West Conn study finds Asian longhorned tick in Fairfield, researches fencing

A local tick lab is uncovering valuable information on keeping away the backyard pests and the sometimes crippling illnesses they can bring.
A recent study on ticks at Western Connecticut State University found Asian longhorned ticks in the parking lot at Penfield Beach and nearby Jennings Beach. In a community where deer run freely through people's backyards, the study found a way to control the deer and the ticks too.
"It's new to North America. It's called the Asian longhorned tick," said Dr. Neeta Connally, who led the research at Western Connecticut State University.
These ticks are responsible for severe human diseases in Asia. They have hurt livestock, reducing milk production. But they really like deer and dogs.
"We worry about people bringing their dogs along areas that are heavily infested with these invasive tick species because they can move that tick around," said Connally.
But the ticks that this West Conn study is even more concerned with is the regular blacklegged ticks we all see in our backyards that can carry Lyme disease.
So researchers are looking into the effects of 6- to 8-foot fencing
"The idea is that if you exclude deer or discourage deer from coming to your property, you may have fewer ticks," said Connally.
Even though the results of the study don't officially come out for a few more weeks, researchers are confident that as past studies have shown, residential fencing has been known to reduce the risk of Lyme disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about a half-million people suffer with Lyme disease in the U.S. every year.
The CDC reminds people to wear long clothing if they expect to be in heavily wooded areas. Also check yourself for ticks before coming in the house.