By Chris Keefer, Ph.D., technical services manager, Syngenta Professional Pest Management
Ticks are ectoparasites that are vectors for illnesses like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which makes them a risk to human and pet health. To help prevent the spread of harmful illnesses, you need to understand where to inspect for ticks and how to best control them.
You must inspect indoors and outdoors when treating a tick infestation. Indoor ticks, if not on a host, generally harbor in areas that have less traffic to avoid being disturbed. This includes cracks and crevices in baseboards, door and window frames and large voids within living areas. Any cluttered area that is not frequently occupied could be a harborage site. You should also inspect pet bedding, human and pet sleeping areas and closets.
When outdoors, inspect any shaded areas, crawlspaces, pet-loitering areas, spaces with tall grass, forested areas and any places where wildlife is suspected to bed down or rest. To better protect your customers, you may also want to conduct a tick drag to assess the density of ticks in the yard or surrounding areas. Watch the following video to learn how to properly conduct a tick drag, which will help survey an area for ticks and assess the efficacy of a tick treatment.
Share the following tips with your customers before beginning a tick treatment on their properties:
- Remove all items from the floor to maximize the treatment area
- Clean and dry floor surfaces
- Vacuum carpets, rugs and furniture and dispose of the vacuum bag offsite to prevent a potential resurgence
- Wash pet bedding and human bed linens, drying them on a hot setting
- Remove all household animals, such as fish, reptiles, cats and dogs
- Bathe cats and dogs and have a veterinarian treat them for ticks
- Mow, trim and clear the yard of all obstacles, including children and pet toys
- Remove pet bowls and clean pet sleeping areas within the yard
Communicate these tips to your customers and confirm they’ll be able to follow them before treatment. Additionally, explain the tick life cycle and discuss treatment expectations with them. For example, your customers may see a few ticks for up to two to three weeks after treatment because of the tick life cycle.
To help achieve a successful treatment, follow these tips on application day:
- Apply product on the topside and underside of rugs and couch cushions
- Do not allow anyone back in the structure until sufficient time has passed to ensure all treatment areas are dry
- Focus treatment on tick harborages, which are generally shady, protected areas
- Treat vegetation up to 3 feet high to account for tick-questing behavior
- If heavy vegetation is nearby and cannot be mowed or trimmed, confirm with the customer whether it’s still okay to treat the area
- Use sufficient product volume to cover the treatment area
Using a residual contact insecticide can help produce the best results because it controls adults and nymphs at the time of treatment. Demand® CS insecticide is a residual contact insecticide that is effective against ticks and is recommended in a 90-day treatment protocol as part of the proven SecureChoiceSM Tick Assurance Program (exterior only).
With proper education and knowledge of control efforts, you can provide your customers extended control of ticks. For more information about effective tick control, 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.
Metcalf, R. L. and W. H. Luckmann. 1982. Introduction to Insect Pest Management. Wiley Interscience Publication. New York, NY.
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