Updated: May 25
“A public health crisis is hiding in plain sight, with tick-borne diseases creating millions
of sick people at an economic cost running into the billions, and little has been done
so far to mount a meaningful defense.” - Medium.com
Of all the pests we dislike̶ and that list might include bed bugs, fleas, scabies, cockroaches, silverfish, and the like ̶ the one we invariably overlook is the humble tick. But this may be a mistake. Because the worldwide tick infestation is leading to an all-out health epidemic.
The Growing Tick Population
The tick population worldwide is expanding at an alarming rate and, with it, instances of tick-related illnesses. Reports of Lyme disease, for instance, have doubled in the last twenty years and between 2016 and 2017 they have risen by almost 18%. The fact is that of the 300,000-plus people who contract the disease each year, many of them reside outside New York and Maine, the two states traditionally associated with Lyme. It now appears that it has migrated to all 50 states, plus Washington D.C.
According to science journalist Mary Beth Pfeiffer, author of Lyme: The First Epidemic of Climate Change, “There is little doubt that it is pandemic. It’s in China, Russia, Japan, Australia. It’s moving fast into Canada. It is all across the U.S. It calls for a huge national and concerted international effort to bring it under control.”
Beyond Lyme Disease: Tracking Tick-Related Illness
Perhaps more troubling is that other tick-related illness, such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) is also a growing problem throughout the country. And that really is a problem because RMSF is significantly more hazardous, by far, than Lyme disease. In fact, it is potentially fatal, especially in children, if not treated promptly.
Add to this the threats posed by other tick-borne diseases ̶ such as Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Heartland virus, Powassan disease, Tickborne Relapsing Fever (TBRF), Tularemia, and recently identified 364D rickettsiosis ̶ and it’s easy to see why the medical community is on alert. C. Ben Beard, Chief Bacterial Diseases Branch and deputy director for the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control, points out that “Ticks account for more diseases than all other biting insects and arthropods in the United States. It’s hard to know what the maximum or the ceiling might be. All we can say is that the number of cases is growing every year.”
If that weren’t enough, scientists now believe that factors such as climate change, increasing globalization, and other factors, are helping tick populations to mushroom, as well as becoming increasingly dangerous, more hostile, and more likely to transmit diseases.
No one likes to find that a tick has attached itself themselves, but there is a way to remove them ̶ without going to the emergency room, or having desperate recourse to ‘old wives’ (otherwise know as country remedies) solutions. I happily quote from the Tick Removal page provided by the CDC:
“If you find a tick attached to your skin, there’s no need to panic—the key is to remove the tick as soon as possible. There are several tick removal devices on the market, but a plain set of fine-tipped tweezers work very well.
How to Remove a Tick
Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.”
Getting Rid of Ticks
As we pointed out earlier, there are a whole host of tick species, each of which inhabit their specific ecological niches and display their own particular modes of behavior.
To begin with you need to scour your property from top to bottom, and try to ascertain the type of tick you’re dealing with. Recognizing the species involved can actually help you eliminate it more easily. But, while ticks are small, they are not difficult to spot.
How Sterifab Can Help Get Rid of Ticks
As partisan as it may sound, we believe that Sterifab should be your insecticide of choice, unless, of course, you elect to hire a pest management professional (PMP). Still, you may well find that the PMP you hire probably knows all about Sterifab ̶ and probably uses it, largely because it’s non-residual, extremely versatile and very, very effective!
You can use Sterifab to treat virtually any type of tick problem, and, it can be applied to pretty much any object and in any location. Another reason so many PMPs employ Sterifab is that no other U.S EPA-registered product can be utilized in so many ways: as a viricide and bactericide, as an insecticide and disinfectant, as well as germicide, mildewcide, and fungicide.
Also keep in mind that because Sterifab is biodegradable (and dries in about 20 minutes) you can use it on upholstered furniture and mattresses without harming them. In fact, you can use it on practically everything, except, of course, people, animals and cooking utensils.
Getting Rid of Ticks at Home
Unfortunately, you can never be sure that you’ve eliminated every tick from you home (or office). Even a good PMP can’t promise that. It’s simply impossible.
But there are lots of things you can do to help keep ticks at bay. And they’re not too difficult to do.
Get rid of as much clutter from your home (or office) as you can. The fact is that ticks will make a home for themselves practically anywhere, but they do love piles of discarded newspapers, rugs and carpets, air ducts, attics, messy basements and piles of laundry. If in doubt, declutter!
Get out that vacuum cleaner and use it at least once a week. Nothing makes short work of ticks faster than a Dustbuster or a Hoover. And don’t forget to wipe down all those shelves, ledges, mantlepieces, and picture frames. Keep in mind that ticks can easily find their way into carpets, rugs, and furniture. Just clean regularly.
Protect your beds, mattresses and pillows with covers, if you can. Alas, ticks are especially attracted to bedding, so you need to make a special effort to keep them at bay. And by the way, bed bugs, like ticks, also have an affinity for mattresses and pillows, so you can do double duty by covering them with dust-proof covers.
Going forward you would be well advised to heed the counsel of the CDC when it comes to avoiding ticks, especially their bites. And by the way, the CDC is an invaluable source of information on all things tick related ̶ plus a few other valuable items.