TICK MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
NEFCo is pleased to announce the establishment of an Integrated Tick Management program designed to address the growing concern related to Lyme disease. The spread of Lyme disease and other illnesses associated with tick species in the northeastern US is a huge and ever growing concern. 30,000 cases of lyme disease are reported to the CDC every year and it continues to grow. Human contact with ticks carrying pathogens such as Borrelia burgdorferi, which is the cause of Lyme, is due to factors such as lifestyle, location of home, maintenance of landscape, habitat quality and desirability for vectors of Lyme and ticks, and climate.
New England Forestry Consultants can work with and help you develop an Integrated Tick Management (ITM) plan that will help you reduce the suitability of habitat for ticks and their hosts on your property and landscape. This plan can include all forms of control including biological, mechanical, and chemical, and will be tailored to your property. Because of this, it is pertinent that a site visit be conducted so that a NEFCo representative can get a better sense of a landowner’s individualized goals for managing their tick populations, as well as what ways would be best suited to go about controlling them.
Below are some common questions about tick control and how an ITM plan from NEFCo can help a concerned landowner protect their family from the threat of Lyme, Powassan, and the other diseases that a tick can transmit:
How do I know if I have ticks on my property?
Chances are; you do. There has been a dramatic increase of the Tick population in recent years. They now can be found in nearly every corner of New England. Higher elevations areas and especially dry sites may have lesser numbers of ticks, but they can be found in most areas in the northeastern US.
What is Lyme disease and what happens when it’s contracted?
Lyme disease is developed after contact with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. In most cases it takes between 24-36 hours to transmit the bacteria from the gut of the tick to the bloodstream of the host.
Part of the issue with Lyme is how it manifests itself in the human body. A classic first sign is the ‘bullseye rash’, or erythema migrans, which is seen, although that’s not a definitive sign as sometimes it doesn’t show up at all. There is an associated incubation period, during which the bacteria population grows inside the host’s body, but after that the symptoms are wide ranging and varying in severity. Some initially get a few aches and pains in joints, and some come down with severe fevers and flu-like symptoms. Untreated, the disease can spread and become worse, eventually causing chronic arthritis and other ailments that can persist indefinitely.
Do all ticks carry Borrelia burgdorferi?
No. But it’s estimated that as many as 85% of deer ticks carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease in humans. There is no way to tell if a tick carries the bacteria just from looking at it, and unfortunately current medical tests can prove to be somewhat inconclusive on the diagnosis of Lyme. This is why it is so important to treat the infestation and not wait until there is a bite to try to treat the tick problem.
Do I have to use chemicals to control my tick populations?
No, you do not necessarily have to use acaricides (tick pesticides) to kill ticks. Although tick pesticides are usually very effective when applied by a license applicator, there are understandable concerns that a property owner may have for using chemicals, and why a site visit is highly encouraged. A NEFCo professional can determine which control methods would work best for your particular property, and can work with you to develop an ITM plan that meets your needs, addresses any concerns you may have, and effectively manages the tick populations.
What is the next step?
An initial visit by a NEFCo representative. The visit will allow your professional to determine if an ITM plan is appropriate and what level of control is suitable for your property. While it is preferable to have you there, it is not mandatory and all necessary information can be gathered in your absence or over the phone.
At the present time the NEFCo ITM program is limited to Vermont and New York. However, in the not too distant future, the intent is to expand the program to cover other New England states; therefore, if your property is located in states other than Vermont and New York a phone call to the NEFCo ITM manager would be appropriate to start the process. The NEFCo ITM manager can be contacted at 802-235-1042.