April 24, 2013
I am sure that almost everyone who reads this column knows someone who has Lyme disease or you may be unfortunate enough to have or had the disease. There is always a lot of discussion on how to prevent the disease from happening to you. In many cases, people tend to think that ticks in fields or wooded areas bite you. The truth may very well be that an infected tick bites you in your own yard!
Ticks called deer ticks carry Lyme disease. These ticks feed on deer but also feed on small rodents such as mice, squirrels and chipmunks. Research has shown that 75% of the infected ticks come from feeding on small rodents. The most commonly infected rodent is usually the white-footed mouse. If you know anything about mice, you know that they are abundant in New England and their population is hard to control. I suppose that if you eliminated all the mice, then we would have a lot less Lyme disease to contend with. However, you probably will never eliminate the mice so why not use the mice to kill the ticks. This can be done with a product called Damminix.
Damminix is a product that consists of paper tubes that look like the paper roll that comes with toilet paper. The rolls are filled with cotton balls. The cotton balls are treated with an insecticide called permethrin. The tubes are placed in your yard in areas where mice live or where they may frequent. This would be near stonewalls, brush piles, dense shrubby areas or under decks. When the mice find the tubes, they will take the cotton balls back to their home to create a nice nesting area. The permethrin on the cotton balls coats the mouse’s fur. From that point on, when the mouse is out and about, ticks will climb onto the mouse and be killed by the insecticide. The insecticide doesn’t kill the mouse; rather it turns the mouse into a mini exterminator in your yard.
The Damminix tubes need to placed in your yard twice a year to be the most effective. One of those times is in late April. In the spring, the nymph stage of the tick is very actively feeding on mice and other rodents. In the late summer, the larval stage of the tick is feeding on the mice. It is important to do the twice a year application if you want to reduce the deer tick population in your yard. We have been selling this product in our store for many years. The customers who have used it twice a year have found a significant decrease in tick population in their yard.
Controlling deer ticks is a an ongoing process because deer populations are increasing and with the deer come adult ticks that set off the whole process of laying eggs that become the larvae and nymphs that feed on the mice and ultimately all stages then feed on humans and their pets.
I have tried to simplify the information about using Damminix and on how ticks can infect you and your pets. If you need more information, you can stop into the store or go to the Damminix web site.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.