How Tick & Mouse Populations are Connected
You might be surprised to discover the close connection between ticks and mice. How close? Unfortunately, where there’s one, chances are the other is there, too. Tick populations heavily rely on mouse (and other rodent) populations for their own survival and this is especially true during the winter.
The trouble for New England homeowners begins when we find a mouse in our house. In most cases, “Jerry” is there seeking food and warmth to help weather the winter. This uninvited guest brings his tick friends and that’s when the threat to human health and safety ramps up.
Keep an Eye on Your Acorns
Did you know that the acorns we see in our yards could be connected to Lyme disease? It might sound like a stretch, but the amount of acorns in the late fall and early winter could predict the tick population for the next spring.
What do acorns and Lyme disease have in common?
Mice, specifically, dine on acorns to help them survive the winter hibernation. While this is happening, ticks happily attach to these mice for all of their meals.
You may not know that a tick’s palette goes beyond deer and humans. Just about any vertebrate host will do; making the mouse a top choice for ticks, who rely heavily on the mouse population in the winter months to stay alive.
What is Lyme Disease?
The most common vector-borne disease in the United States, symptoms of Lyme disease commonly present as headache, fever, and fatigue, but can vary depending on the person. Approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme are identified each year thanks to these specific symptoms, and often the presence of a rash, or the exposure to a tick infested area.
Is Lyme Disease Treatable?
Yes, and treatment should be sought as soon as possible. Left untreated, Lyme can quickly spread to your joints, heart, and nervous system. A course of antibiotics, accompanied by careful monitoring of the bite site will help treat most cases of Lyme.
Stop the Cycle with Professional Pest Control
How can we help stop the cycle connecting tick and mice populations?
Controlling one pest will naturally help control the other. In this case, it might just be easier to start with the mouse in your house. Mice are quite vulnerable in the winter, this is why you are more likely to find them checking into your home in the colder months.
The months leading up to the winter season offer the best time to help reduce the overall population of both pests. Preventing mice from entering your home is the best place to start as this will help control the populations in your yard by default, reducing the opportunity for ticks to survive to adulthood by the spring and summer.
You can help keep the mice out of your home this winter by taking a careful look at your property and then taking the time to check off the following boxes:
- Close off access points to your home—this includes exterior doors, windows and garage doors
- Keep the house tidy, making sure to clean crumbs off the floor and countertops
- Store trash bins and bird feeders away from the house
- Seal dry foods in airtight containers with well-fitted lids, including pet food
- Adopt your very own ‘Tom’ cat
What if Mice Are Already in My House?
That’s why we’re here. A pest control professional can take care of the heavy lifting and maintenance for you, be it to keep mice out or kill any ticks already on your property. Let us help you prepare for the winter and check your home for any presence of unwelcome visitors.
With winter well on its way, this is the ideal time to reach out to us for all your pest control needs!