ticks

New Hampshire Fish & Game

Climate change, which causes rising temperatures, increasingly severe weather events, and shrinking habitats, negatively impacts the moose and loon populations of New Hampshire more than any other factors -- including human interference from road construction or hunting and fishing practices.

That's according to longtime wildlife observers, who joined The Exchange to deliver an update on these two beloved new Hampshire species. 

 

On today's show:

  • Only in NH: You asked, we answered! Why does New Hampshire still require annual car inspections? NHPR's Casey McDermott went in search of answers. 
  • Our very own Jimmy Gutierrez talked to Margaret Gillespie a naturalist at Squam Lake Science Center about Animals with Bad Reputations and then talked to the team about a creature that might deserve its bad rap: the tick.  You can visit the Red Barn Speaker Series at the New Hampshire Audubon to hear a talk about some animals who get a bad rap, and why you might want to give them a second chance. 
  • Keb' Mo stops by WMOT Roots Radio to discuss how he lives life and how he loves music, including his new TajMo collaboration with Taj Mahal. Listen again at PRX.org.

fairfaxcounty via flickr creative commons

Tick numbers are on the rise across New England this spring, raising the prospect of an increase in Lyme and other diseases associated with the blood suckers later this year.

The region got a respite last year as the drought took a toll on ticks, whose numbers drop as the humidity falls below 85 percent. But the drought is largely gone from the region and ticks are taking advantage.

Macroscopic Solutions / flickr/cc

We get the latest on N.H. tick populations, health precautions, and research.  2017 is predicted to be a banner year for ticks - meaning more risk for all of us, from Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.  How concerned should we be about Powassan virus?   There is no vaccine for Lyme disease, but biodiversity can help thwart it. And we'll find out about a promising treatment being developed for Lyme.

This show was originally broadcast on May 22, 2017. 


nps.gov

Tick numbers are down in some areas, but experts warn against letting your guard down.

Despite headlines forecasting a bumper year for ticks, UNH Extension Entomologist Alan Eaton says the recent drought in New Hampshire caused tick populations to show only a slight increase.  Speaking on NHPR’s The Exchange, Eaton says that in southeastern counties, such as Merrimack, Strafford, and Rockingham counties, there might even be slightly fewer ticks. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The sun is out—but ticks are too. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services is reminding people to take precautions against getting bitten. 

The tiny parasites can be as small as a poppy seed and they like to hang out in tall grass or loose brush. “Ticks are out and biting," says state epidemiologist Benjamin Chan. "In fact, we tend to see tick bites start to go up in April and become more prominent in May, so now is a high-risk time where people can get bitten."

northeast naturalist via Flickr Creative Commons

Last year's drought in New Hampshire was tough on farmers and towns. But it turns out to have been good for moose.

Preliminary numbers from a project that puts tracking collars on moose show that only one of the calves — the most vulnerable group — died from winter ticks this year. A year ago, nearly 75 percent of the calves tracked died.

Moose biologist Kristine Rines says many of the blood-sucking ticks died because they were deprived of moisture. But the ticks still have a long-term advantage, with shorter winters and moose density on their side.

 The drought conditions that have gripped much of the Northeastern U.S. this summer appear to have a silver lining — fewer ticks.

From Maine to Rhode Island, researchers say they expect tick numbers to be down from previous years especially for the blacklegged ticks, known as deer ticks, which transmit Lyme disease.

It's too early to say, however, whether fewer ticks could mean a decline in Lyme disease cases.

Steve Lum / Flickr/CC

With the lilacs every spring comes an unwelcome harbinger of the season: black-legged ticks. And with New Hampshire near the top of the list of states with the highest incidence of Lyme disease, Granite Staters take this tiny arachnid seriously. We'll find out what's new this season in diagnosis, treatment, and prevention when it comes to this tick-borne illness.

This year’s relatively warm and dry winter probably didn’t do New Hampshire any favors when it comes to curbing its tick population — so people should continue to be vigilant in screening for the invasive insects.

“Evidence suggests that they kind of survived the winter pretty well,” UNH Cooperative Extension Entomologist and Integrated Pest Management Specialist Alan Eaton said on Wednesday’s edition of The Exchange

It’s time to stuff your pants into your socks because we’re entering tick season in New Hampshire.

David Brooks is a reporter for the Concord Monitor and writes the weekly Granite Geek column. He's hosting a Science Café this evening at which the topic will be Lyme disease. He spoke with All Things Considered host Peter Biello.

David, the drought made it hard for the ticks to survive. How badly did it damage the tick population?

fairfaxcounty via flickr creative commons

 

New Hampshire's Catholic Medical Center is distributing color wristbands to help children learn how to avoid potentially dangerous ticks.

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas is proclaiming this week "Tick Awareness Week" in the city. He'll join hospital officials and the city's public health director on Monday to accept a box of the wristbands to distribute to families.

The wristbands feature images of ticks, which can cause Lyme disease.

Here's a dubious Granite State superlative: New Hampshire has the third highest incidence of Lyme disease in the country following Maine and Vermont!

Once again, tick season is upon us, and the risk of tick bites and tick-borne infection is high.

Originally created in 2014, we have updated the graphic below to represent the latest statistics we have on confirmed cases of Lyme disease.

Read through to learn more about the life cycle of ticks, how they move and hide, the infections they can carry, and how to prevent being infected yourself.

Fairfax County / Flickr/CC

Twenty years ago, it was not considered a big problem in New Hampshire, but today – these little black-legged bugs are seen as a major threat to people, pets and wildlife.  We’ll get the latest on where their populations are expanding and on tick-borne illnesses, primarily – but not exclusively -- Lyme disease. We’ll also look the state’s new plan to address this.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Tick season is back, and so is another year of mostly preventable cases of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.

While blacklegged ticks – also called deer ticks – will be active until the fall, from now until July is when the nymphs, or young ones, are most active. Nymphs are tiny and hard to find, which makes the risk to contract Lyme, babesiosis and anaplasmosis highest starting right now.

But more dangerous than the diseases themselves, says Alan Eaton, an entomologist with UNH, is the lack of public awareness about these illnesses.

North Country Moose Study Aided By Research 'Muggers'

Jan 28, 2015
northeast naturalist via Flickr Creative Commons

How's this for a typical day at the office: get into a helicopter, fly just above treetops in parts of northern New Hampshire, and find moose to tag, track and monitor. It's part of the work New Hampshire Fish and Game is doing to study the effect of winter tick and other parasites on the state's moose population.

Still Burning via flickr Creative Commons

California’s Pelican Bay state prison houses gang leaders high on the food chain. Contrary to popular myth, they run the joint like a well-oiled machine, with chains-of-command, communication networks, even a system for intake.

On today’s show: a glimpse into the surprisingly orderly life behind bars, and the influence of gangs on life on the outside.

Also today, an African-American woman says it’s time to reject the notion that beating kids is part of black culture.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

More Ticks Means More Concern About Lyme Disease

Aug 18, 2014
beeldmark / Flickr/CC

Lyme disease: caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi, and transmitted by the tiny black-legged tick, it’s an infection that first causes fever, chills and flu-like symptoms.

John Tann Flickr CC

As the tick population continues to explode in the Northeast, the number of cases of Lyme disease continues to grow. It’s a big issue in New Hampshire as we have thousands of cases of Lyme each year, but experts say the number is actually much higher than what is ever reported. There are also many other tick-borne diseases that are being misdiagnosed and treated incorrectly.

 Related: Things You Should Know About Ticks 

They are one of the least-enjoyed elements of the warm weather landscape in New Hampshire.

Ticks.

They bite. They carry Lyme disease and other nasty illnesses – and they’re pretty creepy looking as well.

Tick season is upon us once again, and New Hampshire health officials are advising people to wear insect repellent and protective clothing to avoid being bitten by them and potentially exposed to Lyme disease.

The Department of Health and Human Services says in 2013, 1,689 cases of Lyme disease were identified in the state, with the highest rates of disease in Hillsborough, Rockingham, and Strafford counties.

The greatest risk for Lyme disease is between May and August.

Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a bulls-eye-like rash.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

With tick season in full swing - and this year being described as the worst in recent history - the risk of tick bites and tick-borne infection is high. Read through the graphic below to learn more about ticks, the infections they can carry, and how to prevent being infected yourself.

Brian M / Flickr CC

Health and environmental officials say New Hampshire is entering the highest risk time of year for exposure to Lyme disease, and the ticks could be especially bad this year.

“If you have to, move to Aruba,” says Alan Eaton, Biologist with the UNH Cooperative Extension, “Get out of here for the next month of six weeks or so.”

Wikimedia Commons

Here's a dubious Granite State superlative: New Hampshire has the third highest incidence of Lyme disease in the country following Delaware and Connecticut!

Southern New Hampshire is prime tick habitat. Deer ticks - not dog ticks - are THE vector for human Lyme disease. Two-toned solid colored deer ticks, also called "black-legged ticks" are smaller than familiar mottled brown dog ticks.

October is the annual breeding season, "the rut" for the largest denizens of New Hampshire's North Country: Moose.  It's also the annual moose hunting season.

Following the initial recovery of moose populations, an annual moose hunt has occurred since 1988. That first year, 75 permits were issued for a three-day hunt in the North Country only. Last year, 400 moose permit hunters took 290 moose.

This year 275 coveted moose hunting permits were awarded by lottery from among more than 13,400 applicants for the nine-day season.

A surge in occurrence of Lyme disease is predicted for the Eastern U.S. three years after bumper acorn crops in 2009 and 2010 and following virtually NO acorns last autumn in 2011. Why is that? How do acorn crops influence rates of human illness? 

Oak forests demonstrate the ecological ripple effects when bumper acorn crops cause a population boom in mice which translates into an increase in ticks and a delayed-onset spike in reported cases of human Lyme disease.