Safety: Lyme disease


Chemical Controls. The use of insecticides is without doubt the best way to control ticks and reduce Lyme disease risk in the residential environment. Three pesticides to consider include chlorpyrifos (Dursban), carbaryl (Sevin) and cyfluthrin (Tempo), the latter being available only from specialists in pest control. Only one or two applications a year--in late May (to control nymphs) and September (to control adults) will significantly reduce the tick population on your property. The first two products mentioned above are commercially available in both liquid and granular forms. One should follow the label instructions for use against ticks. Do not use any insecticide near streams or any bodies of water as it may kill aquatic life or pollute the water itself.

The hiring of a professionally trained applicator should be seriously considered because most homeowners are not trained in pesticide application. Most tree companies in the northeast can spray for ticks. Furthermore, their superior equipment will probably insure a more thorough treatment. Some homeowners are reluctant to use insecticides because of a fear of harmful effects on their pets, children and the environment. The insecticides mentioned above are widely used and do not remain in the environment for an appreciably long time. They have been approved for use by federal and state officials. As is the case with all insecticides, the homeowner must make an informed judgement based on risk of pesticide use versus the benefits of avoiding Lyme disease.

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