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.