Monthly Archives: August 2013

As Dangers of Tick Borne Disease Escalates, Education is Key

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There are few insects that inspire as much loathing as the tick. Aside from the almost primal aversion we all share to these blood sucking critters, these insects actually pose a serious public health danger. No discussion about the nuisance posed by pests would be complete without mentioning these creepy crawlers, and we owe it to ourselves to stay abreast of the information on how to manage their risk. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the topic, ticks are tiny parasitic arachnids that feed on the blood of humans and other animals. Although there is some variance in size and appearance between tick species, they are roughly the size of a sesame seed and adults are always eight-legged.

As creepy a picture as this already is, the situation becomes even more disturbing when it is taken into account that they are the vectors for several dangerous diseases. On Long Island Lyme disease is among the most serious and widespread disease that can be spread by ticks. The disease causes flu-like symptoms and 60-80% of cases are marked by a distinctive “bulls eye” pattern rash. Although Lyme disease is a treatable condition, it is not always diagnosed right away. If not properly treated Lyme disease can lead to serious long term health complications such as arthritis, neurological and cardiac issues. Since it is possible for an infection to go undetected, it is crucial to focus on prevention and avoid being bitten by ticks altogether if possible. For this reason it is prudent to take the time to learn some of the habits and behaviors of ticks so as to be better prepared.

As a rule, ticks do not jump or move very fast. They are, however, expert climbers. Their strategy for encountering prey is to clamber onto the top of tall grass, shrubs, or in areas with dense underbrush and simply perch there waiting with arms outstretched for something to walk by. As a human, deer, dog, or other mammal brushes past them, they latch on and hitch a ride. Although ticks can also be found on the ground, some types of ticks will not even crawl in the direction of prey. Once ticks do find a host they do not bite right away. On humans, they are known to crawl around for long periods of time looking for the ideal spot to feed. Most commonly this will be folds in the skin or other tucked away creases where the skin may be thinner. Examples of this would be behind the knees, the groin, armpits, the hairline, or behind the ears. Ticks feed until they become engorged before detaching themselves. The whole process is time consuming, and there is no threat of the tick biting the instant it latches on such as a mosquito or flea would. Several hours can pass between the time a tick first encounters a host and when it begins feeding.

One of the best ways to prevent tick bites is to avoid walking in tall grass altogether. While hiking or walking in the woods stay towards the center of the path and avoid brushing up against outlying vegetation. Stay on the trail and do not venture off into the woods where ticks may be lying in wait. Wearing light colors will make it easier to spot any ticks that may be crawling on top of clothing. Since ticks are frequently found in grass or on the ground, when spraying repellent it is best to focus on the lower body. DEET has been proven very effective, but natural chemical-free repellents such as plant-based Lemon Eucalyptus are a good alternative. Immediately following exposure to tick habitats, it is advisable to perform a thorough self-check for ticks focusing on the areas of the body that were mentioned earlier in this article. A quick shower is the most effective way to wash off any ticks before they sink their teeth in.

Should any embedded ticks be discovered, there is no need to panic. Of the 4 tick species prevalent on Long Island not all of them can carry Lyme disease at all and even among those that do (such as deer ticks) not every individual tick will be infected. In the event of a bite, studies have shown that in order to transmit disease an infected tick would first have to feed off its host uninterrupted for about 24 hours. Even then many tick borne diseases are treatable with antibiotics if diagnosed early.  Bites often go undetected because in the early stages of a tick’s development they are very small and they typically cannot be felt crawling on the skin. This demonstrates the importance of active prevention through self-checks. If an embedded tick is discovered during a check do not under any circumstances attempt to remove it by using petroleum jelly or any other cream to massage it out. This can lead to infection. Hastily ripping off the tick can cause parts of the tick’s jaws to detach and remain embedded beneath the skin, which can also lead to infection. Still worse is the possibility that an improperly removed tick can regurgitate back into the host’s bloodstream during its extraction. The best option is to use a pair of tweezers to gently pull straight back on the embedded head or jaws of the tick, and coax it out. If no tweezers are available the same can be accomplished using a stiff piece of paper or a fingernail. Once the tick is removed it would be wise to save it in a plastic bag for later identification.

Although tick populations are on the rise and Lyme disease is becoming more widespread than ever before, a greater understanding and awareness of ticks and their behavior will reveal that there is no cause for alarm.  The dangers of biting insects are frequently “hyped up” in overblown news reports, but understanding a few simple facts about the reality of these insects enables anyone to go out and enjoy the outdoors without having any irrational fears or worries. Although there are certainly real dangers posed by parasitic ticks, by following a few simple steps it is possible to protect oneself and dramatically reduce the risk.

Laura Sparling Employee of the Month

Congratulations to Laura Sparling for being selected as this month’s most outstanding employee. Laura is a hard-working and highly competent representative who truly knows the industry inside and out. She began her career in the Pest Control Industry in 1989 working for Nozzle Nolan in Florida, and then moved to New York in 1991 to work as an administrative assistant and office manager at Fumex.  When Fumex closed, she was employed by Magic Exterminating for 5 years. In February 2009, she joined the Arrow team as a member of our office staff. In addition to her office experience, she is also a State Certified Technician with certifications in 6 categories. Earning these certifications involves spending time in the field observing first-hand how the work is carried out as well as the characteristic behavior and management of a variety of pests. She applies this well rounded perspective and profound knowledge of the industry to assist customers over the phone, and is being rewarded for this dedication with her very own parking spot. Keep up the great work!

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Joe Kennedy Celebrates His 53rd Anniversary at Arrow

Arrow is a company that has always inspired loyalty in both its customers and its employees. We currently have 13 employees who have been with us for 20 or more years, and 16 who have been here for upwards of 10 years. No one exemplifies this sense of company loyalty more than Joe Kennedy, who has worked for Arrow a whopping 53 years and is celebrating his anniversary today. He began his lengthy career at Arrow in 1960. To put that in perspective, at that time Eisenhower was president and gas cost 31 cents a gallon.

Joe began his career diligently working alongside Arrow’s founder, Bernard Stegman. At the time that he was initially hired Arrow had a small office staff of 6 workers. We have since grown to over 100 employees. He held a variety of positions through the years including service technician, salesman, and manager before arriving at his current position of Vice President. He is proud to have “had a seat at nearly every desk in the office”, as well as working closely with Bernard Stegman in the early days. He was active in the fledgling Long Island Pest Control Association of which Bernard was one of the founders. This, in part, earned him a reputation within the industry as an excellent businessman and an authority on pest control.

He recalls many adventures and misadventures of the early days, where he would go out in the field with Bernard to tackle tough pest problems. In those days it was not understood that carpenter bees burrow holes in wood and can be eradicated through treatment of these holes, so the pair pioneered their own treatment techniques by sitting atop ‘A frame’ roofs and spraying at the bees in the air as they buzzed around them. For termite jobs, they used to have to drill through concrete slabs where they would occasionally strike copper piping below the surface. In these rare and unfortunate situations they would need to access the pipes in order to repair and reverse any damage. This involved burrowing a 2 square foot hole deep into the concrete.  We have come a long way since then, and Joe has been with us as a guiding force through all of our transformations. His perspective and wisdom is truly unique as he has been around to see the company and industry grow, in no small part due to his contributions. We are lucky that Joe is still with us as a resource and wealth of information that remains an integral part of our organization.ImageImage