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Natural Awakenings North Central New Jersey

2017 to be Exceptionally Bad Year for Ticks

An article written in 2015 entitled “Acorn Glut Signals Lyme Risks,” by Richard S. Ostfeld and Charles D. Canham from the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, predicted that this spring there would be an alarming increase in tick activity, which is a great cause for concern. The prediction was based on the large supply of acorns that fed all sorts of wildlife, including the white-footed mouse. More food readily available means more mice and therefore, more ticks. That, coupled with the mild winter, allowed for ticks to become active earlier.

       Mice, chipmunks and shrews play a major role in infecting blacklegged ticks with the pathogens that cause Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, Powassen and Babesiosis. Ticks feeding on these animals can acquire these pathogens from a single bloodmeal, says Richard Ostfeld.  While there are several variables, rodents play a significant role in the incidence of tick activity.  For example, mice are terrible groomers and don’t clean themselves as fastidiously as other woodland creatures.  This means that mice can carry many ticks on their bodies at a time. As the tick bites the mouse, the likelihood of transmission is much higher than most animals.

       The folks at Tick Tackler recommend taking steps to reduce the amount of rodent activity you have in your yard. In fact, part of the Tick Tackler service includes identifying variables that attract mice along with ticks.

       Firstly, take care of your gardening materials. Keep all seeds in rodent-proof containers. This includes grass seed, plant seed, bird seed and any perennial bulbs. Next, install plants that many gardeners believe mice avoid. These include bulbs like daffodils and grape hyacinths and strong-smelling plants like lavender, catnip and other mints. Be sure that your patio cushions, gardening gloves and Styrofoam pool toys are stored away in mouse-proof containers. These items unfortunately make perfect nesting materials for the furry little nuisances. Ornamental trees and shrubs should be trimmed up and low-lying branches snipped back. The key is to take away the cover they provide for critters to hide under. Additionally, stacked wood, old pots and landscape materials offer shelter too.

       Tick Tackler is focused on organic, residential tick control. They go far beyond the average “apply and run” pesticide company. Their two main objectives are major reduction of tick presence as well as client education. They serve most northern and central New Jersey along with some parts of Pennsylvania.

For more information, call Jennifer Molzen, founder, at 908-612-4736 or email [email protected].


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