The Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) announced that it is one of the founding members of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Partners in Lyme Disease Prevention network, established as a result of the ever-increasing rate of tick borne diseases to coordinate efforts in public education and performance measurement. The founding members — the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Lyme Disease Association (LDA), the National Association of School Nurses (NASN), IPM Institute of North America (Regional School IPM Working Groups), the Office of Pesticide Programs (USEPA), and PLANET — will focus their initial efforts on educating the public, particularly children and persons involved in outdoor activities, to avoid tick bites, recognize the symptoms of Lyme disease, and receive treatment if contact occurs.

According to the CDC, reports of Lyme disease are growing at an alarming rate, and the EPA states that, with global warming, the range of certain illnesses such as Lyme disease will expand. Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses are a serious and emerging issue for children ages five to 14 years, who are at the highest risk for tick-borne illness.

This group of organizations encourages anyone spending time outdoors, including those who work in the landscape industry, to use tick repellent, wear protective clothing (repellent-impregnated clothing is advised for outdoor workers and campers), and, if possible, avoid areas where a high infestation of ticks is most likely (thick brush and woods areas). After being outdoors, especially in areas where ticks may be found, it also is very important to check for ticks and learn how to safely remove them.

Property owners should evaluate their property if they have areas where ticks are likely to be found; for example, hedgerows, woodpiles, woods, and brush. If they need help, they can ask their lawn care or landscape professional, who may also be able to spray these areas to kill ticks. Horses and domestic pets can also get Lyme disease, so keep them away from potential tick areas and check them regularly. 

Lyme disease can mimic many diseases, including multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia. Most cases of Lyme disease can be cured with antibiotics, especially if treatment is begun early in the course of illness. However, a small percentage of patients with Lyme disease have symptoms that can last for months or even years.

Some states have more cases of Lyme disease than others. For more information about geographic incidence or the efficacy of repellents, visit the Lyme Disease Association, Inc.

PLANET plans to help spread the word through its members to their customers via the members’ newsletters and their Web sites. For more information, visit the PLANET Web site, and to find a lawn care or landscape professional, visit or call the PLANET office at (800) 395-2522.

PLANET is the association of members who create and maintain the QUALITY OF LIFE in communities across America. With more than 3,500 member companies and affiliates, these firms and their employees represent more than 100,000 green industry professionals. Some of these professionals have taken the extra step of becoming certified through PLANET and bear the distinction of being known as Landscape Industry Certified.