By Dr. Chris Keefer, Technical Services Representative, Syngenta Professional Pest Management
Ticks are ectoparasites that can be a detriment to human and pet health. They’re also known vectors for illnesses such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Understanding their biology and how best to control them is crucial to minimizing their impact.
Ticks move through the following life stages: egg, larva, nymph and adult. Depending on species, temperature and availability of a blood meal, a tick can take several weeks, months or years to develop from an egg to an adult. An adult tick can live up to 18 months, and some may even live longer. Female ticks can lay anywhere from 20 to 10,000 eggs in their lifetimes depending on resources, habitat and species.
Some tick species, such as the brown dog tick, prefer the same host for the entire life cycle. Others, such as the black-legged tick, prefer different hosts for each life stage.
Prior to treatment, talk to your customers about the tick life cycle and set treatment expectations. They should know, for example, that it’s common to have a few ticks for two to three weeks after treatment because of the life cycle.
Before beginning a tick treatment, make customers aware of the following tips and determine the party responsible for each:
Remove all items from the floor to maximize the treatment area
Clean all floor surfaces so they’re dry at the time of treatment
Vacuum all carpets, rugs and furniture, and dispose of the vacuum bag offsite to prevent a potential resurgence
Wash all bed linens and pet bedding, and dry them on a hot setting
Remove all household animals, such as fish, reptiles, cats and dogs
Bathe dogs and cats and have a veterinarian treat them for ticks
Mow, trim and clear the yard of all obstacles, including child and animal toys
Remove pet food and water bowls
Clean pet sleeping/resting areas in the yard
On treatment day, use these best practices:
Apply the product to the topside and underside of rugs and treat both sides of couch cushions
Don’t allow anyone back into the home until sufficient time has passed to ensure all treatment areas are dry
Focus treatment on tick harborages, which generally include shaded, protected areas
Due to tick-questing behavior (when a tick waits on a plant with its front legs outstretched for a passing host), it’s important to treat vegetation up to 3 ft.
If heavy vegetation is nearby and cannot be mowed or trimmed, confirm with the homeowner that it’s okay to treat the area
Expert tip: Survey an area for ticks and assess the efficacy of a treatment by performing a tick drag. Watch Dr. Nicky Gallagher demonstrate how to properly conduct a tick drag in the following video:
For the best treatment results, use a residual contact insecticide that can control tick adults and nymphs at the time of treatment. Demand® CS insecticide provides immediate and long-lasting control of ticks and is recommended in a 90-day treatment protocol as part of the proven SecureChoice℠ Tick Assurance Program (exterior only).
With proper education, preparation and control efforts, you can help provide your customers extended control of ticks. For more information, visit SyngentaPMP.com/Tick or contact your local Syngenta territory manager.
Bennett, G. W., J. M. Owens and R. M. Corrigan. 1997. Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Control Operations. Advanstar Communications Inc., Cleveland, OH.
Koehler, P. G., W. H. Kern Jr. and R. M. Pereira. 2008. General Household Pest Control. University of Florida, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Gainesville, FL.
Mallis, A. 1990. Handbook of Pest Control. Franzak and Foster Co., Cleveland, OH.
Always consult the product label for complete use and application information
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