Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘ticks’

guineas-big_group_of_guineas202

Photo: Scott Hess/Flickr
Guinea fowl, which like to forage for ticks, mosquitoes, fleas, beetles, spiders, and more, can help protect your family from Lyme Disease.

In our family we have had reason to worry about deer ticks. Nearly everyone has had Lyme Disease at some point or at least found a tick attached and taken Doxycycline just in case. We’re always on the alert for stories about the latest vaccine research or new preventive sprays. I myself wear long pants and socks all summer.

What is the long-term solution? Some people promote expanded deer hunting or experimenting with ways to keep deer from reproducing. I like this idea from New Hampshire: guinea fowl.

A great radio show called Living on Earth has the story.

“Some homeowners in the thick of tick country are turning to guinea fowl to control ticks. Living on Earth’s Jenni Doering reports from Exeter, New Hampshire, about one family’s experience with these tick-eating machines. …

“More than 40,000 new cases of Lyme were reported in 2017, and climate change could make it even more common. A recent study found that a temperature increase of just 2 degrees Celsius could result in a 20 percent increase in Lyme disease cases in the U.S. Luckily, there are proven ways to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease: wear long sleeved clothing, use repellents, and do a thorough tick check after you’ve been in the woods. …

“JENNI DOERING: Suzy and Hazel Koff live an enchanted childhood.
On a warm July day the 6 and 3 year olds run through the sun-dappled forest in their New Hampshire backyard. … Their mother, Sarah, says this is how they spend their summer.

“KOFF: We love going outside playing in the woods. We have this great big yard that they play in and we have a sandbox out here and slack line and all sorts of things; we like to make fairy houses, and we like to garden together. …

“DOERING: But in the Northeast, where there are woods, there are ticks. A lot of them.

“KOFF: I was so, just, overwhelmed by the ticks in our yard. … I’m such a big gardener, there’s no way I was willing to spray anything on the lawn or use any sort of chemicals at all, so I thought I would try this biological control. …

“DOERING:  Enter the guinea fowl. Native to Africa, guineas are rather awkward, football-shaped birds with a tiny head, and a voracious appetite for ticks. And unlike chickens, guinea fowl won’t peck at your garden greens. So Sarah decided to give them a try.

“KOFF: Yeah, I just went on Craigslist. … As soon as we started letting them out they were immediately interested in pecking, pecking and pecking. So yeah, they were just sort of tearing up all the bugs! … They’re not pets. They’re sort of wild animals that you just have. … I haven’t seen any ticks on the kids since we’ve let the guineas go roam around. …

“DOERING: A small 1992 study on Long Island backs up Sarah’s observation.
Researchers placed guinea fowl into tick-infested areas and found that they significantly reduced the adult tick population within the enclosures. But Howard Ginsberg, a research ecologist with the Department of Interior, points out a problem with timing.

“GINSBERG: Most people get Lyme disease during June and July when the nymphs are out, and the nymphs are in the woods. The adults, which are the stage that’s targeted by these birds, [are] out in the fall and spring, out in open areas like people’s lawn. …

“DOERING: A single female deer tick can lay as many as 2,000 eggs, so removing adult ticks does appear to reduce local Lyme disease risk overall. Fortunately, even if a tick latches on to you, Ginsberg says time is on your side.

“GINSBERG: Lyme disease, that bacterium requires something like 24 to 48 hours with tick attachment before it’s transmitted. So if you do a check every day when you get back from the woods and remove ticks, you have eliminated the possibility of Lyme disease fairly substantially. … The best way to remove a tick is to just take fine tweezers, just grab as close to the skin line as possible, and slowly pull it straight out.

“DOERING: Then, take some rubbing alcohol and clean the bite thoroughly.
And get that tick safely out of your life by flushing it down the toilet.”

Meanwhile, the search goes on for long-lasting solutions to the Lyme Disease problem.

More at Living on Earth, here., where you can also listen to the audio version.

Read Full Post »

I’ve told the story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” many times to my oldest grandchild and was delighted that he responded with a wide grin when I later used — in a completely different context — the phrase “It was just ri-ight.” Everybody in the world seems to know those words from the Grimms’ fairy tale.

So when the audience heard the phrase Sunday in a locally flavored skit to benefit the island medical center, the line got a laugh. One of many.

In this case, the familiar plot points (porridge too hot, door not locked, trespassing girl) had been repurposed into the trial of Gold E. Locks, whom the Three Deer accused of bad manners for the usual (entering uninvited, eating the porridge all up, breaking the chair, sleeping in the bed).

Citigroup Chairman Richard Parsons played the judge and Christopher Walken’s wife, Georgianne, was the jury foreman. (“You’re not the foreman!” declared an indignant deer on the jury. “You’re just a Walk-in.”) But many of the biggest laughs were garnered by those who are famous only locally.

The story really had to be about deer because one of the biggest challenges the medical center has today is diagnosing and treating disease borne by deer ticks. (Three deer introduced to the island in the 1950s multiplied into a major problem. Lots of jokes about the people responsible.)

As unpolished as the entertainment was, the packed house was hugely supportive. In fact, the audience joined the fray. When the honorable counsel for the Locks family charged that the deer home with the open door and fragrant porridge was an “attractive nuisance,” a man in the back shouted, “Do you charge by the minute or the hour?” The answer: “I charge the same rate I charge in Manhattan.”

OK. Maybe you had to be there. The main story I took away was how many people wanted to donate to the medical center and how indulgent and open that made them. And yes, I laughed at all the jokes.

More here.

Photo:  John Freidah/The Providence Journal files /

Read Full Post »

Given the tick situation, my husband has decided to garden only in containers on the deck and not mess with clearing land. So far we have had some nice lettuce, arugula, rosemary, and tarragon. The grandsons pick the flowers. Neighbors who live in Rhode Island year-round have a serious garden, but it is surrounded by a very high fence to thwart the deer.

I liked the gardening-with-pop-bottle idea from another WordPress blogger, “Your Other Mother Here,” here.  I’m trying to picture how you keep the little planters watered just right, though.

container-gardening

 

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: