The east end and , indeed, all of Long Island is currently experiencing a major outbreak of ticks, especially lone star ticks. Black-legged deer ticks have long been a problem and are known carriers of Lyme Disease. Lone Star ticks are also vectors of diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and it is feared that eventually they will become carriers of Lyme disease. The humble dog tick is also making a huge jump in population. The outbreak is probably due to a number of factors including weather, availability of food sources, previous year’s population growth, etc.
Now that fall is upon us, you might be tempted to believe that the tick problem is dying down. However, researchers and entomologists have alerted us that autumn is the key time for tick controls to shut down next year’s tick population by killing off hungry adult ticks as they get ready to overwinter and emerge next spring.
Even though we associate tick bites with spring and summer, from May through July, adult ticks continue to seek blood meals in October and later. The adults will “quest” for hosts, usually on tall grass, underbrush or leaf tips on shrubs up to 3′ high. Ticks can’t jump or drop down onto their hosts, they simply hang on to a host as it passes by. Adult ticks like to find large animals (such as us) to use as hosts. Ticks are able to wait for very long periods to find hosts and they also use additional techniques to choose sites and find prey. Most tick species have eyes and can detect color and movement. They also can detect carbon dioxide exhaled by mammals such as cats, dogs, deer, squirrels, raccoons and , of course, humans. Adult females will then produce eggs and lay them under leaf and forest litter to hatch the following spring and beginning a cycle of population growth all over again. Therefore suppressing adult ticks throughout October is a highly effective way to drive down populations and is recommended by Cooperative Extensions throughout the northeast.
We recommend setting up a fall treatment program for your property to treat the appropriate areas and reduce tick populations. It is also important to check yourself, your kids and your grand-kids after taking woodland walks or being outside in the yard for extended periods.
Call Fox Tree Service today to arrange an arborist to check your property and set up a program.