Reducing Tick Risk

Wednesday - 3/25/2009, 8:33am EDT

WFED's Tom Temin

As heard on sister-station WTOP.

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By Tom Temin
FederalNewsRadio

As the weather starts to get warmer, the threat from ticks becomes greater. But technology developed in our own backyards by the federal government is cutting down on the possibility of tick bites and lyme disease.

Q: What is the government doing to help curb the tick population?

A: Residents of exclusive Gibson Island, on the Chesapeake Bay in Anne Arundel County, have nearly rid themselves of pesky deer ticks and their lyme disease threat with help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA has been running an experimental program for the past nine years to reduce populations of the black-legged tick and its country cousin, the lone-star tick. Both types of ticks are known to cause serious health problems in humans.

Q: How did the experiment work?

A: It involved bait food stations for the deer on the island. The bait stations were equipped with vertical paint rollers impregnated with special tickicide, harmless to animals. When deer fed at the stations, their faces, ears and antlers rubbed on the paint rollers, thereby acquiring the means to kill the ticks. And it worked! Over the five years Gibson Island was involved in the study, black-legged and lone-star tick populations declined greatly. By using the bait stations, they achieved at least 77 percent control of both tick species! This same technology was tested at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center with even higher results. The tickicide that is put on the rollers is approved in 47 of the 48 contiguous states, including Maryland, Virginia, and D.C.. New York is the only state that has yet to approve it.

Q: There are big tick populations all over the D.C. metropolitan area. Is this technology available in our area for people to buy and use?

A: Yes. The 4-Poster Deer Treatment Bait Stations and tickicide can be bought in our area. In fact, they are sold exclusively by a company called C.R. Daniels Incorporated in Ellicott City, Maryland. Initial startup costs are about $800 - this includes everything - the bait station, a gallon of tickicide (which lasts for about a full year), and an applicator gun.

For more information, see the USDA story, Community Sustains Control of Disease-Causing Ticks and for more from the American Lyme Disease Foundation, including information about how to buy a bait station, see '4-Poster' Deer Treatment Bait Station.

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