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05/09/11

Lyme disease is one of many tick-borne diseases in Minnesota.  This potentially serious bacterial infection is caused by the bite of an infected Black Legged tick, also known as a deer tick.  May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month and Plunkett’s Pest Control wants you to know as the temperatures start to rise and families get more active outdoors, there are a few precautions that can be taken to help reduce your risk of contracting this serious disease. The Black Legged tick is a small, oval insect that typically feeds on the blood of wild animals such as deer, raccoons, fox and mice.  These tiny insects do not have the ability to jump or fly; they simply attach themselves to a host as one passes by.  Lyme disease can affect both humans and our pets and if you or someone in your family are unlucky enough to get bit by an infected deer tick, early symptoms of Lyme disease affect everyone differently, but may include flu-like symptoms such as:

  • A red rash
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Weakness and fatigue
If initially left undiagnosed, these symptoms will go away on their own, but will return months or years after the initial bite and they will be worse.

Simple Precautions To Help Prevent A Tick Bite

When planning an outdoor adventure this spring there are a few things you should do to protect yourself and your family:
  • Wear light colored clothing to make it easier to spot a tick
  • Wear long pants tucked into your socks and long sleeved shirts
  • Make sure to do a “tick check” after you return indoors
The Minnesota Department of Health recently published a map of the state noting the highest risk areas for tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease.  That map can be viewed by clicking here: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/lyme/highrisk.html.  If you live in the red shaded areas, you could be at risk. There is no way to guarantee that your Minnesota backyard will be 100% free of Black Legged ticks, but there are a few things that homeowners can do to help reduce their numbers:
  • Cut back trees, shrubs and other wooded areas away from your yard
  • Keep your lawn mowed to less than 3 inches
  • Do not feed wild animals
  • Fence in your yard to keep wildlife from wandering through
  • Plant gardens in the center of your yard, rather than the edges where animals can reach
Since 1915, Plunkett’s Pest Control has been providing quality, affordable pest control services in Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Indiana, and Wisconsin.  For more information on treatments for the Black Legged or any type of tick, contact us today!


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