Archive for the ‘Lyme Disease’ Category

Elet Hall’s Further Success on American Ninja Warrior After a Long Battle with Lyme Disease

September 14, 2014

Congratulations to Smithsburg local Elet Hall, who has been recovering from chronic Lyme disease for several years. He was one of only two contestants to finish Stage 2 in the Las Vegas Finals shown on NBD on September 8, 2014. Even with Lyme disease causing him to be not 100% (according to his Facebook page), he finished the seemingly impossible Stage 2 course faster than the other finalist, Joe Moravsky. It is amazing to think that Elet Hall has been able to compete at all when you read about how this disease has impacted him in his daily life. According to an August 12, 2014 post on his Facebook page, he reports:

“While stretching one night I rested my neck on my foam roller and under light pressure I was able to feel a tingle in my face! It could move ever so slightly. After nearly 2 months I could finally get a tiny response. Over the next 2 weeks use of the left half of my face slowly returned to about 80%.

This was last year and I wish the overt symptoms were the worst I experienced. My memory is shot, I lack energy, and I walk around in a fog. My endurance and muscular recovery, which at this point in my training should not plague me, are regularly an issue. It often takes me 3 days to recover from 1 day of training, both mentally and physically. If I have a particularly exciting day I can expect to feel beat down, depressed and uncoordinated the next, a challenging outlook for an athlete.”

When we hear about the paralysis and other symptoms he describes, we are reminded why we are so passionate about killing the deer ticks that spread it. It’s one of the reasons we wanted to get into the outdoor pest control business in the first place. We wanted to help spare people from the horrors he describes. Oddly, everybody’s symptoms can be different. Some doctors have reportedly told people they had Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome when it was really Lyme. We can’t even imagine attempting that Stage 2 course with any of those conditions. Some same champions compete even when injured. Elet Hall has shown he has the heart of a champion.

If you watched the finals you may have noticed that Brian Arnold, the American who has gone the furthest on Stage 3 of the finals course leading to Mount Midoriyama, purposefully waited until the last second to push the buzzer when he finished Stage 1. Arnold’s strategy was to complete Stage 2 early enough to allow his body to rest before attempting Stage 3. Meanwhile, Elet Hall ran through Stage 1 seconds faster than everybody else. The result: Arnold was second to run in Stage 2. Arnold admitted that was a mistake as it did not give him time to study other contestants’ difficulty with the dangling ropes obstacle. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Elet Hall was the final contestant to run Stage 2. Then, surprisingly, Elet Hall had to go first on Stage 3, giving him no time to rest after he had just completed the grueling Stage 2. Meanwhile, Joe Moravsky was closer to the middle of the pack and had more time to rest before Stage 3. Moravsky made it further on Stage 3 than Hall. Perhaps if Elet Hall had not been battling Lyme over the past few years he would have completed Stage 2 in prior years and picked a strategy closer to the Moravsky strategy; give yourself time to watch others attempt the course and to rest after you finish Stage 2.

If you visit Elet Hall’s Facebook Page, he also offers his tips for managing his chronic Lyme disease.

“My essentials for continuing to progress as an Lyme athlete:
1. Proper hydration to stave off muscle cramps and numbness/tingling in my fingers and toes when I become acutely dehydrated. I drink a gallon of water a day.
2. Eating clean. I don’t follow a specific diet plan but in order to reduce inflammation it’s important to keep track of what foods help you manage it. I eat mostly fruits and veggies, rice and beans, chicken, and eggs. Dairy doesn’t affect my inflammation but refined sugar and red meat do.
3. Sleep! Get enough! how much is up to you (sic). If at all possible I try to take a quick nap before 1 pm. I feel almost like my old self in the few hours following this. It’s so important to get enough sleep to help our overtaxed CNS to recover.
4. Supplementation- I use a lot of supplements and to what Ive (sic) found is a good effect. I’ve looked over the studies regarding most of them and experimented personally to find what does and doesn’t work for me.”

Elet would often practice in Frederick, Maryland’s Baker Park. Congratulations again Elet, and we hope to see you training in Baker Park and the gorgeous mountain ranges near your home.


Frederick Local Elet Hall Finally at 100% After Battle With Lyme Disease

July 23, 2014

It does not come as a surprise to us that the contestant on American Ninja Warrior who had Lyme disease for two years (undiagnosed), comes from Smithsburg, MD (just 30 minutes from Frederick). That’s right, Elet Hall, who had the second fastest time, completing the course in 4 minutes 21 seconds, in the St. Louis finals on American Ninja Warrior (aired on July 21, 2014) is a Frederick local. He competed in the extreme obstacle course competition in prior years without knowing that he was being hampered by undiagnosed Lyme disease. The anchors for the show informed the viewers that Elet Hall was competing for the first time this year at 100% because he finally got his Lyme disease treated. He was amazing. It appears that he did a lot of his training in and around Baker Park and Frederick, MD and the mountains around Smithsburg, Frederick, and Hagerstown. We researched his background and learned that he is into Parkour (I never heard of this), which apparently helped him earn his nickname “the natural” on American Ninja Warrior. Hats off to our Elet Hall.

It is simply amazing that Elet was able to compete at a high level, or compete at all in such a strenuous and testing athletic event. One of the major symptoms of Lyme disese that would have effected Elet was the intense joint pain. This seemingly would have made parkour an absolute nightmare, as the fluidity of all your joints is at the very core of parkour. Nonetheless, Elet went on to do more than just parkour, he competed in some of the most grueling physical competitions on American Ninja Warrior and did extremely well even while suffering from Lyme disease. During the time Elet ran the course, he made it to the Las Vegas finals each of the last two years. After last year’s finals, he woke up one day with half of his face paralyzed, and felt overall weak. To see the full breakdown of this local supreme athlete’s battle with Lyme disease, watch the video below.

His training in Frederick is something indescribable. His athleticism and toughness are beyond question, as is shown in his extreme parkour training. We also loved Baker Park. Funny though, I wouldn’t have thought to use it as a training ground for American Ninja Warrior.

Tufts University Scientists Warn of a “Tick Boom” This Summer

July 3, 2014

nymph tick in frederick marylandWSET news published on June 23, 2014 an article discussing a stern warning from Tufts University scientists about the potential for a “tick boom” this summer. The jump in the tick population is attributed to abundant snow and a wet spring, which created ideal conditions for this tick boom. According to Tuft’s Professor Sam Telford, “the large amounts of snow this winter acts like a blanket to protect ticks. Plus the wet spring kept ticks from drying out.” The most concerning aspect of the impending tick boom is that it especially applies to the type of ticks that carry Lyme Disease.

frederick maryland tick controlAccording to another article, “June and July are the peak season for the tiny, hard to see nymph ticks which are believed to be the main vector for transmitting Lyme Disease”. The larger issue with the nymph tick is the size of the bug itself. The nymph tick can be especially hard to locate and it is possible to have a nymph tick on your body the size of a comma and, therefore, overlooked as being a freckle, or speck of dirt. Because of this, it is very important to check your body daily. With the expected explosion in the tick population imminent, protecting yourself from ticks should be the primary concern.

There’s nothing like a tick boom to inevitably lead to an uptick in Lyme disease. Adding to the difficulty on reporting the statistical analysis of Lyme Disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes that “only 10% of the people infected with Lyme disease are accurately diagnosed”. In Maryland in 2013 there were 1,194 cases of Lyme Disease reported, however, the CDC estimates actual cases in Maryland were approximately 11,000. The need for tick control is higher now more than ever. According to the Centers for Disease Control homeowners should “Consider using a professional pesticide company to apply pesticides at your home” to protect from ticks in your yard. If you have any questions or concerns related to tick control and how to protect you and your family from ticks, give Mosquito Squad of Frederick a call at (301) 263-7220 or email us at

Loudon County, VA Declares Lyme Disease An Epidemic, Encourages Home Owners To Spray Their Yards

April 24, 2012

Loudon County, VA, neighboring Frederick County, MD has declared Lyme disease to be epidemic and launched a 10 point plan to reduce the cases of Lyme Disease in the county.  According to an April 9, 2012 report on Fox 5 DC, “There’s also going to be a significant awareness campaign and we want to encourage private homeowners to spray their own property to go after the ticks,’ Supervisor Ken Reid says.”

The news story describes how the tick-borne disease has impacted its victims.

“”’I taught kindergarten, but when it effected my voice, I couldn’t teach anymore,’ Benalayat says.

Speaking is difficult for her now, and everyday life focuses on treating her Lyme Disease.

‘I give myself I-V medicine and that takes an hour. I also take 30 pills every day as well’” Benalayat says.

Linda McGee was diagnosed with Lyme 8 years ago, and two of her three children have it too. Her family has paid more than $12,000 out of their pockets to treat her.

‘Insurance doesn’t cover much, and the I-V treatment was a thousand dollars a week back then,’ McGee says.

So they had to make a choice, college tuition or her intravenous antibiotic treatment. They sent their daughter off to college, and then in February, she relapsed.

‘I had some problems, and the Lyme went to my heart,’ McGee says.”

Deer ticks have a two-year life cycle and require a blood meal in order to molt from one stage to another.  Typically, the nymph ticks look for a blood meal in the spring.  Deer ticks typically look for their first blood meal from small animals, including white-footed mice, squirrels, chipmunks, and even foraging birds, and later blood meals from large mammals (like humans and deer).  Experts have predicted that the risk of contracting Lyme disease is extremely high this year.  Several factors play into this.  First, the ticks, and other insects, were able to survive the mild winter better than they would in a harshly cold winter.  Second, oak trees are producing fewer acorns this year.  Researchers indicate that white-footed mice feed on acorns and their population goes up and down depending on the acorn production.  Less mice means the ticks must look for another source for their blood meal.

Researchers at Yale University found that throughout the entire northeast from Connecticut to Maryland 1 in 5 ticks carried the bacteria that spread Lyme disease.  Other studies have found that same ratio.

What can you do to protect yourself?  Mosquito Squad has prepared the 6 Cs to help:

1. Clear out. Reduce your tick exposure by clearing out areas where lawn and tree debris gathers. Ticks thrive in moist, shady areas and tend to die in sunny, dry areas. Locate compost piles away from play areas or high traffic. Separate them with wood chips or gravel. Don’t position playground equipment, decks and patios near treed areas.

2. Clean. Eliminate leaf litter and brush by cleaning it up around the house and lawn edges, mow tall grasses and keep your lawn short.

3. Choose plants. Select plants and shrubs that are not attractive to deer and/or install physical barriers to keep deer out of your yard. Check with your local nursery to determine the best choices for your area.

4. Check hiding places. Know tick hiding places and check them frequently. Fences, brick walls and patio retaining walls are popular hiding places.

5. Care for family pets. Family pets can suffer from tick-borne disease and also carry infected ticks into the home. Talk to your veterinarian about using tick collars and sprays. As with all pest control products, be sure to follow directions carefully.

6. Call the pros. Professionals utilize both barrier sprays that can kill “adult” ticks on the spot as well as “tick tubes.” Strategically placed, “tick tubes” prompt field mice to incorporate tick-killing material in their bedding, effectively eliminating hundreds of tick nymphs found in each mouse nest.

Experts Predict Surge in Lyme Disease in Northeast

March 21, 2012

News articles published on March 20, 2012 warn that the mild winter will lead to a spike in Lyme Disease in the northeast.   In a previous post, we pointed out that the tick population is expected to be extremely high in 2012 because the winter has been so warm.  In fact, in March 2012 we have heard several people talking about several ticks in their yards.  I even had a tick on me while standing on a customer’s deck while I treated for stink bugs.  Thanks to the customer for pulling it off my back.  However, this article tells us that the they expect the mouse population to decrease this spring, causing the nymph ticks that normally feed on mice to seek other sources for their blood meal.  Interesting to note that the have noticed a correlation between the number of acorns and the white-footed mouse population.  White-footed mice typically feed on acorns.  The researches noticed a decrease in the acorns, a part of a normal bust and boom cycle, and predict the mouse population will decrease due to the lack of food for that species.

The story reports:  ”

Mice are the preferred host for black-legged ticks, which transmit Lyme  disease. Black-legged ticks need a bloodmeal at three different stages — as  larvae, as nymphs and as adults. As of the spring, the larval ticks that fed on  2011’s large mouse population will be looking for their nymphal meal.

“This spring, there will be a lot of Borrelia burgdorferi-infected  black-legged ticks in our forests looking for a blood meal. And instead of  finding a white-footed mouse, they are going to find other mammals — like us,”  Ostfeld added.”

This creates an interesting dynamic.  Mice have one of their main food sources decrease, which will cause their population to decrease.  Meanwhile, the mild winter is creating a large population of nymph ticks, which will need to find other mammals to feed on.

According to the Centers for Disease Control homeowners should “Consider using a professional pesticide company to apply pesticides at your home” to protect from ticks in your yard.

Role Birds Play in Transmitting Lyme Disease

February 27, 2012

In a previous post, we mentioned that Maryland is one of the states where residents are at a high risk of getting Lyme Disease.  A 2009 study done at Yale University and reported by concludes that birds help to spread the Lyme Disease bacteria.  How does this happen?  Ticks infected with Lyme Disease–Yale concludes that at least 20% of all deer ticks carry the Lyme Disease bacteria–feed on birds that walk on the ground. As the birds scavage for food, ticks crawl on and bite them.  The birds then migrate to other areas of the country where the tick falls off ready to spread the disease to other mammals. reports:  “The researchers found that I. scapularis (black-legged ticks) most consistently parasitizes bird species such as thrushes, brown thrashers, wrens and wood warblers….

Lyme disease can cause severe health problems, including arthritis, nervous system abnormalities and irregular heart rhythm. It is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States, with the number of reported human infections doubling between 1992 and 2006.”

The Yale 2009 findings corroborate findings made in 1989 by other researchers in a published article entitled Lyme Disease and Migrating Birds  in the Saint Croix River Valley, Weisbrod and Johnson, Appl. Environ. Microbiology, 1989, 55(8) 1921-1924. In that study the authors contend that 22.4% of the deer ticks they encountered were infected with Borrelia Burgdorferia, the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease.  They conclude their article by saying “Our data corroborate previous observations that migratory birds are important agents in the dispersal of tick-borne diseases (13, 14, 24) and support the suggestion (2, 7) that the widespread distribution of B. burgdo.feri is a function of dispersal by tick-infested birds.” points out that deer play a role in keeping the tick population alive, but not in spreading the disease.  Most people do not know that White-tailed deer have blood that is immune to the Lyme Disease bacteria.  That means deer do not spread the  disease, but they do provide a blood meal for deer ticks and help their population grow.

In short, we need to be aware that Lyme Disease can be easily found anywhere where birds, deer, or other wildlife can be found.

Maryland Residents are at High Risk of Lyme Disease

February 7, 2012

Living in Frederick, MD, and owning a pest control company that offers to kill ticks that carry Lyme Disease, we have heard multiple stories about people getting Lyme Disease in the area.  We meet customers who appear to be permanently disabled because of the Lyme Disease that infected them.  Many experts hypothesize that most people get Lyme Disease in their own backyard and that treating your yard in the spring and fall will go a long way to eliminating deer ticks in your yard.  A story published in USAtoday on February 3, 2012 reveals that researchers at Yale University have concluded that Maryland is among the states with the highest risk of Lyme Disease.   The researchers canvassed large areas of the country from 2004 to 2007.  According to the article the researchers map shows “a clear risk of Lyme disease across much of the Northeast, from Maine to northern Virginia. Researchers also identified a distinct high-risk region in the upper Midwest, including most of Wisconsin, northern Minnesota and a sliver of northern Illinois.”

Other interesting findings include:  “More than 90 percent of those cases were in 12 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. (emphasis added)”; and “About 1 in 5 ticks collected were infected — more than researchers expected — and that percentage was fairly constant across geographic areas, she said. Researchers had expected the infection rate to vary. (emphasis added)”   This study is an important contribution to understanding where Lyme Disease was the biggest threat to public health in 2004-2007, and is and will be a threat in the future.   The lead researcher indicates that the places that were at high risk would not change, except that places that were considered emerging threats may have increased their risk.  People who are infected by  a Lyme Disease infected tick, and aren’t treated timely, “can develop arthritis, meningitis and some other serious illnesses.”

Lyme Disease is on the Increase in Washington County, MD

July 24, 2010

A recent article in the Frederick News Post warns its readers that Lyme Disease is reporteed to be increasing in Washington County, MD.  This was no surprise to me because I have spoken with so many people in Maryland who have Lyme Disease or know someone with Lyme Disease.  One of my customers told me he works in an Emergency Room in Hagerstown and they see Lyme Disease every day.  Worse, the Centers for Disease Control readily acknowledges that the vast majority of patients with Lyme Disease go undiagnosed.  Therefore, the actual number of cases is far higher than the reported cases. 

Since deer ticks get blood meals on field mice, squirrels, rabbits, and larger animals like deer, you should expect they will be found any place those animals might be.   

The article says that mid-summer is a peak time for tick activity.  The only way to prevent Lyme Disease is to limit exposure to ticks.  In my opinion, the best way to limit that exposure is to exterminate the ticks.  Other steps should also be taken:  1) wear long pants that are tucked into your boots or socks, 2) where white clothing so you can see the ticks coming on you, 3) try to avoid places with high grass or wooded areas, 4) check children for ticks frequently. 

Lyme Disease can be extremely serious, causing severe joint distress, fatigue, and other life changing conditions, especially if it is not diagnosed.

History of Lyme Disease

July 13, 2010

I recently read this article about Lyme Disease.  It chronicles one woman’s journey after discovering she had been diagnosed with Lyme disease.  The article is in Yankee Magazine.  To read the article, click here.   I think this article is an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning more about the disease.  It presents a theory about the origin of Lyme in the United States that differs from some other theories I have heard.  In this article, the author talks about Lyme being traced, allegedly, to a US biological factory near Long Island, NY.  The article suggests that Lyme originated there and was spread through the Atlantic Flyway by birds to areas like Lyme, Connecticut, the town the disease is named after.  In other sources, I have read that Lyme disease is believed to have existed prior to its approxiamtely 1975 discovery date in Lyme.  To learn about that theory, I would suggest watching a movie called Under Our Skin.   The article does a good job of explaining the political controversy around this disease.  Many doctors are afraid to diagnose the disease, but one thing is clear deer ticks are responsible for transmitting the corkscrew shaped bacteria to humans. 

One thing is clear, you want to stay away from this disease.   The article suggests that an island in New England reduced its Lyme disease by completely eliminating its deer population.  This would make it clear that if you live near deer, you are at risk of being infected.

Ticks in The City

July 5, 2010

I had a woman who became a client contact me the other day.  She told me that a neighbor had spoken highly of our service.  In addition to the Asian Tiger mosquitoes in her yard, she had recently found two ticks in her swimming pool.   She lives in Downtown Frederick on Upper College Terrace.  This is a city neighborhood, not in the country.  I have previously spoken with somebody near her, who had reported a tick being on her.  They do not live in the country.  This is an illustration of how large the tick population is in Frederick, MD and surrounding areas.  They are in the city.  They can travel on any kind of animal or human and end up in back yards.  Many experts estimate that 70% of the people who get Lyme Disease contracted the disease in their own backyard or within 100 feet of their house.