Special Alerts & Warnings

DEER-LY BELOVED ARE TICKING OFF OTHERS
by Marge McClintock
Experts tell us that ticks have been increasing across the country and in our area as well. Some ticks, such as the Lone Star Tick, carry a virus that some scientists say is even worse than Lyme Disease as it can be transmitted in a very short time and can cause a severe and deadly allergy to red meat. This tick as well as the more common deer tick are not only a nuisance, but a significant health threat.
What are some ways you can protect yourself? While most people love to see a handsome buck with his full rack of antlers or a sweet dappled fawn, medical personnel and wild life experts are adamantly against anyone feeding wild deer — not only for the sake of the deer, but also for the sake of homeowners and their pets.  When deer are fed by people, they don’t develop their own foraging skills, and are more likely to die during the winter. But how about people?  Although mice, voles, and other animals can carry ticks, because of their size and behavior, deer are the primary host for the deer ticks that carry Lyme Disease, as well as several other dangerous diseases. Scary pathogens that are found on deer ticks are Lyme disease, babesiosis, human granulocytic ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, human monocytic ehrlichiosis, Q fever, Powassan encephalitis, and Southern tick-associated rash illness — AND you can catch more than one of these diseases from the same tick bite. One single deer can carry 500 – 1000 ticks and several million of the minuscule eggs and larvae.  So, here are some suggestions to protect you, your friends and relatives as well as your pets:
  1. Don’t feed deer — ever. 
  2. Always wear insect repellant, as well as clothing treated with repellant. (See other alert in this section of the website to learn what repellants offer the best protection.)
  3. When working in the garden or on walks outdoors, wear light colored clothing, so that ticks can be seen easily.
  4. Tuck your pants into your socks.
  5. Comb your hair thoroughly and check the rest of your body when you come back inside.
  6. Treat your pets with Frontline or other tick and mosquito control substances. Ask your vet about the best products for your pets.
  7. If your property is frequented by voles, mice, deer, or other animals that carry ticks (and that is most yards!), use repellents and/or have your property treated with insecticides to kill grubs and other food sources that may be attracting them.
  8. Seek medical assistance if you develop a bull’s eye rash, flu-like symptoms, or any other unusual symptoms, especially after you have been bitten. And, if you have spent a lot of times outdoors and have not been feeling well, ask your physician about being tested for a tick-born disease.  Some of these diseases can be treated with antibiotics, and if left untreated, people can develop a variety of health problems, including facial paralysis, heart palpitations, arthritis, severe headaches, and neurological disorders.  

Here are links to other articles should you wish to read more about this growing threat:

https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/avoid/on_people.html

http://www.dailyherald.com/submitted/20170424/itx2019s-time-to-watch-out-for-ticks

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324634304578537203916053308.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/03/well/family/with-a-tick-boom-its-not-just-lyme-disease-you-have-to-fear.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_hh_20170707&nl=well&nl_art=7&nlid=68860151&ref=headline&te=1


Warning from our National Garden Club President 
SUBJECT:  Milkweed
“It has been brought to my attention that some “Big Stores” have been selling Milkweed plants that have been treated with systemic Neonicotinoids. This will kill caterpillars! Please, be aware and be on the lookout for these tags placed in plants. Please pass this information along to members!”

Going Batty?

While we all go a little batty at times, especially in the fall when we rush to finish end-of-the-season gardening tasks and social obligations intensify, did you know that bats are far more active in autumn as well? With this increase in bat activity, you are more likely to encounter bats in or around your home. Lake County tests bats annually and have found roughly 4% are rabid. So, while it is recognized that bats can do much good for the environment with some species being pollinators and many bat species consuming pesky insects, we do not want any personal, close contact. The following links will give you information on what you can do to protect yourself and family and who you can call should a bat get inside your home or garage.

Lake County:
http://illinoiswildlifecontrol.com/lake-county-animal-control.html

U of Il Extension Service:
http://web.extension.illinois.edu/wildlife/directory_show.cfm?species=bat

 


Insecticide Warning!

Keep Pollinators Safe!

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Photo Credit: Marge McClintock

Bee Smart!

We are warned daily about protecting ourselves against the Zika and West Nile viruses, both carried by mosquitoes.  Wear protective clothing, use bug repellant, treat standing water, spray for mosquitoes.

Less often we hear about another disease affecting bees called Colony Collapse Disorder, which resulted in the loss of 44% of honeybee colonies last year in the US.  Bees are vital to our agricultural economy: their pollination contributed over $14 billion to the value of our crops in 2015, are necessary for many crops such as blueberries, cherries, and almonds — and of course, the more than 175 million pounds of honey harvested annually in the US.

But thiamethoxam and clothianidin — two insecticides banned in some European countries but sold in the US — have been found to reduce sperm in male bees.  Look for insecticides that don’t include these chemicals.  Don’t spray insecticides on flowers when they are in bloom.  And if there is a breeze — protect birds, bees, and yourself by not spraying insecticides until it is calm.  Bee safe!

To read more about Colony Collapse Disorder, click here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colony_collapse_disorder


Speaking of Mosquitoes…

What should we use to protect ourselves from these annoying and dangerous insects? If you are concerned about DEET, which is considered to offer the most protection, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says we can rest easy. It is safe! For more information, including using DEET on children, click here: https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/deet

What about all of those products or methods that claim to offer protection in “natural” or safe ways? Many don’t work. This article lists seven products or  methods that are not very effective. Check it out: http://www.health.com/home/ineffective-zika-products?xid=healthyliving08102016