With each season, comes change, not just in weather but also in the bug world. Tick control is going to be a real issue this year. We all know ticks carry Lyme disease, so this is our biggest concern for our customers that have pets that may be in areas of high population of ticks such as mountain areas, trails and areas frequented by other animals.
Lyme disease is going to be a major issue this year. It is well understood that the quantity of acorns produced by oak trees is a very good indicator of the size of mouse populations. The fall of 2010 in the Northeast set a record high for acorn productionat an amazing average of 250 pounds of acorn per tree. But the fall of 2011 was the opposite, with an average of less than half a pound of acorns produced per tree. This is tiny compared tot he 25 to 30 pounds produced per tree in an average year.
Because of this quite unusual two-year sequence of an unprecedented production of acorns followed by extremely low numbers, populations of field mice and squirrels have been declining after reaching very high levels. These rodent populations had supported large populations of young larval ticks.
Tick nymps are the next stage after larvae, and this stage poses the greatest threat of transmitting Lyme disease to people. Early this year we will see a huge population of these nymps emerge. They will be aggressively looking for hosts to suck blood from, and because there will be both more ticks and fewer rodent hosts, far more people will be bitten than normal.
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