NEW YORK, NY (July 13, 2011) – As many had expected, and some others predicted, bed bugs have returned to New York this summer. However, the issue that really has Assured Environments perplexed is the uncanny amount of tick-related calls that have been received this year.
Assured Environments – the largest, privately owned pest solutions-company in New York – has seen bed bug resurgence again this summer. “Bed bug calls lagged in the early part of this year but are now starting to cause problems again for many New Yorkers,” explains Barry Beck, COO of Assured Environments. In June and July alone, Assured has handled over 330 bed bug service calls. “This increase of calls is not unexpected as the reproductive cycle of bed bugs is faster in warmer months, leading to more infestations and cause for concern.”
However, the pest control industry veteran is astonished with the latest outbreak of an uncommon NYC household pest: ticks. “In my 30-plus years in this industry I have never seen anything like this. We just received 4 independent calls regarding ticks yesterday alone,” says Beck. Already this year, Assured Environments has provided service for 8-times as many tick-related calls than in previous years.
Assured Environments has treated for ticks in various locations throughout New York City and Long Island. There are five main types of ticks common to the New York region and Assured has treated for four of these types of ticks: American Dog ticks, Blacklegged/Deer ticks, Lone Star ticks and Brown Dog ticks. The one tick that Assured has not seen in New York homes or business this year is the Groundhog tick.
Ticks are very similar in nature to bed bugs. Both require blood meals to survive and molt to different stages within their life cycles. Female ticks also require blood meals to be able to lay eggs. Depending on the species of tick, the number of eggs laid may range from a few hundred to a few thousand and is largely dependent on the volume of blood consumed prior to laying this single batch of eggs. The egg-laying process can take several days, even up to three weeks to complete and the female will die shortly after laying her eggs.
Ticks, like bed bugs cannot fly, but rather rely heavily on their hitchhiking ability to move from host to host. Ticks spend periods of time in the burrows or nests of their hosts, which tend to be outdoors, rather than indoors, where bed bugs are usually found. Typically, ticks must come in contact with the host in order to hitchhike and transport themselves from environment to environment.
The real cause for concern with ticks is health risks. Unlike bed bugs, ticks do transmit diseases to their hosts. The most widely known disease they are likely to spread is Lyme disease, but they do carry many other disease organisms and pathogens such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, encephalitis, and ehrlichiosis. Tick bites can cause skin irritations and allergic reactions. Their bites can also cause a rare limp paralysis starting in the lower limbs and moving upwards, possibly even becoming fatal.
It is still unclear as to what the influx of ticks is attributed to at this point. Dr. Austin Frishman, a pioneer entomologist in the pest management industry and consultant to Assured Environments seems to believe one of the main causes of this situation is that the treatments veterinarians have been using have become ineffective over time. Dogs, cats, cows, chickens and rodents, even birds, are possible hosts for ticks and likely a great transportation resource for these arthropods. “The weather is also a contributing factor,” explains Dr. Frishman.
“The best information we can provide to the public at this time are proactive measures people can take to reduce their risk of ticks,” says Beck. “There are no protective vaccines for humans for diseases spread by ticks, so avoiding tick bites is the best strategy. When traveling, avoid areas known or suspected of tick infestation and avoid brushing up against vegetation and tall grass. Wear proper clothing while in any potential tick habitat: light clothing so you can notice ticks, closed-toe shoes, socks, long pants and long sleeves. Keep stray pets and animals outside your home and off your premises. Homeowners should keep their lawns well maintained. On beaches, avoid walking through the dunes. You can also apply tick repellent to clothes and exposed skin wherever you go.”
For more information about pest management, bed bugs or ticks, contact Assured Environments or a local public health organization.