Mouse-targeted devices

When larval blacklegged ticks hatch from eggs, they generally are pathogen-free. There is definitely NO credible evidence that newly hatched larvae are infected with the Lyme disease-causing germ. But we say generally because there is evidence that blacklegged tick larvae rarely are infected with Borrelia miyamotoi, a non-Lyme disease-causing germ found to cause a relapsing fever disease in humans in 2011. Most commonly, germ-free larvae become infected with disease-causing pathogens when they feed on reservoir animals. Most studies support the notion that white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) are the main reservoir host for Lyme disease spirochetes, Babesia protozoa, and Anaplasma bacteria; in most settings, mice are the primary culprits for producing infected ticks. These mice are common and often quite abundant in rural, suburban, and semi-urban settings across much of the eastern United States. 

Mouse with cotton from a thermacell tick tube

Thermacell Tick Control tubes are an innovative targeted “tickicide” delivery system that relies on the nesting behavior of mice to help reduce the abundance of infected ticks in the landscape. The tubes are stuffed with cotton nesting material treated with permethrin. If mice are present in the landscape (they almost always are), then they typically are very attracted by this nesting material. If tubes are placed in areas harboring mice, the mice steal the treated nesting material and place it in their nests. Once mice have treated nests, they almost never are infested by ticks. With complete coverage in a yard, in time nearly all of the mice will have treated nests. In this way, targeting the ticks that feed on mice can greatly reduce the number of infected ticks in your yard. It’s easy to apply Thermacell Tick Control tubes, (although you need to think like a mouse–where would they feel safe searching for nesting material). Apply it yourself, or hire a professional applicator.

Although every setting is different, a typical 1 acre yard [assuming at least half of the area is taken up by the house footprint and lawn] will require applying about 24 tubes at each application. You can check the tubes for the presence of remaining cotton-when re-applying, if there is still cotton in a tube, then don’t put the next tube at exactly the same location. Pretty soon, you will learn where the mice feel most comfortable stealing cotton but be sure to distribute Thermacell Tick Control tubes in all “mouse habitat” around the area to be protected. Thermacell Tick Control tubes are extremely eco-friendly; the cardboard tubes completely biodegrade, and the permethrin is tightly bound to the cotton fibers. There really is no risk for environmental contamination, and a toddler would need to consume more than a pound of treated cotton before there would be any risk for toxicity. Thermacell Tick Control tubes are TickSmart!

For more information on Thermacell Tick Control tubes including ordering information, go to

Tick Tubes comic with mice