May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, which means it is time to talk ticks! Blacklegged ticks, also called deer ticks, become active in St. Louis and surrounding Mid-Missouri areas in May and stay most active through July, but can be found well into the fall season. As you may already know, many species of ticks including blacklegged ticks carry Lyme disease. In past years, Lyme disease has been a serious concern and this year, we want to help raise awareness so families understand what exactly Lyme disease is and how you can get it from ticks.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi) that is usually found in mice including the white-footed mouse and deer mouse. It is when ticks feed on these mice that they themselves become infected with Lyme disease. Later, when ticks find humans, or our pets to feed on, it is the tick bites that eventually spread the bacterial infection to us known as Lyme disease.
Lyme disease does not come from every tick bite, only the ticks who are infected with the bacteria. But since we do not know which ticks are infected with Lyme disease, we must watch for the symptoms - fever, headache, extreme fatigue, and a bulls eye rash on the skin. Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics but it is important to see a doctor if you believe you are experiencing these symptoms and you have received a tick bite. As more time passes, symptoms become more severe.
Can I get Lyme Disease in St. Louis?
Deer ticks in St. Louis and Mid-Missouri are known carriers of Lyme disease so it is possible that if you receive a tick bite this spring, that it could be from an infected tick. To help reduce the threat of contracting Lyme disease, it is important to do everything you can to avoid getting a tick bite. This means applying insect repellent when going into woods or heavy landscaped areas, trying to keep yourself protected with layers of clothing, and wearing light colored clothing so you can see any ticks that attach to you. Click here to read more of our tick prevention tips!
If you are concerned that your property in St. Louis, Columbia, or elsewhere in our Mid-Missouri service area may have ticks, please contact Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions today. Oftentimes, homes that are surrounded by woods, have tall grass, or other heavy landscape are more prone to having ticks. In order to help control tick populations, our team of pest professionals will treat the exterior perimeter of the property with a residual pesticide if they find ticks present. In addition, they may include a rodent control program to eliminate the host populations for ticks.