Managing Pests with Tick and Mosquito Offense

Offering biodegradable treatment services for tick and mosquitoes anywhere in Washington and Hancock counties is Blair West of Tick and Mosquito Offense. (Photo by Lura Jackson)

The rural lifestyle is one of Maine’s primary attractions for residents and visitors alike, offering a reprieve from the ceaseless activity and industrialization of urban cities. Unfortunately, living rurally also means living with deer ticks – carriers of Lyme disease and a host of other co-infections. According to the CDC, Maine has the highest incidents of Lyme disease per capita in the nation, and the rate of infection has been climbing every year. Fortunately, those looking for a biodegradable solution to the tick proliferation can now recruit Blair West, owner and operator of Tick and Mosquito Offense.

West began his enterprise last year following his own uncomfortably close encounter with an infected deer tick. Based in Machiasport, he had recently sold his wholesale lobster company and was considering going into spraying for mosquitos, but his mission became refined when he found the characteristic bullseye-shaped rash associated with Lyme disease on his body after surveying a piece of land around Ellsworth.

West was prescribed a course of doxycycline to treat the infection. He started reading about the potential risks of Lyme disease. “I wasn’t even really nervous until I started reading about Lyme disease and how it works. It’s nasty stuff,” West said. “I definitely wanted to treat for ticks at that point.”

He undertook the necessary certification classes and exams and, with the assistance of Paul McFarland of Tick Talk in Camden – the nearest tick-focused spraying operation – West launched Tick and Mosquito Offense. He now offers fully-biodegradable sprays for both ticks and mosquitos, in either synthetic or natural compounds, to residents of Washington and Hancock counties.

West obtained a hydraulic power spraying system to enable the rapid and efficient disbursement of the treatment, a process that takes between 30-45 minutes depending on the size of the property. As part of his training, West knows the places that ticks prefer and he primarily focuses in those areas during the treatment. Once applied, the treatment dramatically reduces the number of ticks on the property. The process deliberately protects beneficial insects such as bees.

“If someone has a problem where their pets are bringing in ticks on a daily basis, we can knock it back to once a month or even nothing,” West said. The tick treatment lasts for up to two months before re-application is necessary.

The biodegradable compounds that West’s treatment utilizes are relatively low on their toxicity level. The National Pesticide Information Center gives it the lowest rating of “Caution,” meaning the pesticide is “slightly toxic if eaten, absorbed through the skin, inhaled, or it causes slight eye or skin irritation,” according to an agency fact sheet. “A tube of silicon is rated more hazardous than this,” West said.

Aside from his tick spraying services, West offers mosquito spraying, though he notes that mosquitos are harder to control as a result of being capable of flight. The mosquito-targeting treatment also lasts for less time since the compound deteriorates in sunlight. Even still, West said that calls for mosquito treatments are steady, adding that for some clients, “Any reduction is appreciated.”

The number of clients seeking treatment for their property, including schools and playgrounds, has been a surprise for West, who foresees that next year he’ll have to add another truck to his operation. “I didn’t realize how it would take off,” West said. “I’m going to need help.”

 

If you’d like to receive treatment on your property, contact Tick and Mosquito Offense for a free estimate at 255-6684 or at his cell phone at 812-1974. Read more online, including how you can engage in Integrated Pest Management to reduce tick proliferation, at www.tickandmosquitooffense.com.