At least 84 tick species have been documented in the United States, and while 40 of these species reportedly bite humans, only 10 are considered species of medical importance. These ten species can transmit 16 tick-borne diseases to humans and animals, and most of these diseases have been becoming more and more common since the early 1980s. The most common tick-borne disease, lyme disease, rarely infected humans before 1982. During 2017, the number of lyme disease cases skyrocketed to nearly 43,000, and since only 10 percent of lyme disease cases are reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there may be as many as 376,000 new cases each year in the US. Researchers have found that the habitat range of dangerous tick species has been expanding significantly between the years of 1996 and 2017. Also, the number of diseased ticks have been increasing in the northeast for the past few years, and 50 percent of some tick populations in the northeast have tested positive for various diseases, most notably lyme. Unfortunately, tick populations have been expanding onto residential properties in the northeast, making the pests a problem for homeowners.
According to public health authorities in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey, tick pest issues have become a problem on residential properties, as ticks that are present on yards can easily hitch rides into homes on dogs, cats and even humans. Once ticks invade residential yards, their populations grow dramatically. For example, one of the most common carriers of lyme disease, the black legged tick, will see each female lay between 1,000 and 2,000 eggs in a yard per life cycle. Another dangerous tick species that recently invaded Massachusetts from the south, the lone star tick, sees females lay an average of 3,000 eggs, but they can each lay up to 8,000 in some cases. Tick pest issues on properties can be addressed with perimeter treatments that block the pests from infiltrating properties.
Are you concerned about the disease threat posed by ticks in residential areas?