Acorns, Not Weather, To Blame for More Ticks NPMA Staff
Thursday, March 29, 2012
National Pest Management Association explains why 2010's crop
puts people at risk for tick-borne disease
The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) is forecasting a
heavier tick season than in previous years, but it's not due to
the unseasonably mild winter as one might expect. Rather, acorns
can be blamed for the predicted surge in tick populations this
year, particularly in the Northeastern U.S.
Oak trees produced an extremely large acorn crop in 2010, which
led to a boom in the white-footed mouse population last year. As a
result, the blacklegged
(deer) tick population also increased because the ticks had an
abundance of mice to feed on when they hatched. However, this
spring those same ticks will be looking for their second meal as
nymphs, but a decline in the mice population may force them to find
new warm-blooded host - humans.
Experts are concerned about an increase in human cases of
tick-borne disease. "Many of these nymphal ticks may have
contracted Lyme disease from feeding on infected mice as larvae,"
said Jim Fredericks, technical services director for NPMA. "These hungry ticks will soon be looking for
another blood meal, which puts people at risk as they head outside
to enjoy the weather."
NPMA offers the following tick tips:
- Use tick repellent when outdoors and wear long sleeved shirts
and pants, preferably light in color, so ticks are easier to
- Use preventative medicine on pets, as prescribed by your
- Once indoors, inspect clothing and your entire body. Check
family members and pets that have been outdoors.
- Keep grass cut low, including around fences, sheds, trees,
shrubs and swing sets. Remove weeds, woodpiles and other debris
from the yard.
- If you find a tick on your body, remove it with a slow, steady
pull so as not to break off the mouthparts and leave them in the
skin. Then, wash hands and bite site thoroughly with soap and
water. Ticks should be flushed down a toilet or wrapped in
tissue before disposing in a closed receptacle.
- If you suspect a tick bite, seek medical attention.
For more information on ticks, please visit www.pestworld.org.
The NPMA, a non-profit
organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933
to support the pest management industry's commitment to the
protection of public health, food and property.