Eagle Scout candidate and Lincoln-Sudbury High School senior Matt Aranow is on the warpath against Lyme disease in his hometown of Lincoln. This spring he will launch an educational blitz in town, and with the help of his troop, disperse some 600 “tick tubes” in the brushy areas near the town’s playing fields and at Drumlin Farm Audubon Center.
“The tick tubes are supposed to control the numbers of baby ticks in the spring,” explains Matt. “You soak cotton balls in an insecticide, put them inside a cardboard toilet paper core, lay a bunch of them in mouse habitat areas, and the mice take the cotton balls to make their nests. The tick larvae die when they contact the treated cotton.”
Black-legged ticks, often called “deer ticks,” transmit Lyme disease, but white-footed mice and chipmunks–not deer–are the most common source of the bacterial spirochete that causes the disease. As large exurban home lots encroach on and fragment forests, people visit the borderlands where backyards meet woods, prime habitat for the rodents that host the tiny tick larvae when they first hatch from eggs in spring. This first meal helps them survive to the next year when, as nymphs in the spring or as adults in the fall, they find and infect their second and third hosts—often larger mammals such as humans or their pets.
Lincoln’s geography typifies a perfect incubator for the rapid upsurge of Lyme disease seen in Massachusetts and the northeastern U.S. over the last decade. Suburban incursion into previously wooded areas is a major factor in the quadrupling of Lyme incidence in Massachusetts, from1158 to 4019 cases per 100,000 people between 2000 and 2009, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read the rest of the story on Matt Aranow.
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Trivia question – I’ll send to who ever guesses correctly ($25 gift certificate) what my Eagle Scout Project was! Comment below…………