Discovering Environmentally Conscientious Tick Control: with Jennifer Molzen and Tick Tackler
When Jennifer Molzen’s dog, three cats and children began bringing ticks to the family’s home in the rural Bethlehem Township, searching the animals and kids became a nightly chore that she did not take lightly. In 2006, Molzen had suffered with Lyme disease, an illness transmitted by the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis). The same year, her parents, who live in Bridgewater, learned that their two Irish setters had contracted Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Ehrlichiosis. As Molzen did some research, she discovered that at least one person in every household on her street in Hunterdon County had contracted Lyme disease at one time or another. She felt compelled to take serious action.
While finding three to 12 ticks per day alarmed her greatly, so did the thought of using the ingredients in conventional tick control treatments. “I was concerned about using the usual tick products because of their environmental hazards and possible harmful effects to my family and pets,” recalls Molzen. This concern led Molzen to look for insecticides with the lowest toxicity level. “We try to keep everything we use and ingest as low in toxicity as possible so that the impact on the immune system is minimized,” she explains. “The majority of even the organic pesticides contain pyrethrins, which have a higher toxic load in their wet form. In addition, pyrethrins are broad spectrum, meaning it kills most insects and is unable to differentiate between harmful and beneficial insects,” she says, adding that when used to treat lawns, the chemical goes into the watershed and is toxic to aquatic animals. Because she maintains a fish pond and lives in the Highlands, the effects to the fish and watershed are very important to her.
In 2006 and 2007, Molzen did extensive homework. “In researching an alternative, I found some all-natural biological controls,” she says, “including products that are not broad spectrum but instead target specifically ticks. They will not harm earthworms, ladybugs or praying mantises.” She experimented and formulated a protocol that taps into all of the components of wildlife, people and pet behaviors. The model is the same whether you are in your own yard, at a school, a park or walking your pet.
Molzen realized that her protocol was effective—comprising a 40-point checklist and all natural, botanical control agents that disrupt the tick molting process, deters egg laying and dehydrate the insects. The products are approved by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) and listed with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The DEP certified and licensed Molzen as a pesticide applicator and integrative pest manager. In 2008, she incorporated Tick Tackler. From the original first year in business and 16 treatments, Molzens client base has increased to over 550 treatments per year. She reports. “I went fulltime and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive,” she affirms. "Our customers speak highly of Tick Tackler, and we love that they tell their friends about our service. So much so, that 42% of our new customers come directly from our customer referrals."
Jennifer Molzen is the founder of Tick Tackler, LLC. The company serves most of Northern and Central New Jersey counties, plus Lehigh, Northampton, Wayne and Upper Bucks counties in Pennsylvania. For more information, call 908-612-4736, email [email protected] or TickTackler.com.