Mosquito and Tick-Borne Diseases: 4 Ways to Keep Your Family Safe

An American dog tick found in San Juan PR - Rentokil, formerly Oliver ExterminatingWhen you think of pests that pass on diseases to humans, mosquitoes and ticks are the two that come to mind first. Unfortunately, we end up dealing with both of them every summer here in the San Juan PR area. In tropical and subtropical climates like ours, bites from ticks and mosquitoes are more likely to result in serious illnesses than in other regions.

It’s important to stay educated on the ways that you can avoid vector-borne diseases every summer. Read on for the top tips on mosquito and tick control from our team of pest control experts at Rentokil, formerly Oliver Exterminating.

What Diseases Do Mosquitoes and Ticks Transmit?

Ticks and mosquitoes have been documented to pass on a long list of diseases to humans that they bite. Some of the most formidable include:

  • Malaria
  • Lyme disease
  • Zika virus
  • Spotted fever
  • Tularemia
  • Dengue
  • Yellow fever

Most of these diseases will subside on their own almost every time, but some, like malaria and Lyme disease, can potentially be deadly if untreated in severe cases. If you are experiencing a fever, rash, lightheadedness, or nausea that you think might be related to a mosquito or tick bite, talk to your doctor.

How to Stay Safe from Mosquitoes and Ticks

There are a variety of strategies that you can use to protect yourself from mosquitoes and ticks. Here are four ways to stay safe this summer:

  1. Bug spray: An EPA-approved insect repellent will discourage ticks and mosquitoes from biting you. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions before using.
  2. Long-sleeved clothing: Exposed skin is an open invitation for blood-sucking pests to have a free meal. Although it can be inconvenient in the summer, wearing long sleeves will help keep you safe from bites.
  3. Stay safe inside: When spending time indoors, keep your doors and windows closed or install screens. After a prolonged period outdoors, make sure to check yourself, your family members, and your pets for ticks.
  4. Professional pest control: If you’re experiencing a high volume of ticks or mosquitoes on your property, a technician can come out to assess the source of your issue and develop a plan to help you avoid pests going forward.

Mosquito and Tick Control in San Juan PR

For help dealing with either mosquitoes or ticks, you can rely on your local pest control company. At Rentokil, formerly Oliver Exterminating, we train our technicians to use mosquito barrier treatments, efficient exclusion efforts, and holistic inspection techniques to eliminate any pest outbreak that comes your way. Reach out today for a free quote!

How to Keep the Mosquitoes and Ticks Away

What mosquitoes look like in San Juan PR - Rentokil, formerly Oliver ExterminatingMosquitoes and ticks are common pests that San Juan PR residents deal with in the summer. Any time you’re outdoors during the warmer months, you’re at risk of a bite. With mosquitoes taking to the air and hanging by the water and ticks inhabiting the more densely vegetated areas, it seems like we can’t get away from blood-sucking pests.

Both of these pests are also difficult to keep away. There isn’t one step that takes care of both completely. In fact, lasting mosquito and tick prevention takes adherence to routines and mindfulness. Read on for our experts’ best advice on preventing mosquitoes and ticks this summer.

Best Ways to Prevent Mosquitoes

There are many methods of mosquito prevention that work, but using one without the others won’t result in much change. True mosquito prevention takes multiple forms – you should try:

  • Getting rid of standing water: Cover pools and spas when not in use, and clear standing water from gutters, planters, playsets, buckets, or anywhere else it has collected in your yard.
  • Using insect repellent: EPA-approved bug sprays and citronella candles can both work to keep mosquitoes from biting you.
  • Installing mosquito prevention equipment: Mosquito nets and fans can both be used to physically block mosquitoes from coming close to your home.
  • Getting a barrier treatment: Sometimes DIY mosquito control is not enough. Your local pest control company will be able to prevent mosquitoes with long-lasting spray treatments.

How to Avoid Ticks in San Juan PR

Ticks can be a bit trickier to take preventative measures against. Like with mosquitoes, keeping your yard organized and clear of any clutter or overgrown foliage can eliminate places that they can take shelter.

Ticks can latch on to us and go undetected for many hours due to the anesthetic properties of the saliva that they inject into us. This makes it important to check for ticks on yourself or your pets after spending extended periods of time outdoors. Especially when walking your dogs in areas with tall grass or lots of trees, be sure to perform a tick check afterward. If you do find one, make sure to remove it safely.

Professional Pest Control for Mosquitoes and Ticks

If you have been working to avoid ticks and mosquitoes to no avail, it might be time to contact your local extermination company. The experts at Rentokil, formerly Oliver Exterminating, can take care of your specific pest outbreak with unique and exhaustive treatments tailored to your needs. For a free estimate, contact us today!

The Safest Way to Remove Ticks

Tick found in San Juan PR - Rentokil formerly Oliver ExterminatingAs we gear up for another hot summer in Puerto Rico, we have to prepare for an influx of ticks as well. Our warm climate creates a perfect environment for ticks with its comfortable conditions and abundance of animals to feed on. Ticks are known transmitters of lots of serious diseases, including the notorious Lyme disease. Keep reading to learn how to remove ticks as safely as possible and lessen your chances of contracting a vector-borne illness this summer.

Species of Ticks Living in San Juan PR

Fortunately for us, Lyme disease can only be contracted through a deer tick bite, and this kind of tick doesn’t live in Puerto Rico. However, there are two common tick species in our area that are able to spread disease to humans:

  • Lone star tick: These ticks are pale brown in color with round, flat bodies. Female lone star ticks have a white spot on their back and particularly long mouthparts. They like to live in areas with dense vegetation.
  • American dog tick: These are very similar looking to the lone star tick. Both the male and female have white markings along the back, and their color is more of a reddish-brown than a pale brown. Both kinds of ticks measure about 5mm in length.

How to Remove a Tick Safely

If you notice a tick lodged in your skin, it’s best to remove it as soon as you can to lessen the odds of contracting a disease. The CDC has published their advice for safe tick removal – here are their four steps for safely dislodging and disposing of a tick:

  1. Use a thin pair of tweezers to grab the tick, pinching it as close as possible to the skin’s surface.
  2. Pull the tick out of the skin slowly and gently. If the tweezers twist as you pull away, the tick’s mouthparts could break off in your skin. Simply remove the mouthparts from the skin using your tweezers if this happens.
  3. Clean the bite with soap and water or rubbing alcohol after you’ve taken the tick out.
  4. Get rid of the tick by flushing it down the toilet or tossing it in a sealable trash can. Never squish a tick with your fingers.

If you have developed a rash or a fever that you believe to be related to a recent tick bite, consult a medical professional right away.

Professional Tick Control Services

If you’re ready to take the next step towards a tick-free summer, talk to your local pest control company. Here at Rentokil, formerly Oliver Exterminating, our exterminators are well versed in the particular tick issues that plague Puerto Ricans year after year. For a free estimate, contact us today!

Afraid of Rodents and Bugs? 2021 May Not Be Your Year

Entomologists from Rentokil Provide their Pest Predictions for 2021

READING, Penn. (Jan. 4, 2021) — As if 2020 didn’t present enough challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 could be a banner year for pests around the country.

To help residents prepare for 2021, entomologists from Rentokil used field knowledge and data to provide their predictions for pests in the upcoming year.

1. Rodents, Rodents Everywhere:

With shutdowns across the country, it’s no surprise that rodents are on the rise nationwide. Empty buildings, the scarcity of food and warmer winters have combined to create a rodent apocalypse.

“We’re seeing more rats in urban, suburban and rural settings because of the shutdowns,” said Marc Potzler, Board Certified Entomologist. “Food sources are cut off, and rats are having to travel to scavenge for food. We’ve seen rats out in public during the day, which is highly unusual.”

Warmer winters have also allowed for mice populations to boom in residential areas as it allows for a longer breeding season and there is a lower population loss due to hard freezes.

“Right now is the perfect time to rodent-proof your home,” said Potzler. “Make sure to repair any gaps on the exterior of your home, such as around garage doors, windows or pipes.”

2. Mosquitoes on the Move:

Mosquitoes populations have been increasing over the last few years. Aedes species, which are disease-carrying mosquitoes, are also moving to new areas. These mosquitoes can carry West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and Zika virus, among other diseases.

“There is an increase of mosquitoes across the country, but notably on the West Coast, and they are adapting each year,” said Eric Sebring, Associate Certified Entomologist. “We have seen evidence of behavior adaptation, where mosquitoes lay their eggs strategically to hatch throughout the season.”

Protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes by removing any standing water on your property. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as one teaspoon of water. Also, wear EPA-approved insect repellent while spending time outside.

3. Bed Bugs:

The chatter about bed bugs was quiet in 2020, but that’s not because they have gone away.

“As people begin to travel again, we will start to hear about bed bug infestations,” said Sebring. “Bed bugs can be dormant for several months at a time, so they can emerge when a food source, humans, become available.”

Bed bugs are considered hitchhikers, traveling from place to place on people, luggage, clothing and other personal belongings. Homeowners and businesses such as hotels, colleges, hospitals, senior living facilities, retail stores, and libraries have experienced problems with bed bugs.

If traveling, inspect the bed by pulling back the sheets to examine the mattress. Check your luggage before packing and unpacking, and look for signs of living or dead bugs the size of an apple seed or black fecal smears.

4. More Time Outdoors = More Pests.

From hiking to gardening to dining al fresco, there is no doubt that the pandemic has forced people to spend more time outdoors.

In 2021, we will see the outdoor pest pressures continue:

Ticks: Ticks are responsible for transmitting several diseases, including Lyme disease, to humans and animals. These small insects are found in grassy areas and in the woods, so it is important to inspect yourself and your pets after spending time outdoors. Cover as much skin as possible while outdoors, wear long pants, long sleeves, closed-toed shoes, and tuck pant legs into socks. Light-colored clothing will also help any ticks you pick up stand out.

Ants: “As soon as the weather starts to warm up, we will see an increase in ant populations,” said Tom Dobrinska, Board Certified Entomologist. “Most of the ants we are dealing with are odorous house ants. When spending time outside, make sure to clean up any food, water or sugary substances and ensure that your home is free of any holes or cracks for them to enter.”

Stinging Insects: Stinging insects, such as wasps and yellow jackets, emerge at the first sign of warm weather, and as warm weather seasons are getting longer, stinging insects have more time to create issues. Make sure you check for nests early in the spring as they are smaller and get early nest treatment. Make sure to keep windows and doors shut, and secure outside bins so stinging insects are not attracted to the contents.

5. Termites Aren’t Going Anywhere

Termites are a pesky problem, and unfortunately, are not going anywhere. Termites can cause extensive damage to structures, especially homes. As people are moving out of cities during the pandemic to more suburban areas, education about termite protection is key.

“We received more calls for termites this past year than we have in many years,” said Potzler. “It’s important to raise awareness for homeowners now to have proactive protection to keep from costly repairs in the future.”

6. Pests in the News:

There are a few pests that will continue to steal the limelight in 2021.

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug is an invasive pest that has been making its way across the country since it was first introduced from Asia in 2001. Besides its pungent odor, this stink bug has become a nuisance for homeowners as it gathers in large numbers on the sides of houses and buildings and enters through small cracks in the home. “The brown marmorated stink bug is here to stay,” said Dobrinska. “We will continue to see this species emerge in late spring in large numbers.”

The Spotted Lanternfly will continue to wreak havoc across the Northeast and beyond. The invasive pest, first found in Pennsylvania in 2014, is spreading across the Northeast, with New York reporting its first sighting this year. The pest can significantly damage trees and plants.

“The Spotted Lanternfly is becoming a big problem in the Northeast, and it will continue to spread,” said Potzler. “It can be devastating for agriculture and is a nuisance for homeowners.”

The egg masses look like a smear of mud on trees and outside of homes. It’s important to scrape the egg mass off, put it in a bag with rubbing alcohol and throw it away, and then call the state department of agriculture.

The infamous “Murder Hornet,” also known as the Asian giant hornet, grabbed many headlines, causing homeowners to panic trying to decipher the difference between stinging insects in their yards and this aggressive species. The Asian giant hornet is the largest hornet species in the world, growing up to 3 inches in length. Currently, the Asian giant hornet has only been found in the Pacific Northwest.

“We know that there was one colony found and eliminated in Washington State,” said Sebring. “Unfortunately, if there is one, there will be more.”

While your chances of being stung by an Asian giant hornet are fairly low, the sting can be dangerous as the venom volume is higher, causing more pain. The hives are primarily built underground or in hollows in trees. If you suspect it is an Asian giant hornet or any stinging pests, call your pest management provider to assess the situation as soon as you spot activity.