BOSTON – Researchers are working to complete a multi-year study on the effectiveness of tick management techniques this summer, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday.
Scientists from the EPA, Cape Cod Extension and the UMass Laboratory of Medical Zoology have been researching the effectiveness of “integrated pest management” techniques to reduce populations of blacklegged ticks, which carry the Lyme disease virus. Scientists have stopped referring to the ticks as “deer ticks,” because many animals play host to the species.
The research evaluates “four-poster” deer feeding stations, which are used to treat deer with a pesticide that kills ticks present, as opposed to traditional pesticide spraying.
Thus far, researchers have learned that the method is effective at reducing tick populations but have not yet determined how its effects compare to other approaches.
They will conduct further research in August and September on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
Cases of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses have increased in recent years according to the Centers for Disease Control, particularly in New England and the Northeast. Scientists blame both environmental and behavioral changes as well as better diagnostics for the rise in cases.