern Maine have done our research and will use the most effective treatments that are the most environmentally friendly as we do with all of our applications for ticks and mosquitoes.

Maine has it’s challenges in terms of weather and pests. But as well all know, we have to blessing to live where many come to vacation because of the natural beauty. Mosquito Squad of Southern Maine is here to help you enjoy your yard!

Intergrated Pest Management

We would like to talk about Integrated Pest Management this time around. For the sake of space we will call it IPM, which is how we refer to it in the industry. At Mosquito Squad of Southern Maine we take the environment and any effects to it very seriously. We treat with only what is needed and offer information to help in the effectiveness of our treatments.

IPM constitutes a multilevel approach to pest management. We treat the property but also point out possible breeding grounds. Anything that can collect rain water can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Dry brush and hay are possible breeding grounds for ticks. By eliminating or segregating these breeding grounds from your treated living area, we can enhance the effectiveness of our treatments while enhancing your quality of your family’s outdoor enjoyment.

This also works to limit the amount of pesticides used in a geographic area. IPM is used in farming, on golf courses, at hotels and various other public areas. The more control maintained in other facets makes it much easier on the environment.

For example, place mulch around your flower beds, play areas and perimeter of your yard. This forms a barrier against ticks. They hate direct sun and this allows more sun to reach the ground taking away a cool area for them to rest and breed. That, along with treatment will greatly reduce the risk of Lyme carrying ticks to reach your family. The same thing applies to mosquitoes. We can treat the perimeter of your property and around your home but pooling water within that area can still breed mosquitoes. Be mindful of kiddie pools, tarps, wheelbarrows and any other place water can pool up. Up to 200 mosquito eggs can hatch in an area the size of a bottle cap.

Hope you enjoyed this and we will see you next month for more!!

Pollinators and Pesticides

Bees are in the news. It’s a very serious situation when it comes to our environment. Pollinators of all shapes and sizes are needed to keep our ecosystem balanced. This is something we take very seriously when selecting a pesticide for use in mosquito and tick control. Mosquito Squad uses a pyrethrin blend. The key to keep in mind is that a pesticide is designed to mitigate pests. Yes, if used improperly it can cause harm to other species. That is why it is so important to educate our technicians and the public. Most cases of damage come from private users. Anyone can buy certain types of pesticides in stores. If the mixture is off it can cause major damage to plant life, animals and non targeted insects. Most of us at the Squad are pet parents and realize that they are an integral part of our family.

Back to the pollinators! Bees are only one piece of an important program. It is imperative that we all know how to preserve them. Household cleaners, weed killers and other chemicals can be just as harmful. It is extremely important to follow all label directions when using chemicals. The major cases of bee genocide that you see in the news are during commercial blanket applications to a large area. Any broad application of insecticide, herbicide or larvicide can cause unforeseen issues. We follow integrated pest management practices which allows us to target specific areas.

All of our technicians are licenced through the state and have been expertly trained to mix properly. We mix on site to ensure the safety of the environment in case of accidents or equipment failures. We take our ecosystem in Maine very seriously. Our mix is only harmful to insects the size of a mosquito and tick while only being applied to their specific habitat on your property. We do not spray flowering plants where pollinators can be harmed. Our technicians are trained to walk the property if they are unfamiliar with it to map out any troubled areas, gardens, flowers or fruit producing trees.

My goal for these blogs are not to sell you on what we do. It is to educate the public and put a personal touch on our online presence. Mosquito Squad of Southern Maine is here to serve your needs and help you enjoy your outdoor living area!! After all, that’s why we live in Maine!!

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