State to spray eco-friendly tick control treatments on public land across New York
Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 6:16 am

The state is planning an aggressive Lyme and tick-borne disease control plan to control tick populations on public lands, increase public awareness and access to available data, and create a working group to participate in a Lyme disease summit this summer.

A press release from the governor's office said that the departments of Health and Environmental Conservation, and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will collaborate to target priority counties and public lands with the highest risk of tick exposure and Lyme disease.

Tick season has started in many areas of the state and will continue through November.

Tick Control Methods

Tick control methods will include strategic application of eco-friendly tick control treatments on parkland in the Hudson Valley, Capital Region, and Southern Tier where the public is at the highest risk of tick exposure and Lyme disease, the press release said.

Additionally, the state will expand the use of 4-Poster "tickicide" deer treatment feeding stations that help to control ticks spread by white-tailed deer. While the deer feed on corn at the station, treated rollers brush insecticide against the animal's neck, head, and ears where many adult ticks tend to feed. The stations are already successfully in use in certain areas on Long Island, including Robert Moses State Park and Connetquot River State Park.

Due to rodents also being largely responsible for infecting ticks with Lyme disease, the state will expand use of commercial products to combat the spread of illness by rodents.

This includes the deployment of tubes filled with permethrin-treated cotton balls which mice use for nesting material, which kills the ticks in their early larval stage when they attach to mice.

The state will also expand its usage of the Tick Control System, a small box that attracts rodents. When an animal enters the box, it receives a low dose of fipronil, which is the active ingredient in many treatments used to eliminate ticks on dogs and cats.

The state will also conduct aggressive routine maintenance of vegetation areas at these parks to minimize potential exposure of visitors to ticks.

Expanded Education and Outreach

Beginning immediately, participating agencies will develop a campaign focused on deploying information about tick-borne disease and prevention, specifically targeting high-risk groups such as hunters and hikers, the press release said.

DEC will expand its website to include a tick-borne disease page featuring information relevant to anglers, hunters, trappers, hikers, and those who enjoy outdoor recreation in New York. This page will also be linked with DOH's website.

In addition, DEC will coordinate with 1,600 sporting license issuing agents across the state to distribute information and material on ticks and tick-borne diseases, and will utilize agencies' mailing lists and electronic newsletters to keep thousands of outdoor enthusiasts informed. OPRHP will also distribute information and materials to hunters through their hunting permit program and make information available to visitors, and will continue to post metal tick warning signs on state lands and parks.

Expanded Data Access

DOH will post current and retrospective tick collection and testing results to Health Data NY, opening up the data to the public. This information was previously only shared with local health departments and state park managers to aid in their education and prevention campaigns. Given the considerable interest in this information from providers, researchers and advocates, the Department will now make this information more readily available to the general public.

Research and Evaluation

Tick-borne diseases, particularly Lyme disease, are among the fastest growing infectious diseases in the United States. However, diagnosing Lyme disease can be particularly difficult. Patients with Lyme disease can present a number of possible symptoms, which can wane over time, and be easily confused with hundreds of other diseases. The Governor has directed the Department of Health to pursue private research partnerships to develop a better diagnostic test, which can ultimately lead to more effective treatments.

Tick Prevention Tips

While hiking, working, or spending time in wooded areas:

• Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts to protect against ticks other biting insects

• Check for ticks every two to three hours while outdoors and brush off any ticks before they attach

• Perform a full body check multiple times during the day, as well as at the end of the day to ensure that no ticks are attached

• Consider use of repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or IR3535, following label instructions.

For more information about Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases, visit: https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/lyme/.