Spring is here and with its arrival comes the awakening of many species that hibernate or frequently enter torpor over the winter. Snakes, bears, bats, raccoons, and groundhogs might be the species that you dread the return of in spring, but a much more innocuous appearing species might prove to be a much greater danger to your family’s health. You would probably never suspect the chipper chipmunk of anything worse then annoying you with cute chirping sounds early in the morning, or burrowing under your porch, but chipmunks have a deadly secret. They’re one of the primary contributors to the spread of Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is the result an infection from a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi that is spread through bites of an infected tick, specifically the deer tick. Lyme disease causes various symptoms as the disease spreads from the initial infected area, which may progress to serious and sometimes permanent conditions if left untreated. The earliest and easiest to diagnose symptom of Lyme disease is a rash that looks like a “bull’s-eye” at the site of the bite. It is best to quickly get an anti-biotic treatment if you display this symptom. Early on you may also experience headaches, fever, and fatigue. If the disease spreads without treatment you may experience facial paralysis, joint pain and swelling, painful headaches and neck stiffness, and even heart palpitations. Theses symptoms or more serious ones such as impaired motor sensory function can become permanent if not treated. Not only is Lyme disease bad for people, but it can also infect your dogs, who you vaccinate to keep safe.
Chipmunks and Lyme Disease
You may read the above, and say to yourself “Lyme disease does sound terrible, but what does it have to do with chipmunks? You said it comes from a deer tick after all?” And deer ticks do get their name because adult females primarily feed on deer, but the adult deer tick is not the primary carrier of Lyme disease. Lyme disease primary vector is the juvenile deer tick, which primarily feeds on small mammals, particularly rodents, and chipmunks are one of the juvenile deer ticks primary carriers. In fact, population booms in chipmunks have been linked to increased incidents of the diagnosis of Lyme disease in the same region. If you have chipmunks under your porch or otherwise around your house, the risk of you, your family, and your pets getting Lyme disease increases.
Combating Lyme Disease
Fortunately, as long as it’s discovered Lyme disease is easily treatable with antibiotics. Unfortunately, in as many as 25% of cases the obvious early symptoms of Lyme disease do not show. This means you can have Lyme disease for a long period of time without knowing, and develop the more severe symptoms. The best way to find Lyme disease is to prevent your self from getting bitten. To do this you should treat your property with pesticides that are specifically designed to kill ticks. You should treat your clothes with DEET if you plan to go hiking, but make sure you follow the instructions very carefully, and treat your skin with a bug spray that’s safe for skin contact. When you’re out hiking you should stick to clear trails. Ticks attach themselves by hanging off the ends of stick and grabbing onto anything that passes, so you should avoid brush. After a hike, you should make sure you shower and carefully check yourself for ticks. Aside from that, relocating chipmunks from your property should reduce the amount of juvenile deer ticks on hand.
Need Chipmunk Removal?
Call Shumaker Animal Control. Shumaker Animal Control is a twenty-five year veteran of the animal control profession and knows how to detect and properly remove chipmunks from your Maryland property. We can also fill any burrows made by chipmunks to keep them out and guarantee against them chewing back through it.
If you have any questions about animal removal, contact Shumaker Animal Control by calling (443) 854-8072 or click here today!