Tick Tick Tick

The life cycle of Dermacentor variabilis and D...

The life cycle of Dermacentor variabilis and Dermacentor andersoni ticks (Family Ixodidae) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ticks are spreading, and down in the article, you guessed it, the cause is speculated to be global warming aka climate change.

From CBS in Charlotte, worry over a one year increase. Excerpts:

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — In the trees and grasses of the South, there are a growing number of unwanted visitors that at best are an itchy nuisance and at worst can carry debilitating diseases: Ticks.

Public health officials say that numbers of reported cases of diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are not yet alarming and have not yet shown a definitive trend upward from a national perspective.

“Ticks are spreading, but usually not like wildfire,” said Joseph Piseman, chief of tickborne disease activity for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The spread is kind of slow but sure.”

The Lone Star tick carries a flu-like infection, and Apperson said the main reason for its emergence in the region is a larger population of deer for it to feed upon. Scientists aren’t so sure about why other species are invading, however.


For the most part, scientists are not yet examining why the populations have been spreading, said entomologist Bruce A. Harrison, who studied ticks for the state of North Carolina for nearly 20 years. He hypothesized it may be at least in part caused by climate change. As temperatures change, animals that are food for ticks migrate — often because the plants they eat are now growing elsewhere.

While the CDC hasn’t reported a spike in tick-borne diseases, officials in North Carolina have noticed an increase this year compared to a year earlier. Rocky Mountain spotted fever cases are up 50 percent this year, said state public health veterinarian Carl Williams. And while there typically wasn’t a single positive Lyme disease test 10 years ago, now there are a few each year, Mekeel said.

Full story:  http://charlotte.cbslocal.com/2012/05/28/new-species-of-ticks-spreading-disease-across-southeast/

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Like with tornadoes, we now have doppler radar, and storm chasers and live reporting, now that we have a national database for Lyme disease and constant reminders in the news, is it any wonder there is an increase in cases?

Story submitted by WUWT reader George Ellis

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122 thoughts on “Tick Tick Tick

  1. It couldn’t possibly have something to do with large numbers of people who routinely travel from one part of the country to another? No, it must be global warming.

  2. ‘…numbers of reported cases of diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are not yet alarming and have not yet shown a definitive trend upward from a national perspective…’

    And yet we are told to be alarmed…

  3. Lyme disease is no joke, it is a very debilitating disease if not treated quickly. I know at least a dozen people who have been infected. As to GW, I doubt it matters much, ticks are very robust creatures and are only dormant in the depths of winter it seems. I went hiking on a cold day in November and found four ticks on my boots. They’ve always been in PA so I can’t imagine they haven’t always been in the Carolinas.

  4. if ticks main “predator” fire is suppressed, then there will be a trophic cascade.

  5. I’m not convinced ticks feed solely on animals. We had ticks overrun our beach-type land on Lake Superior about ten years ago and there are hardly any animals there at all. I could pick and squash dozens and sometimes hundreds of ticks off a trail any time I wanted. I figured they must have been feeding off of some plants because the wildlife wouldn’t support such a population. Anyways we eventually had enough and threw a little bit of tick insecticide dust around the areas with the highest tick population, which was only like 50 feet of trail, and in two years they totally disappeared.

  6. Anecdote: I never got a tick here in central Virginia (a couple decades experience) until last summer I got three. This spring I have gotten about a dozen, mainly big dog ticks but also little deer ticks. My habits have not changed. So, I believe the tick population has changed.

    The stink bugs also arrived here (from somewhere in Asia) about the time this started. Do they eat something that eats ticks?

  7. As someone who had the Lyme disease, I blame too large deer populations (I was infected on a small island with a lot of deer) – we’ve killed the predators and hunting is too limited.

  8. I live out in the middle of 100 acres+ of field and forest in Mississippi. Bugs have been a problem forever, and not just ticks and chiggers. But there are fixes for it. Chemical warfare. Love it, use it. :)

  9. And it has absolutely nothing to do with the out of control deer population. Yeah, right.

  10. Has anyone who worked on this report on ticks considered the effect of bird populations on the insect world? Some birds are known to feed on ticks that make their home on beasts’ backs, thus controlling the tick infestations while other birds scour the ground for insects to feed on themselves and their chicks too.

    Last I heard, birds were being killed by wind turbines…………………

  11. Based on the information provided in the story, it is possible to hypothesized that Cliamte Change is caused by these ticks … both are equally baseless.

  12. Its known as Lyme disease because it was first noted in Lyme CONNECTICUT! Climate change is casing ticks to spread South? How exactly does that work?

  13. Ticks emerge every Spring. In some years following a mild Winter there will be more. After the “devastating” mild Spring we’ve had, I expected more ticks. No surprise.
    “Wait til the skeeters show up next month . . “

  14. You don’t have to go more than few steps into nature to pick up ticks. It’s not like they are rare and remote like moose or grizzly bears.

    “There’s also the increasing propensity for the ignorant to “get in touch with nature”.”

  15. Just heard on the radio this morning that experts are predicting a bumper crop of mosquitos this summer in Atlanta due to the unusually mild winter. No specific mention of global warming. On the other hand, we have a 4 inch rainfall deficit for the year, so perhaps standing water will be reduced.

    No matter what the local weather is, it seems someone will always find a reason to worry over it.

  16. Or it could be natural boundary oscillation. Population boundaries are VERY fuzzy things and measuring them is even fuzzier.

  17. The Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) (Rickettsia rickettsii), has jumped species from the Deer Tick (Ixodes scapularis) to the brown dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis). While it is primarily on Tribal lands it has the potential to spread worldwide, the habitat of the brown dog tick. So the potential is there for a world wide disease…..so far they are able to contain RMSF i the brown dog tick through tribal efforts with assistance from the states and CDC.

  18. BTW if deer tick borne diseases are spreading a more reasonable explanation would probably be that natural resource and environmental bureaucracies have become dominated by enviros who developed their notions of nature by watching endless repeats of “Bambi” and they have made controlling populations of deer increasingly problematic. Looked at rationally deer are just much larger much prettier versions of rats.

  19. I am one of the many who think\ that climate change has been overhyped, to say the least. My credentials as a skeptic of the IPCC and Michael Mann and climate models are solid — just ask my friends.

    But the world is warming, albeit at a slower pace than the models and AGW proponents suggest, more like what the satellite record says.

    And if the world is warming, it isn’t absurd to think that creatures that have a range of temperatures in which they can survive might move into areas that are warmer than they once were.

    Some claims from the AGW side can be reasonable and accurate, even if much of what they feed us and the media is hype. Let’s distinguish between the two — it makes us more reasonable, and also makes us look more reasonable to those who don’t know the subject well.

  20. One more thing about my previous comment, just for clarification. There are many types of ticks, very likely with different temperature sensitivities. A state could have several types of ticks currently resident, but may or may not yet have a temperature range that would work for a tick from a warmer part of the country.

  21. Can it be that it is getting harder than blue-blazes to control deer populations?

    In my yout’ there was NO deer hunting season. I probably saw 2-3 deer in my adolesence. With good game management by our State Wildlife Department, they were able to build the herds to where hunting was needed to keep the herds at proper size.

    Today, there has been a decrease in hunters and an increase in protected areas, including suburban sprawl. The deer are like vermin munching their way through suburban landscaping. State Wildlife is now issuing 2-3 permits per hunter, if you want them, and the herds are still growing.

    I should expect an increase in tick-borne diseases because they are dropping ticks all over the place. No surprises here and I’m sure it’s the same in other states.

    (P.S. How bold are urban deer? About 6 weeks ago my 2 dogs were barking at the dozen or so deer which pass through our property a couple of times per day. Those deer know where the invisible fence is for the dogs. I didn’t want the neighbors disturbed so I went walking towards the deer saying “git,” “scram” etc. in a low voice – keeping quiet for the neighbors – and waving my arms. When I got within about 15 feet, dogs still barking, they just sauntered off, not particularly alarmed. If there were no dogs and I was quiet, I coulda’ beaned one with a 9-iron.)

  22. 100 years and more of no prairie fires and far fewer forest fires, plus the deer population explosion. When my Dad was a boy, it was rumored that a few deer lived in a State park 25 miles away. Now we have a half dozen on our own land.

    When I was a child, I never picked up a tick playing on the farm. Now there are ticks all over the place. Lyme is actually down-played, but I know people who’s lives have been ruined by the arthritis, cardiac and neurological long-time effects.

    But the climate change isn’t there, and certainly isn’t the cause of the South American species spreading to Wisconsin. Illegal immigrants are a much likelier
    vector.

  23. We know climate changes locally, sometimes quite drastically; we also know populations change under a variety of pressures, many of which have nothing to do with climate or human activity. The changes I have seen during my 30 years on the same spot (late 1960s to late 1990s):

    * Moss started growing in the open, even on the meadows, alongside indigenous grass. Earlier, it was only to be found on the rocks and on the bottoms of tree trunks in very dark and humid parts of the old forest.

    * Mosquitoes used to be a slight problem for a short period of time in late May or early June, and they were more or less confined to the same dark and humid spaces. By mid-1980s, they became a constant nuisance for the better part of the year, and even the first frost on the ground in autumn did not kill them.

    * Rooks quit migrating in the late 1970s. Before then, they had been an icon of seasonal bird migration.

    * The river stopped freezing mid-stream. When I was a kid, I would go and collect the ice cores left by fishermen, as a source of water for my fish tank. It was not unusual to see cores longer that three feet.

    * Because there is open water year-round, there are now resident ducks in winter. Before 1990, I don’t think I had even seen a duck.

    * The forest-prairie line moved several miles south.

    * Juniper disappeared without trace. Some specimens I knew when I was young were more than a couple centuries old and the young ones (10 years or younger) were seen all over the place.

    * Ticks were rare and were mostly found on dogs. I was first bitten by a tick when I was 25, even though I literally lived in the forest. I moved away from that place when I was 35, but now I hear from relatives who stayed behind that ticks have become a nuisance. My sister is sick with lime disease that has been traced to ticks near her summer home.

    In other words, I don’t believe in easy explanations. With so many strong factors, of which so few are even known, looking for correlations is simply disingenuous.

  24. Tick diseases are not new. The 5000 year old Ice Man in the Alps had lyme disease. “Perhaps most surprising, researchers found the genetic footprint of bacteria known as Borrelia burgdorferi in his DNA—making the Iceman the earliest known human infected by the bug that causes Lyme disease.” http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/11/iceman-autopsy/hall-text . Must have been a period of global warming. Perhaps all of those buffalo farting and belching on the Amerian Plains.

  25. In my opinion (take that for what its worth), the problem is two pronged this year:
    1. The deer are overpopulated.
    2. Last winter was above average on the east coast of the US, preventing the annual kill-off of insects, thus making this years crop overabundant.

    Between those two points this will be a miserable year for ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, and other six-legged pests.

  26. Steve! Buddy! You better watch yourself there. Pointing out that government-issued burn restrictions and lax border enforcement are more likely the cause is dangerous business. You could get audited.

  27. That life-cycle image is a hoot. Apparently they start as eggs, grow up, and lay more eggs. Who’da thunk it?

  28. I grew up in Chapel Hill, NC. In addition to what more knowledgeable posters might have said about hunting, I know that there used to be packs of wild dogs which some people think kept the deer population in check.

    Funny thing … I spent my entire youth running through the woods (real woods, out in the country), and while I know that I got a “tick check” every time I came home, I don’t remember ever getting bitten by one. Got chiggers all the time.

  29. H.R. says:
    May 29, 2012 at 9:04 am

    “(P.S. How bold are urban deer?”

    When the topic of deer hunting comes up at family gatherings a story that always seems to come up is a hunting trip my stepson and a group of his friends took to the North Woods of MN, because they felt the local deer population here in the southeast of the state wouldn’t provide sufficient opportunities to score a trophy buck. When he called to check in with his mother and generally whine about their nearly total lack of success, I was standing at the window watching a 12 point buck, 2 eight pointers and about a dozen assorted does and yearlings milling about in the back yard. I got pictures. He will never live that one down.

  30. Espen says:
    May 29, 2012 at 8:28 am

    As someone who had the Lyme disease, I blame too large deer populations (I was infected on a small island with a lot of deer) – we’ve killed the predators and hunting is too limited.
    _______________________________
    My husband almost died from Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in 2003 when there was a major tick infestation in North Carolina. Medical centers were warned to keep an eye out for symptoms of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease

    There are a number of things that influence the tick population.
    1. Increase in vegetation. They really like trees, bushy woodlands and long grass. We have more trees and bush now than we did seventy years ago. Fire is no longer used as frequently for clearing since it is regulated.
    2. Increase in wildlife. The deer population especially has boomed.
    3. Decrease in chickens around homes due to zoning laws and coyotes. Chickens and especially Guinea Hens will clean up ticks and chiggers. I use them but the grey fox and coyotes make it hard to keep a flock now. (Grey fox can climb trees BTW)

  31. In Texas we have a solution to ticks. It was an invasion of FIRE ANTS – find fire ants and you will not find ticks or fleas.

  32. Dave Wendt says (May 29, 2012 at 8:45 am): “Its known as Lyme disease because it was first noted in Lyme CONNECTICUT! Climate change is casing ticks to spread South? How exactly does that work?”

    Given the already vast habitat of ticks, I can only conclude the reporter fears the ticks are spreading to the South Pole–you know, where the last breeding pairs of humans will end up because of CAGW. :-)

    Unless we do something NOW!!!! the spread will be irreversible; we may have already passed the ticking point! The very thought just ticks me off. :-)

  33. So with global cooling we are all safe then? Well some good will come from the real climate change we are facing.

    Ah yes lets all go and roll around the Plum Island Playground. You know the place where they had to destroy a tick colony because they lost containment? Yea that one. But don’t worry it’s on an island and the ticks couldn’t get off. Unless animals and birds are allowed to swim out and back to the mainland. Oh yea those security cuts and excessive spending on keeping it isolated aren’t needed. I mean so what if it is ground zero for Lyme disease? Just a coincidence I’m sure.

  34. What everybody seems to forget is that there is NO* global warming and there hasn’t been any since 1998 *significant.

    Looks like May will come in at abut 0.15C or so, so still no warming again….

  35. Tamias sibiricus and Tamias striatus were introduced in Europe during the 60’s, for the children’s fun. I don’t know if the same happened in the USA, but here the Asian ticks they wore spread as people freed those little quasi-squirrels in the woods when their children were fed up with them. Since then, Lyme disease has arisen here also. And this is something totally new, unknow in occidental Europe before that.

  36. I live on the western slope of the Rockies, and have a few acres on a wooded creek where I have resided for 20 years. Usually, I remove 3-4 ticks per week from my clothing, from March into June when things dry out. I have seen zero, nada, not one single tick since 2009. I thought this was odd, because I’ve always seen ticks in the 40 years I’ve been in Colorado. My guess is that it is probably early spring moisture levels, in conjunction with appropriate warmth that allows for a tick season at all. Too dry, and/or too cool(before it dries out)=no ticks.

  37. In my teens, the mid-seventies, virtually all of my friends hunted deer.

    Being North Alabama Southerner kids, this meant we kept a loaded shotgun in our cars at all times – including while in school – and most particularly during the fall hunting season. The minute school was out we were ‘on the hunt’. Around 6:00 pm, so many shots could be heard on the outskirts of town that it sounded like the outbreak of a small war.

    Today far fewer kids hunt and none keeps loaded weapon on the campus parking lot. Shots heard in the fall are far reduced.

    So it’s not surprising the deer population has risen. Other considerations include a displacement of the local pine forest by hardwood leading to increased deer populations and forging range; and fewer sever winters (leading to fewer tick/deer deaths). I often wonder if people have forgotten just how unusually cold the winters were in the 1970’s?

    In any event, I have also observed a substantial increase in deer population since the ’70s. I have also observed and increase in the squirrel, owl, coyote, bear, eagle, falcon, heroin, bass (all species), bait fish, and alligator gar populations. Oddly the rabbit populations appear to have decreased… increased natural predation?

    In short, it looks like we now have much healthier forest.

    All that said, I can’t say I’m encountering that many more ticks. The pattern appears to be the same. Mild winters produce the same amount of ticks (many). Cold winters produced fewer ticks; but, again about the same number as before.

    What I am seeing is an increase in the number of people going into forests, pastures, and grass lands in the spring in summer. Mainly boaters, kayakers, canoeist, backpackers, cross country bicyclist, and the occasional hang glider (have to land somewhere).

    Kforestcat

  38. Rocky Mountain spotted fever cases are up 50 percent this year, said state public health veterinarian Carl Williams. And while there typically wasn’t a single positive Lyme disease test 10 years ago, now there are a few each year, Mekeel said.

    I wonder what the actual numbers are? When the base is very low, saying cases are up 50 percent isn’t very helpful.
    3 this year and 2 last year is a 50% increase.

  39. Alex the skeptic says:
    May 29, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Has anyone who worked on this report on ticks considered the effect of bird populations on the insect world? Some birds are known to feed on ticks that make their home on beasts’ backs, thus controlling the tick infestations while other birds scour the ground for insects to feed on themselves and their chicks too.

    While it is indeed true that a few birds specialize in eating some ticks, far more ticks dine on birds. Many nests and chicks are abandoned because of infestations. They particularly favor the eye area:

    It reminds me of “climate”, in-so-much as: Sometimes we eat the “climate” and sometimes the “climate” eats us. GK

  40. “Rocky Mountain spotted fever cases are up 50 percent this year, said state public health veterinarian Carl Williams. And while there typically wasn’t a single positive Lyme disease test 10 years ago, now there are a few each year, Mekeel said.”

    Are we to surmise that Rocky Mt. spotted fever has gone from an average of 2 cases to a current-year 3 cases (50 percent). Or that the 10-year pattern of Lyme disease in NC has gone something like this: 0 2 0 3 2 3 0 2 1 3 3 (“now a few each year”). And of course that the ticks carrying Lyme (Connecticut) disease are moving southward into NC due to its cooler (!?!?) or warmer (??) climate?

    Goes to show that if you start with the idea that “global warming is causing something/anything bad” then you can stitch together any plausible fantasy.

  41. *ahem* This one is “in my wheelhouse” as some famous politician might say. The deer tick has a complex life cycle, and hosts (animals that are bitten by deer ticks) include many mice and birds as well as deer, dogs and humans. Please see http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/dtopics/tickborne/images/twoyrcycle3.jpg

    There are many possible explanations for why there is an “uptick” in tick sightings, and most obvious are:

    a) public education: we now know what a nasty disease Lyme’s is, so we do a better job of checking ourselves & children when out in the woods.

    b) greater usage of wilderness: as several have suggested, the more time we penetrate the forests and fields, the more exposure we will have.

    c) increased host populations: deer mice are known to go through boom & bust growth cycles (the predator/prey cycle), so with land development, modern agricultural practices, elimination of predators such as coyotes and hawks, the mice populations are probably doing pretty well about now. Good for the ticks. Similarly, white tailed deer are so plentiful, you can damn near walk across their backs to cross the street in some of our Chicago suburbs!

    Climate? Bah. As the desperate true-believers flail about to pin something, ANYTHING, negative on rising temperatures, you’ll hear more of this. I’m hearing all sorts of nonsense about Chagas (“break bone disease,” a nasty one) moving into the southern US due to climate change.

    Life forms and pathogens adapt and move, it’s been going on for millions of years. When someone shows me definitive evidence of warming, I’ll listen to their arguments.

    Signed, Grumpy Old Public Health Expert

  42. Oh it is interesting that this year the temperatures are really really mild in central North Carolina -one day of 91F vs 17 days with 2 at 98F in may of 2004. So they can not blame it on temperature.

    However I have been removing ticks from me, the ponies, the goat and my husband with annoying frequency

    Temperatures in North Carolina:
    Coastal starting in the North
    Norfolk City
    North – Elisabeth City
    South – Wilmington NC

    North to south thru the middle of the state
    North – Raleigh NC (Airport)
    nearby Chapel Hill
    Large city in the middle of NC – Fayetteville NC

    South Florence

    Rural
    Albemarle
    Kingstree
    Edenton
    Wilson
    Morehead City

    Here is the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation 1859 to 2006

    You are going to have a tough time selling an increase in temperatures in North Carolina especially since I have routinely caught them adding 2F to our max daily temperature in the last couple of years. No doubt it is a UHI adjustment since we are rural. /sarc

    • In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.
      Mark Twain

  43. We had a warm winter in the Northeast, so more ticks. Also, many deer. If winter’s continue to stay warm, it’s climate. If not, it’s weather.

  44. I’ve lived in areas with plenty of hunting, now and in the past, and the tick problem seems to be increasing somewhat, but like I said, we’ve always had problems with them. First person I knew with Lymes was almost 30 years ago. Other problems is that it is hard to diagnose (I’ve been tested three times with no definitive negative) and the medical community still refuses to acknowledge how serious the long term affects are in some people.

    As noted, far more people do seem to be venturing into the deep woods rather than having a picnic in the well groomed areas of a state park like our parents and grand parents.

  45. Besides birds, ticks do have other natural predators such as pine snakes. I’ve heard of pine snakes with hundreds of ticks in them. Perhaps small changes in such efficient predators can drastically affect local tick populations.

  46. New Hockey Ticks discovered in the Northern Hemisphere!

    If the curve is up and to the right, it MUST be about climate change. How could it possibly be anything else?

  47. Here’s something I’ve noticed; when I was a kid in Lowcountry SC, we had Spring, Summer, Football Season, Harvest Season, Fall, Christmas Season and Winter. 5o years later all of these seasons have been replaced with, Hurricane Season, Allergy Season, Flea and Tick season, and finally the “post-holiday blues season”. There is a definite effort by the media, probably unknowingly, to promote everything as a “worry about the__________ season”. My best advice is to toss the TV, subscribe to one good newspaper, the WSJ, and read WUWT.

  48. I suspect that one causal factor in an increase in the number of ticks is an increase in host populations. Reduced hunting of deer combined with the very low populations of wild predators will cause increased herd sizes. Another factor could be increased browse for host populations. Land that has been historically cropland but has been permitted to revert to grassland or forest would support an increase in host-animal populations. No global climate changes required. A few years ago a South Carolinan remarked to me that deer were becoming the biggest driving hazard in the state. Within hours after hearing that I saw two deer-related accidents, anecdotal but still…

  49. It is said that each animal has its predator….There must be one
    which feasts on ticks…? All comments up to now only point to
    forest fires and the Texan fire ant, which cleans out the pests…
    Isn’t there a wonderful wasp, spider or tick devouring bird… to do
    the job??

  50. This is purely anecdotal… when I was growing up wild and running free through the tall grass prairie and woodlands of my native home in Osage County, OK, we would occasionally pick up a tick and my father told me that until the local ranchers had begun importing cattle from Mexico and the Southern states of Alabama, etc. some years before, that there had been no ticks at all in the area and he and his brothers and friends never were troubled with ticks.
    Now, one is wise to check for ticks after every foray into the wild.

    By the way, turkeys and Guinea fowl are tough on ticks. If your place is overrun with the bothersome critters, get some young pre- adult Guineas and let ‘em grow a bit and become acclimated and realize where their home is and then let them roam free and you’ll soon be tick free.

  51. Re: Dengue and Chagas, etc., I am constantly amazed than any human manages to survive in the tropics. Reading “1493” about the aftermath of Columbus and all the various Columbian Exchanges, and boy did the Europeans get a rude awakening in Central and South America. Best estiamtes are that 80% of the Europeans that made it the New World in the 15-17th Century snuffed it within a year from disease or indian. Mostly disease, especially malaria and yellow fever. The #1 reason for the establishment of the slave trade was that Africans that reach adulthood are almost all immune to malaria (and the indans made poor slaves due to their penchant for murdering their masters). Anyway, this and its sister book 1491 had all kinds of interesting theories regarding pathogens and genetics and the interation between two totally isolated populations.

  52. Jim Ryan says:
    May 29, 2012 at 8:25 am
    Anecdote: I never got a tick here in central Virginia (a couple decades experience) until last summer I got three. This spring I have gotten about a dozen, mainly big dog ticks but also little deer ticks. My habits have not changed. So, I believe the tick population has changed.

    The stink bugs also arrived here (from somewhere in Asia) about the time this started. Do they eat something that eats ticks?

    Interesting. I live in the same area and have for two decades. I’ve seen ticks here every year, both dog ticks and deer ticks are common. They’ve been common every place I’ve been in Virginia during that time. Perhaps your activities have changed? When I was active in the local Boy Scouts, we insisted that the Scouts check frequently for ticks on every outing since ticks are far easier to remove before they insert their feeding parts.

    Our winter was on the mild side this past year, so more ticks survived (and perhaps fluorished). But that is a minor change in tick life. Either a chemical warfare campaign against bugs was normally active in your area or the deer population has changed it’s pattern. Deer change their patterns based on food, cover and human activities, like building anything. I rarely spray for bugs on my property (ditto for my neighbors); and I have bluebirds and goldfinches nesting here because I leave them the bugs. You’ll rarely see bluebirds where lawns are regularly sprayed for weeds and bugs.

    The immature forms of ticks overwinter on the local rodent populations, like field mice. One area tried controlling their tick infectious disease incidence rate by spreading cotton balls impregnated with insecticide (DDT back then) throughout the local fields and wooded areas. The cotton balls were harvested by the mice for use as nesting material. Ticks virtually vanished for several years. That practise got stopped because the locals were concerned that their foxes were getting poisoned by eating DDT coated mice (probable).

    Ticks were severely diminished in the East Coast because the deer population was almost eliminated by the early 1900’s (habitat destruction, hunting for meat and market gunners). In the early 1930’s hunters volunteered the idea of a hunting license with part of the fees going to wildlife and habitat restoration. (Currently license fees and excise taxes on firearms and ammunition contribute $4.7million dollars a day to wildlife restoration in the United States) One of the first animals to benefit was the whitetail deer, which is a primary host for ticks looking for enough blood to reproduce. While there are different kinds of ticks, I doubt most folks are able to identify ticks by size alone. Ticks grow from tiny eggs to full size adult and can be any size between. http://www.ct.gov/caes/lib/caes/documents/publications/bulletins/b1010.pdf.

    Try not to get focused on “what kind of tick it is”, and stay focused on safe tick activity (like not only checking for ticks on yourself, but also sharing that responsibility. It’s the best way to insure your back isn’t host to a host of ticks). If you treat you pet (dog or cat) with flea/tick treatments or collars, expect ticks to ride the pets into the house. After the ticks figure that they don’t like the pet’s blood, they’ll go looking for a substitute blood source like people.

    One sure fire cure for ticks and many other insects are some guinea fowl. Guineas love ticks and will clear an incredible amount of territory of any ticks. I had ducks one year and they diid a number on the ticks too, but the ducks made that year almost Japanese beetle free. Chickens do fairly good on ticks too, but their not as independent as guineas.

  53. Reading through this thread and seeing the theme of reforestation and population explosions of wild beasts, I cannot help but think, this is our 4th Century. And here comes the 5th.

  54. Joachim Seifert says:
    May 29, 2012 at 11:08 am
    It is said that each animal has its predator….There must be one which feasts on ticks…? All comments up to now only point to forest fires and the Texan fire ant, which cleans out the pests…
    Isn’t there a wonderful wasp, spider or tick devouring bird… to do the job??

    Pheasants love ticks, and they’re big enough to make a sizeable dent in the population. But between the builders buying up farmland to plant condos on them and the increase in the numbers of cars on what were formerly rural roads, the pheasant population in the Northeast Corridor has been pretty reduced.

    BTW, deer ticks spend the winter attached to field mice (voles), and the wind turbines are doing a pretty good job of reducing the numbers of their primary aerial predators…

  55. Duster says:
    May 29, 2012 at 10:56 am
    “I suspect that one causal factor in an increase in the number of ticks is an increase in host populations. Reduced hunting of deer combined with the very low populations of wild predators will cause increased herd sizes. Another factor could be increased browse for host populations. Land that has been historically cropland but has been permitted to revert to grassland or forest would support an increase in host-animal populations. No global climate changes required. A few years ago a South Carolinan remarked to me that deer were becoming the biggest driving hazard in the state. Within hours after hearing that I saw two deer-related accidents, anecdotal but still…”

    Duster,
    You have hit on a couple of the trends that support increasing tick populations: Reversion of cultivated fields to native growth nationwide coupled with a lot higher populations of host species (deer, dogs, goats, horses, llamas, etc.) for ticks.

    I would add a couple more to the list. Farmers used to plow their fields each year, turning most of the crop residue under the soil and disrupting the life cycle of many insects. If crop residue was heavy on the surface, it would often be burned off before tilling. In addition, farmers in many areas used to burn off their fence rows between the fields to reduce the encroachment of trees and brush into the fields and to kill off noxious weeds in the fence rows. They burned off their weedy pastures and even the litter and under brush in climax oak forests, to promote more grass growth and browse for dairy and beef cattle. The cattle were given access to ‘oilers’, a roller/cable mechanism mounted at about a 45 degree angle that dispensed insecticides as the cows used it for rubbing against. The cows catch on to rubbing on these things real quick, as they can maneuver in and around the cable/roller to rub most itchy areas and get insecticide on to the ticks that are making them itchy! Deer never seem to catch on to the trick though.

    Modern farming has trended towards ‘low till’ and ‘no till’ planting and harvesting methods, leaving most of the crop residue (wheat straw, corn stalks, pea vines, etc) on top of the soil. After a winter of some decomposition, the next crop is planted directly into the soil without plowing the residue under. While this reduces the total energy consumed to grow a bushel of wheat or corn (plowing soil is energy intensive), it lets the crop residue build up on the soil surface. This provides much better cover for insects of all kinds, including ticks. In most areas, burning off crop residue is now illegal, so fire is no longer a sure way to kill insect eggs in the crop residue, the field fence rows, or the under story and forest floor of the oak wood lots.

    More deer and other host species, marginal farmland reversion to natural cover, low/no till farming methods, no burning allowed for fields and fence rows; All of these things assure higher populations of ticks, unfortunately!
    MtK

    • If ticks are a problem in your area the go buy some PERMETHRIN insect repellent for clothing and you – this stuff works spay on you cloths and no more problems – also tuck pants into socks.

  56. To Curtis at 11:33 AM:

    Curtis, you left all your winnings at the table!

    You said that the cause of the disappearance of the first large civilizations, around 4,000 years go, was climate change. And yes, the climate did change. But why??

    Here is your answer, from the article that you linked (hint, it is yellow, and warm, and rises once a day):

    ———————-

    …”Initially, the monsoon-drenched rivers the researchers identified were prone to devastating floods. Over time, monsoons weakened, enabling agriculture and civilization to flourish along flood-fed riverbanks for nearly 2,000 years.

    “The insolation — the solar energy received by the Earth from the sun — varies in cycles, which can impact monsoons,” Giosan said. “In the last 10,000 years, the Northern Hemisphere had the highest insolation from 7,000 to 5,000 years ago, and since then insolation there decreased. All climate on Earth is driven by the sun, and so the monsoons were affected by the lower insolation, decreasing in force. This meant less rain got into continental regions affected by monsoons over time.”

    Eventually, these monsoon-based rivers held too little water and dried, making them unfavorable for civilization.

    “The Harappans were an enterprising people taking advantage of a window of opportunity — a kind of “Goldilocks civilization,” Giosan said.

    Eventually, over the course of centuries, Harappans apparently fled along an escape route to the east toward the Ganges basin, where monsoon rains remained reliable….

  57. It is the lack of a natural predator to hunt the deer. I say natural because man can not do natures job with a riffle. Human hunters tend to shoot the large healthy animal that looks good on the wall. Wolf would go after the week. I thought this was basic eath science.

  58. Dave Wendt sez

    BTW if deer tick borne diseases are spreading a more reasonable explanation would probably be that natural resource and environmental bureaucracies have become dominated by enviros who developed their notions of nature by watching endless repeats of “Bambi” and they have made controlling populations of deer increasingly

    Tell me about it. Several years ago Fairfax County VA supervisors decided to save money by defunding the program that hired professional hunters to cull the deer population. They gave free liscences to anyone who wanted to hunt them and they could keep the meat. Well, people had horses and livestock killed so THAT ended. And the deer population EXPLODED. As did the ticks. To the rescue: COYOTES. It was awhile before I could walk the dog without taking my weapon, but it solved the deer problem.

  59. The two worst places for ticks I have ever visited was around Bratsk in central Siberia and in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, both areas where winter temperatures regularly go below -40.
    By the way ticks have increased in Sweden too, in parallell with the growing deer population.

  60. For the most part, scientists are not yet examining why the populations have been spreading, said entomologist Bruce A. Harrison, who studied ticks for the state of North Carolina for nearly 20 years. He hypothesized it may be at least in part caused by climate change. As temperatures change, animals that are food for ticks migrate — often because the plants they eat are now growing elsewhere.

    ======================

    I haven’t read the previous posts but I will weigh in on my observations with regards to ticks.

    I, as well as my bird dogs, have been covered up with ticks in Dec, Jan, and Feb with the temps in the 20’s and 30’s with 10 inches of snow on the ground. When I say covered up, I mean 50 plus on each dog and a dozen on me. If I can’t get the dogs to a large flowing stream within an hour or so I will be pulling ticks off them before they get under the fur.

    They hibernate or collect in black mud / muck in spring seeps and around the edges of water holes and creeks where decaying organic matter accumulates. These ticks are small and often brown or light in color. I have experienced this problem dozens of times in the winter while hunting and the only unfrozen source of water were these seeps and edges of water holes. An active bird dog requires 1 quart of water per hour so they will find the water holes. Soft snow is the greatest gift of all along with a few grouse. I have learned to avoid the black mud and thus the ticks by carrying water with me (~ 8 lb/gal) gives me about 4 hours hunting time in temps below 40 F.

    I don’t want to hear any BS with regards to any ‘public bureaucrats’ claiming global warming increases ticks. Cooling certainly has no effect. Entomologist Bruce A. Harrison needs to learn something about the effects of a fraction of a degree in temp change over a long period of time as well as face the fact the annual temp spread in NC is likely over 80 F. He should also learn more about ticks. Was 20 years not long enough?

  61. I live in NE Oklahoma and I have NEVER seen the tick population as high as it is now. I spend a lot of time playing and working in the woods and ticks have always been a constant nuisance. It has gotten so bad that urban areas are now infested. Our local nature center (Tulsa) now warn hikers to stay on the trails and to do a thorough “tick check” when finished.

    There are plenty of things you can do to prevent bites, Wear boots and jeans, tuck in your shirt and use DEET or Permethrin on your clothing and footwear. Also put a “collar” of DEET around your arms where your shirt sleeve ends and another around your neck. Trust me, DEET will repel ticks too. I also wear compression shorts instead of underwear when I’m out in the shiggy, it prevents ticks access to your “tender bits”.

  62. One thing which bothers me is that the deer/duck/bird hunters
    are described as the “good guys”, keeping deer/tick populations
    down….The opposite is true: The hunters eliminated MOST of tick
    eating birds in the wild! No birds….plenty of ticks— plain to see
    and not: What
    can we shoot now ? The deers/ticks of course !??
    I have seen the hunters with all colorful birds hanging dead on their
    belts, proudly displayed… As soon as there is some wiggle in the
    bushes, these guys raise the guns and fire immediately: Seven
    Italians per year are shot under maroni chestnut trees in early morning
    fog for being mistaken for delicious wild boars….
    This gun shooting craziness is for mental simpletons only, I know a real
    deer hunter from MA, he uses bow and arrow, otherwise it would
    be too easy. and primitive…
    JS

    • You are one of the gun wielding crowd….Question: why did your peers
      deplete the woods from tick eating birds? I know: “A chicken in every pot…”
      delicious, I know, but now we are swamped by the ticks which are the
      food for the birds…Read further up: Comment Luther Wu: “Let some
      birds freely roam and you will be tick free….
      Instead of letting millions of birds out into the woods, you guys would
      distribute guns to everyone….
      …… The Italians do not only shoot boars… as soon as the migratory
      birds fly South in flocks from Germany into Italy, tens of millions are
      downed by YOU HUNTERS to end up as delicias on the menu…
      No wonder, the ticks have their heyday…and instead of pinpointing
      you …. its the global warming…..
      JS

  63. Living in Missouri for the past decade has taught me to view trees and tall grass as nothing more than places to get ticks on you. And from my experience the ticks are much worse in Mid Missouri than they are in South Georgia which is much warmer year round.

  64. @Joachim Seifert

    Since I’m basically a first time commenter, I will not sully this fine blog with what I’d really like to say. But I will drop a little avian knowledge on you. Birds generally fall into two different categories, protein feeders (bugs) and seed/plant feeders. The majority of waterfowl and upland game birds do not eat ticks. Yes some birds are opportunistic feeders, but most stick to one or the other. I only know of one who is a bane to all insects, especially ticks. It is the Guinea hen. Those birds are relentless tick slayers. They are very coveted by livestock owners all over Oklahoma. I now think that most people who own guineas now put up bat-boxes to keep another pest population in check.. mosquitoes.

    As for your attitude on bird/boar hunters, I have a sneaking suspicion you have never witnessed a hunt in your life. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    • There is a huge variety of little singing birds with a sharp peek getting
      the smalles worm and bad crawling creature off the leafs….
      …. You can admire the birds finely laid out on large dishes in autumn
      in Italian cuisines…. small/medium/large wood birds… Nobody cares
      about PROTEINS or too many little bones…..all great tasting with Lambrusco….
      Its all delicious… and if there are non in your neigbourhood, then
      they were cleaned out long ago as the typical “American” wood walking
      turkey….
      JS

  65. @Joachim Seifert

    Waterfowl do not keep tick populations in check. Most ducks and upland game birds are not much for protein diets.

    I would wager you have never witnessed a hunt of any kind in your life.

    • We did not talk about swimming water ticks…nothing said about water fowls…..
      We talk about walking wood birds as the the forest hen and rooster, etc……
      To hunt witness: As soon as the hunting season at my place in Spain
      starts (end of Aug), EVERY weekend is filled with gunshots (rabbits
      mainly) just down the road, 100 yards away, starting Sats, Suns very early
      in the morning [to greet me?] as long as I can remember…..and in many
      occations I collected the shotgun particles after they having plunked on
      my rooftop…
      So much to hunting….these guys take fun in shooting with shotguns
      rather MORE then LESS as necessary…I need no lessons….
      JS

  66. Joachim Seifert says:
    May 29, 2012 at 3:18 pm
    One thing which bothers me is that the deer/duck/bird hunters
    are described as the “good guys”, keeping deer/tick populations
    down….The opposite is true: The hunters eliminated MOST of tick
    eating birds in the wild! No birds….plenty of ticks— plain to see
    and not: What
    can we shoot now ? The deers/ticks of course !??
    I have seen the hunters with all colorful birds hanging dead on their
    belts, proudly displayed… As soon as there is some wiggle in the
    bushes, these guys raise the guns and fire immediately: Seven
    Italians per year are shot under maroni chestnut trees in early morning
    fog for being mistaken for delicious wild boars….
    This gun shooting craziness is for mental simpletons only, I know a real
    deer hunter from MA, he uses bow and arrow, otherwise it would
    be too easy. and primitive…
    JS

    Colorful birds? Hanging from their belts? I’ve hunted since I was a teenager in several states and I’ve never seen this anywhere, in any state. As others have pointed out, upland game birds and migratory waterfowl are not major tick eaters. They are opportunistic feeders and will eat ticks they come across, but most of these birds are looking for grain, seed and some herbage or if they’re waterfowl anywhere from from raking the muck in shallow water to eating fish.

    The only reason Eastern America still has game animals is because the hunters worked with Congress and their residency states to establish game laws and establish habitat restoration.

    On September 2, 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (now the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act.) This Act fostered partnerships between Federal and State fish and wildlife agencies, the sporting arms industry, conservation groups, and sportsmen to benefit wildlife—and has been key to implementing the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. In 1950, the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act (now the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act) passed.

    Hunters and fishermen were the original founders of conservation and habitat restoration and they are still the major force in wildlife conservation in America. Your delusion about hunters causing the loss of game is opposite to the truth and your attitude is insulting. Read and educate yourself. http://www.thankyouforhunting.com/

    The current wild turkey population is 5.6 million. In 1952, it was 100,000.

    Today, there are 36 million whitetail deer versus an estimated 500,000 in 1900.

    There are now 12 times more Rocky Mountain elk than there were in 1907.

    Pronghorn antelope are 1,000,000 strong today. There were only 12,000 of them 50 years ago.

    Hunters have preserved more than 11 million acres of waterfowl habitat nationwide.

    Hunters and anglers have contributed 8 billion dollars, through fees and taxes, to preserve our wildlife and environment.

    Conservation efforts funded by hunters’ purchases have helped save more than 38 million acres of America’s habitat.

    Since 1937, 3.7 million acres have been purchased and turned into wildlife management areas.

    Yes, there is a lack of natural predators. Natural predators in the Eastern and Southern states are wolves, puma and man. Coyotes are not capable of pulling down a healthy deer. They will eat any carrion they come across (dead deer on the road or near) and they might be able to kill a crippled deer. Wolves are being re-introduced into various areas of the country, Pumas are in more areas than many people would believe. Pumas just aren’t frequent around heavily urbanized or suburbanized communities or away from wilderness areas.

    Game populations are under constant oversight by both state and federal agencies. A major problem with many of the game populations near urban and suburban areas is that hunting is severely restricted which makes automobiles as the major predator, well except for the smaller upland animals like quail and rabbits. Feral cats, dogs and the rapidly spreading coyote are decimating many of these game populations.

    Why were animal populations so destroyed in the early 1900’s? Habitat destruction (logging) was a major cause, but the market gunner was the main factor. Killing creatures to sell on the streets of the big cities (Boston, New York, Philadelphia, etc.) was a source of revenue for the professional killers. Passenger pigeons were rendered extinct mostly by the market gunners filling the demand for meat in the cities. These people were not sportsmen and they did not use what are considered normal hunting weapons ; instead they used nets for birds and firearms that are more akin to cannons as they sought to kill large numbers of animals quickly

    I have a bow and arrows and I have hunted with them. There is no basic difference between hunting with a bow or a gun, except for your fear or horror of a firearm. Both tools will kill the animal. However, the firearm is easier to master so that animals are killed quickly with minimal pain. Bows take a great deal of training and practice before the same can be said. Hunters that shoot at moving bushes will quickly find themselves afoul of the law. One is that it is illegal to shoot at moving bushes and two, no-one wants someone near that shoots at moving bushes, because that is a dangerous stupid activity. I’d happily report such activities to the authorities and provide pictures if possible.

    A proper attitude of everyone is that nothing should be wasted. Whether we’ve killed animal or vegetable we should waste nothing. Just because one person like to hang a reminder of a hunt on their wall is no concern of yours. Instead you should be glad that the uneaten parts are not wasted. It would be better for the whole world if you take the same care for all of your food.

    I have never seen a hunter that asks the animal for their physical fitness report so that they only take the healthy ones. I can bet that you haven’t either. A hunter gets what he/she has invested into the hunt both in preparation, scouting and actually hunting. Hunters often treasure the magnificent animals they do harvest. Have you treasured the steer or pig you’ve partaken of recently? If you prefer to kill vegetables (life is life and eating life is necessary for us to continue living), than do you treasure that tomato, avocado or squash? Or do you treat it as your entitlement?

    I pasted in the link to a research paper on managing tick populations before. Perhaps many of the posters today should read it? It wasn’t based on tree cores or a ’cause’.

    http://www.ct.gov/caes/lib/caes/documents/publications/bulletins/b1010.pdf

    • Since you quoted me:
      We talk about natural predators of TICKS, not about the puma and men….
      And who are the HUNTERS? To your opinion, not these persons who
      emptied out the woods of edible birds? …… You “have never seen a colorful
      bird in your woods?” Why are they missing? Who cleaned them out?
      They cleaned themselves out? Was it the global warming? Who delivered
      bird game meat to the cities….? Of course not the hunters…. these were
      the cobblers?
      We talk about: — see yourself at <www. breeding
      of "Game birds" like quail, partridge and many colorful birds, which always
      existed in America…. see the pictures….
      Suppose, you are not one of the gun-craze lobby and do really go into
      the woods, than you would know that shotgun shooting of tick&vermin eating
      predators such as quails and other flying smaller birds would, in the
      longe range, multiply the vermins because no animal would eat them…..
      , with the result of vermin infestations of
      the woods…..
      If your poor "insulted woods conservationists (so-called hunters)" really care
      of the woods, why do they not help us again the vermin pest in the woods?
      Of course…. by shooting program….or tell me their vermin program?
      I would love to walk freely over meadows and in the heather as back
      in my youth…..
      Also, by the way. its not the deer, check the ground hog, the wood chuck,
      the mice, forest rats (interesting comment above: not the lizards) they all carry
      the vermins…. who shoots them?
      Why dont we shoot just everything in the woods? …. and the vermins will go
      away? … But as this blog says: Global warming will bring them back? Why shoot?
      JS
      The

  67. GoodBusiness says:
    May 29, 2012 at 9:40 am

    In Texas we have a solution to ticks. It was an invasion of FIRE ANTS – find fire ants and you will not find ticks or fleas.
    _____________________________
    Don’t bet on it. I have fire ants in my fields and ticks in the woods… GRRRrrrrr

  68. CRS, DrPH says:
    May 29, 2012 at 10:21 am

    errata, I meant “dengue fever” in previous post regarding Break Bone Disease, and migration is into UK. Dengue is already rampant in many parts of Latin American and the Caribbean. …
    ____________________________
    The beef sent to the USA comes from areas with “dengue fever” if I recall correctly. Part of the new “open border” no quarantine rules of the WTO.

  69. Duster says:
    May 29, 2012 at 10:56 am

    …. A few years ago a South Carolinan remarked to me that deer were becoming the biggest driving hazard in the state. Within hours after hearing that I saw two deer-related accidents, anecdotal but still…
    ____________________________________
    I call my truck “Deer slayer” she has killed five deer so far.

  70. Joachim Seifert

    P.S. When I was in my 20’s my room-mate and I hunted rabbit every weekend. We did it so that we would have meat on the table. Good thing I knew how to hunt, huh? If you don’t think so, its because of your twisted Marxist world-view is interfering with your ability to think.

  71. Mac the Knife says:
    May 29, 2012 at 12:40 pm
    >>>
    All that nice crop residue from no till also provides real good cover and food for the rodents the ticks over winter on.

  72. Why is everyone assuming that the report of tick range expansion is an accurate portrayal of reality? It can easily be a sampling artifact. As I said before population boundary are very fuzzy, especially so for small organisms that can get dispersed widely. I think this report needs to be taken cum grano salis.

  73. Joachim Seifert says: @ May 29, 2012 at 4:48 pm
    ….
    I moved to NC from Mass. I was SMART ENOUGH to lease my 100+ ac to a hunting club. Why? Because they take good care of my land. No I am not a hunter but I am not an person who learned about wildlife from Disney movies and PEtA either. The first Conservationists were HUNTERS. Now don’t forget that little factoid.

    The other thing that has not been mentioned is DDT. It used to be the county sprayed DDT to control malaria mosquitoes. This probably helped wipe out a large portion of the tick population in the sixties.

    • Dear Gail: How do these HUNTERS took care of your property
      by combating the tick vermins?….lets stick to the tick/vermin issue
      and not talk about about the good old hunters inviting you to
      roast boar at their campfire, playing the guitar and a six-pack…
      JS

  74. DesertYote says:
    May 29, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    Why is everyone assuming that the report of tick range expansion is an accurate portrayal of reality?….
    _____________________
    Because for once it jives with personal experience. The ticks are worse. Of course they get the CAUSE mucked up with CAGW as usual. Sorry I didn’t tally the number of ticks each year in my “tick jar” – I drown them in isopropyl alc. or I could give you the yearly count for the last twenty years.

  75. This would not be such a big deal except for Lyme Disease, which is an absolute shocker and is transmitted by ticks.

    We currently have a big legal dispute on in Australia about someone who has all the markers and symptoms of Lyme Disease, but is being resisted by government authorities who say that it is impossible because we don’t have it in Australia. Given the way things move about with trade in food and commodities, not to mention people, ‘impossible’ seems a bridge too far for me.

    We have plenty of ticks in Australia, but they are mostly only fatal to dogs and cats. A drop of kerosine was the old-fashioned way of killing them before removal with a pair of tweezers, whether on animals or humans. And yep, dense vegetation, especially in wet years, is where they are – here, at any rate.

  76. Researchers and doctors I’ve spoken with have now found live spirochetes of Lyme in fleas, mites, and mosquitoes. And although it was first thought the disease couldn’t be transmitted directly from human to human, the live spirochetes have now also been found in blood, urine, tears, semen, breast milk, cord blood, and vaginal secretions. http://www.samento.com.ec/sciencelib/sarticles/thegreatimpostor.html
    As People and animals spread and get bitten they spread the disease. As people who are infected more to another area they become hosts for the disease and spread it in a new area. It has nothing to do with global warming, it has everything to do with people being more mobile.

    http://www.aldf.com/deerTickEcology.shtml

    http://www.samento.com.ec/sciencelib/sammain.html

    http://www.samento.com.ec/sciencelib/sarticles/thegreatimpostor.html

  77. atheok says:
    May 29, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Joachim Seifert says:
    May 29, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    Colorful birds? Hanging from their belts? I’ve hunted since I was a teenager in several states and I’ve never seen this anywhere, in any state.

    Note that JS lives in SPAIN. Europeans have a long tradition (millennia) of hunting and trapping and eating songbirds. It is almost unheard-of in North America, however, which explains much of the difference in experiences.

  78. Joachim Seifert says:
    May 29, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    There is a huge variety of little singing birds with a sharp peek getting
    the smalles worm and bad crawling creature off the leafs….

    Joachim, in the United States, almost all songbirds are protected by law, the Migratory Bird Act of 1918, with few exceptions, those being non-native species like the House Sparrow, and Eurasian Starling – two introduced species that have been very destructive to native species such as Eastern Bluebirds, and Purple Martins.

    Many songbirds in N. America are leaf gleaners. Some typically feed higher up near the canopy, but others at least occasionally feed down low where the ticks are, for example Ruby- and Golden-crowned Kinglets, some warblers, most wrens, towhees, and many sparrows. I don’t have any evidence these birds eat ticks, but I think it’s likely they do.

    Raptors are protected as well, unless you are a wind-turbine operator. For the rest of us, in most cases, even possession of a wild bird’s feather is illegal.

    And some of man’s activities do impact bird populations, such as building tall structures, especially those with mirrored surfaces, and those that are illuminated at night, keeping pet cats, draining wetlands, and fragmenting forests.

    Whatever the case with birds, deer populations have increased dramatically in many parts of the United States, as many have noted, above.

  79. I’ll bet you could graph the increase in ticks with the increase in the population of white tailed deer. You might even be able to blame Walt Disney, and the animated cartoon “Bambi.”

    If the economy gets really bad, there will be a decrease in the number of ticks.

    Down around the wealthy towns of Princeton and Hopewell , New Jersey, back when I briefly lived there in 1977, there was an amazing over-population of deer, and the primary way deer died was either by being hit by a car, or through starvation due to over-population. However, when humans themselves become hungry, such over-populations of deer magically ceases to be a problem…..and ticks go hungry.

    In this out-of-the-way part of New Hampshire, deer are still less common than the suburbs of New Jersey, because it is a big help, to the budgets of the poor, to hunt them. (To a poor man, a buck represents a hundred-fifty pounds of meat for a dollar, if he borrows the gun and buys the bullet.)

    Around these parts, back in the Great Depression, deer were downright hard to find. Local lore states that, back then, at “Duke’s” small market, a “Jacked Deer,” (A deer hunted out of season,) hung in his meat cooler, and if you were really down-on-your-luck, Duke would sell you a chunk of the illegal venison at a very low price. No one ever turned Duke in, for being compassionately illegal. However the population of ticks likely did suffer, due to the out-of-season hunting of white tailed deer reducing the population of deer, in this microcosm.

    (Also, back then, local farmers had the wits to rotate their livestock from pasture to pasture in a manner that was downright cruel to ticks. Modern suburbanites don’t rotate their hobby-livestock in the same manner.)

    Not that eco-fools have the wits farmers had, back then. At times I think eco-fools care more for “wildlife corridors” than poor people. The poor are “vermin,” while ticks are not vermin. Up is down, when an eco-fool cares more for ticks (or snail darters,) than for their fellow man, and this illogic hates the old-timers like Duke, who would risk arrest to feed the poor.

    Only a person blinded by this peculiar hate towards Duke’s compassion and pragmatism could fail to see the obvious: The population of one species rises and falls due to how much it can eat, and how much it is eaten.

    Humans seldom eat ticks, and therefore the population of ticks rises and falls due to how much ticks can feast upon. Namely deer, (and mammals that eat deer.) Only a blind person, basically a complete idiot, could ignore this obvious reality, and instead blame the increase in tick population on…….what? A whole degree of temperature change? No! Not even that!

    We are talking six-tenths of a degree. No self-respecting tick cares a hoot about that. What ticks care about is blood, hot blood.

    What enviro-nuts care about, (when it is not cash, cool cash,) is hate, hot hate. There is no other way to explain their insanity.

    Do not let yourself get sucked into these silly quibbles about temperatures and ticks.

    The real battle of our times is between eco-nuts who hate the “overpopulation” of poor people, and guys like Duke, who loved the poor.

  80. Caleb says:
    May 29, 2012 at 10:38 pm
    Down around the wealthy towns of Princeton and Hopewell , New Jersey, back when I briefly lived there in 1977, there was an amazing over-population of deer, and the primary way deer died was either by being hit by a car, or through starvation due to over-population.

    That’s still the primary way Bambis die in P&H.

    At times I think eco-fools care more for “wildlife corridors” than poor people.

    In 1997, the local ecofreaks convinced the commander of Fort AP Hill, VA, that spraying the training areas to keep the ticks in check was “hurting the environment,” so the engineers didn’t spray that year. In 1998, you couldn’t walk ten feet through any training area without getting five or six deer ticks on you — a few would always make it through pyrethrin-sprayed clothes to bite, and most of the dead ticks tested hot for Lyme. We found 125 on one ammo handler who’d only spent four hours on the aerial gunnery range, and over half of them were hot.

    In 1999, they resumed spraying. No ticks.

  81. Eric in CO says:
    May 29, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    It is the lack of a natural predator to hunt the deer. I say natural because man can not do natures job with a riffle. Human hunters tend to shoot the large healthy animal that looks good on the wall. Wolf would go after the week. I thought this was basic eath science.

    There are two kinds of hunters: Trophy and meat. The majority of hunters are looking for tasty venison in the freezer. They hunt young healthy animals with tender meat. The trophy hunters are hunting old tough males with large racks for mounting on the wall. Since one only requires one or two heads for such, not many animals are taken for this reason alone.

    In my locale, there is an over population of wolves and coyote. They are very successful, with deer, whenever the snow is deep. Deer get bogged down in deep snow, while wolves run on top. With a mild winter there is plenty of food for deer and the predators can only catch the sick and old. GK

  82. johanna says:
    May 29, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    This would not be such a big deal except for Lyme Disease, which is an absolute shocker and is transmitted by ticks.

    We currently have a big legal dispute on in Australia about someone who has all the markers and symptoms of Lyme Disease, but is being resisted by government authorities who say that it is impossible because we don’t have it in Australia….
    ___________________________
    Believe me when you add international politics it becomes a very big deal. What you are seeing is a result of the World Trade Organization treaty. WTO insists that tagging animals and tracing them is all that is needed to prevent disease, a load of bull dust, but great for the international traders. Governments are going to deny any problems and hope it just goes away because World Trade rules (WTO) will put a big dent in their trade and OIE rules will devastate the economy. This is why the USA cut Mad Cow disease testing to 10% a couple years AFTER finding the first diseased cow in the USA. The USDA KNEW the disease was in the USA because of importation of UK cattle (334) and bone meal for cattle feed (at least 69 tons) so they fought Creekstone farms 100% testing of their beef all the way up the court system.

    (my links are old and maybe stale)

    According to the World Trade Organization:

    “Measures to trace animals…to provide assurances on…safety …have been incorporated into international standards… The Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures…Aims to ensure THAT GOVERNMENTS DO NOT USE QUARANTINE AND FOOD SAFETY REQUIREMENTS as UNJUSTIFIED TRADE BARRIERS… It provides Member countries with a right to implement traceability {NAIS} as an SPS measure.

    http://www.oie.int/eng/publicat/rt/2002/WILSON.PDF or a possible new link

    From International Organization OIE (Office International des Épizooties) we have:

    It is urgent that scientists come forward with alternative methods of disease control that will not only avoid wastage of valuable animal proteins but that will also promote the international trade of animals and animal products by removing technically unjustified trade barriers caused by animal diseases, http://www.oie.int/eng/press/en_040422.htm

    Furthermore, it can help to eliminate unjustified trade barriers, since a sound traceability system provides trading partners with assurances on the safety of the products they import. Traceability techniques can provide additional guarantees as to the origin, type or organoleptic quality of food products.” http://www.oie.int/eng/edito/en_edito_apr08.htm

    The OIE’s preferred method of disease eradication is “STAMPING OUT” or “Depopulation. This is what devastated the UK livestock industry when Foot and Mouth disease cropped up. Instead of vaccination (2 years before export allowed) stamping out was used (3 months before export allowed)
    See: Not the Foot and Mouth Report – Private Eye – warmwell.com for an excellent dissection of the UK fiasco

    What is Depopulation? KILL FIRST, ASK QUESTIONS LATER!

    On page 31 of GAO document 05-214 it talks about depopulation of both diseased and healthy animals, wild and domestic, in 10-km zones around infections. http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-05-214

    …Depopulation (slaughter) and Decontamination procedures.

    http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/004/Y0660E/Y0660E04.htm#app1.3

    Estimate the degree of contamination in the dwelling house and the adjacent area. Detail disposal and/or cleaning to be done in the house to remove all sources of contamination….Detail structures and articles that cannot be effectively decontaminated, such as wooden buildings, floors and cattle yards, roof insulation, doors and linings…..The aim of the clean-up process is to remove all manure, dirt, debris and contaminated articles that cannot be disinfected……All old insulation materials, such as polystyrene, fibreglass and press boards, are removed for burial or burning unless they have sound impervious surfaces which can be effectively decontaminated. All unsound, rotten and underrun wooden fittings, flooring and other structures which cannot be effectively disinfected should be removed for burning or burial…

    http://arkansasanimalproducers.8k.com/about_10.html

    This means ALL homes not just farms are placed under quarantine in that 10K radius BTW.

    It is obvious that traceability does nothing to prevent disease, it only allows blame to be placed after the fact followed by Depopulation. So why is the idea being promoted and where did it come from?

    In the USA it came from a NGO.

    “..early 2002, when the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) organized a national identification task force to provide leadership for the preparation of the initial report, the National Identification Work Plan….The US Animal Identification Plan (USAIP) is needed to maintain the economic viability of American animal agriculture… This is essential to preserve the domestic and international marketability of our nation’s animals and animal products.” http://www.usaip.info. (Sec of Ag Schafer alleges the idea came in 2003, AFTER BSE was found.)

    This is from the 2009 State of Texas TAHC Strategic Plan Report

    …new disease challenges are emerging. Some are domestic diseases that are increasing in significance. Others are foreign diseases that may be imported as result of the exponential increases in international importations of animals and animal products. Our industries and our economy are threatened by diseases and pests that heretofore we only read about in disease text books….. http://www.tahc.state.tx.us/agency/TAHC_Strategic_Plan_2009-2013.pdf

    This whole thing is a huge risk to everyone which is why I bring it up. Unfortunately people like _Jim keep insisting I am some kind of escapee from the nut house despite the evidence.

  83. It is curious that the examples of increased tick population seems limited to the plains states and east. IIRC, over the winter, the east and northeast had a mild winter. The dearth of ticks I have seen here in central western Colorado, zero since 2009, I believe has more to do with lack of water, and lack of warm spring temps. We get a lot of the annual moisture between March and May. Virtually no weather systems, June and July, just a constant 10% chance of a thunder shower. The ticks do not survive on the shrubbery past mid-June when it dries out. The ticks do not have a spring population surge in the Mar-May period if it is too dry or too cold. Last year was wet enough, but frosted into June=no ticks. This year is slightly warmer, but very dry=no ticks. I live in dense scrub oak, juniper, service berry, and choke cherry trees and bushes. After 17 years of 3-4 tics a week, it seems weird they have disappeared here. Neither my dog nor wolf have had any tics either.

  84. “Joachim Seifert says:
    May 29, 2012 at 6:40 pm
    Since you quoted me:”

    Yes, I quoted you. Your rant is illogical and obviously meant to tug hearstrings and frighten rather than convince through logic.

    Your latest rant is amazingly full of twisted logic and incoherent rant. Again, your fear and horror of firearms comes across clear in your hate message towards hunters. Either you failed to read my above post or you failed to follow any links/references I provided. I suggest you stop typing incoherent rant and go back and follow the links I provided along with the others provided by other posters who spent their own precious personal time to help inform the uninformed.

    For the points in question Joachim, you started the diatribe against firearms, hunting and hunters blaming them for all sorts of wildlife problems including ticks. Every rant you stated is either incredibly naive or viciously meant to smear good people.

    Most gamebirds in America are various shades of brown, gray or dark green; quail, grouse, mallards, turkeys, doves… There are two major exceptions, chinese pheasants (introduced and often raised in captivity and released) and the male wood duck. Still, if you asked most hunters they would tell you that all of the game birds and game animals in America are beautiful and I agree.

    When traveling in the woods in America and coming across a pond or lake on public land, one will often see bird houses placed either on trees or posts out over the water. These are paid for by American hunters and are for wood duck nesting. Wood ducks were almost extinct from logging and wetlands draining before they were rescued by providing protection for wetlands and placing nesting boxes in preferred nesting locations.

    All song birds, harriers, hawks, eagles and owls are federally protected in America. Period! Even having possession of their feathers can bring a federal fine/incarceration. As mentioned earlier by another poster, seeming exceptions are the english sparrow and starling. Neither of which birds are songbirds in that they do not sing, ever. Both birds are nuisance critters displacing native songbirds and monopolizing food sources. Very rarely does one get to appreciate true native songbirds in America as these nuisance birds have driven song birds from our population dense areas. I have my suspicions, Joachim, that you did not read to understand my posts above. Otherwise you would have noticed that I mentioned bluebirds and goldfinches living on my property. Only they’re not gamebirds in America.

    Nowhere in America is game allowed to be sold unless it is raised domestically by someone licensed by your community (and federal if it is considered federally managed game) and skilled in animal husbandry. No game animal harvested from the wild is allowed to be sold commercially. Yes, Duke risked a severe fine and imprisonment; but given his practice of feeding the poor, I’ll bet the local DWF officials looked the other way.

    BrianH

    Thanks for the comment. I already knew Joachim was in Spain, but given that he included mentioning a hunter from Massachusetts and directed his misinformed rant against all hunters and hunting, I have tried to point out errors and provide accuracy. Instead Joachim has succeeded being irrational in response to every poster that spent time and effort on his behalf.

    Caleb and Gail; Great posts and links! I appreciate them, even if Joachim doesn’t.

    • This tick post was most interesting and I read all comments
      with great interest…. the post is coming to its end, but I hope that
      Anthony will permit a few more lines of mine (although I believe, I
      already overextended my comment limit…??). This only, because
      one word came up, over and over again: The word RANT, which
      I have never used…
      Step a dog on his tail and he will shout RANT….
      Read the comments above: The hunters go either for the
      “Trophy or for the Meat”….and you disguise them as “Conservationists”!
      And that I AM “ranting”, that the Italians in Rome and Venecia
      put millions of migratory song birds each year on the table?
      …..”Trophy or Meat”…..that is it… and the Hunter – a nature lover?
      Make a simple Hunter’s CHECK: Ask ANY hunter: “Name me 3 butterflies,
      3 beetles, 3 birds which go about on you turf…and 1 with its proper
      Latin name… and you will recognize that all your hunters are the
      …see above name, no need to repeat….
      I can tell you in my case in Spain how the Hunter’s check would end:
      …””3 butterflies…3 what?…Why do you want this for?? [That is
      the answer, because they know nothing…] And paper and pencil
      to write down OUR names to report to town hall??
      They would raise their guns and tell me that they give me 3 minutes
      to get lost, the quicker, the better….Here we have
      ….Our beloved, good old jolly “conservationist-hunters”….
      I I am already to old to be impressed by your “R”
      And I hope that I contributed a conversation piece to all those
      interested in the tick/vermin/hunter’s topic…..
      JS

  85. atheok says:
    May 30, 2012 at 10:14 am

    As mentioned earlier by another poster, seeming exceptions are the english sparrow and starling. Neither of which birds are songbirds in that they do not sing, ever.

    Good post, but you’re wrong on this point. A songbird is, by definition, one of the perching birds.

    Wikipedia:

    A songbird is a bird belonging to the clade Passeri of the perching birds (Passeriformes). Another name that is sometimes seen as scientific or vernacular name is Oscines, from Latin oscen, “a songbird”. This group contains some 4,000 species found all over the world, in which the vocal organ typically is developed in such a way as to produce a diverse and elaborate bird song.
    Songbirds form one of the two major lineages of extant perching birds, the other being the Tyranni which are most diverse in the Neotropics and absent from many parts of the world. These have a simpler syrinx musculature, and while their vocalizations are often just as complex and striking as those of songbirds, they are altogether more mechanical sounding. There is a third perching bird lineage, the Acanthisitti from New Zealand, of which only two species remain alive today.[1]

    Starlings are surprisingly good singers, but their voice is typically weak. The House Sparrow’s vocalizations are primarily a monotonous chirping, but they have other vocalizations too:

    From Wiki:

    Starling:

    Songs are more commonly sung by males, although females also sing

    House Sparrow:

    In the breeding season the male gives this call repetitively, with emphasis and speed but not much rhythm, forming what is described either as a song or an “ecstatic call”, similar to a song.

    All sources, Wikipedia

    • If there is still remains an interest in the jolly conservationist
      global warming BIRD HUNTER issue:
      Please see the hunting spots on YOU TUBE:
      “”CAZA DE CORDONIZ CON FERNANDO”””
      or take “”CORDONICES 2010″””

      My comment: The quails commonly live close to farm animals
      (goats, sheep) and peck around, cleaning off ticks and protein
      vermin
      and living in a FAMILY of about 10 birds ….

      Here in those spots you can clearly see, that these families
      were already killed off, otherwise birds would stay together…
      ….. only the few single individuals trying to
      hide on the far out field edges remain, are then stirred up by dogs
      and even the last bird will by shot, no mercy…… the more shots,
      the greater the fun….Please talk to the HUNTERS afterwards, you will
      see…while
      the ticks infestation spreads more and more and global warming is
      the cause pointed out by the jolly good hunters….
      JS

  86. I think I know where the ticks in NC came from. We had a place on a lake in Kentucky, and lived in NC for 20 years. Our dogscarried billions of ticks from KY to NC every year. It was impossible to walk through the woods of KY without getting home infested with the little buggers.
    The only time any of us got sick from a tick was on a trip to CO. The dog got Rocky Mt. Spotted Fever. Froze him up solid and he couldn’t move, but a dose of antibiotics fixed him right up.

  87. Just speculating but might it be coming from people moving out of California and into North Carolina? ;-)

  88. “Steve P says:
    May 30, 2012 at 11:20 am”

    Well, if you believe they’re songbirds, even by right of birth by wiki, you’re welcome to all of them and their lovely singing. They start when the first tinge of gray heralds the dawn. When you figure out just what notes they’re using in their song, well, keep it to yourself. ;>

    “Joachim Seifert says:
    May 30, 2012 at 12:29 pm
    …while
    the ticks infestation spreads more and more and global warming is
    the cause pointed out by the jolly good hunters….
    JS”

    Ah yes, the definitive, based on science not falsehood, last word on the subject by someone who knows, er that’s definitely not the right word, invents his facts. Got any real proof it’s global warming or is that also in yuptube and wiki?

  89. Joachim Seifert says:
    May 30, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    If there is still remains an interest in the jolly conservationist….
    _______________________________
    Joachim,
    As I said before I lease to a hunt club and have for close to twenty years. I find your view of hunters no where close to reality. I had my window shot up by a hunter as a kid so I have every reason to be skeptical of hunters.

    On my property I have found the tracks of bear, I have red tail hawk, owls, vultures, blue birds, duck, canadian geese, gray heron, cardinals, wood thrush? and many many other birds. I was privileged to see a nesting pair of Bald Eagles not far from my farm. I have a female gray fox who calmly walks past me quite often and more deer than I can count. They graze with my sheep and goats and like my salt licks. I have seen a very dark brown, a black and a pinto not far from the farm (I didn’t know they came in such colors!)

    My hunters are responsible. They hunt from stands so the shot will not travel and do not disturb my livestock. They are a joy to deal with and keep the idiots off my land. Leasing to that hunt club is the best decision we ever made.

    For what it is worth the hunt club and I are discussing fencing in most of my property (85 ac is woodland) because the loose dogs from the newly developed land down the street are running the deer half to death. We want to give the deer a sanctuary where they can get away from the dogs and rest. A fence along my property line will cut off the dog packs access to about 3 sq miles of woodland. The hunt club is willing to pitch in and help build and maintain the fence.

    • Gail: All you write sounds wonderful, no doubt, the responsibe
      hunting clubs belong to the good guys of nature conservation… as
      well as our Theo, the duck hunter…..all those activities do not
      contribute to the spread of pests/plagues in the forest land….
      I do not blame those who do NOT CONTRIBUTE to the spread
      of pests of any wrongdoing….
      Please read further up the comments about pest/tick infestation in
      KY and NC….. this gives one the chills by just thinking of doing
      a walk in the woods….When I was litte (7 -14), I spent almost every
      weekend in the woods, collecting blueberries, chantarelles and
      mushrooms of all types….my favourite pasttime….. I NEVER ever
      saw/heard of ticks, not to mention how to write the word….
      ….. The countryside is overrun now by ticks because all the QUAILS,
      fowls and feasants: all ground scouring “GAME-BIRD”s (please note the
      word GAME! Why GAME? Doesn’t it have something to do with
      Hunting??) are MISSING… seemingly on your great land as well…
      ….. You can do something GOOD: Ask the hunting club to set out
      some fowl and quail families with a water dripping point….and have
      tick eaters on your land (not or only sparsely to be hunted….) and
      this way you contribute to the healthy restoration of a (almost) tick
      free land……
      Cheers JS

  90. atheok says:
    May 30, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Well, if you believe they’re songbirds,

    It’s not a question of belief, It’s standard Avian taxonomy, which is not unique to Wikipedia. Classification as a Songbird is not based on the quality of the song, but on the shape of the vocal organ

    Didn’t you catch my description of the House Sparrow’s song as “monotonous chirping?” Crows don’t really have a very musical song either, but they are Passeriformes, and they are also Oscines, or Songbirds.

    It is legal to trap and destroy House Sparrows, and I think it is a good idea. House Sparrows routinely enter Bluebird nests and kill the nestlings, and adults can be killed too if caught in the nestbox by a male House Sparrow, which is not a true sparrow, but rather a Weaver Finch.

    All humans are capable of singing, but some of us don’t do it very well. The same is no less true of the Songbirds.

  91. Sleepalot says:

    May 31, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Yes, that list is a bit surprising. As a note of interest, populations of the House, or English Sparrow (P. domesticus) have been falling in England in recent decades.

    Because of these large population declines, the house sparrow is now red-listed as a species of high conservation concern.

    http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/h/housesparrow/population_trends_and_conservation.aspx

    Some think that birds-of-prey are responsible. (Original report info in comments.)

    A report claims to show the strongest evidence yet that the birds of prey are to blame for the 65 per cent fall in Britain’s sparrows since the 1970s.
    […]
    The hawks themselves were wiped out over much of Britain in the 1950s because of organochlorine pesticides such as DDT.
    […]
    But since the chemicals were banned in the 1970s, their numbers have quadrupled.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1269580/Soaring-sparrowhawk-population-leads-shock-decline-humble-sparrow.html#ixzz1wT9hMboH

    Back on topic, whether or not songbird populations in the United States have any impact on tick populations is unknown, and I brought it up only to show that it is plausible that they might. The other side of the coin is that ticks commonly feed on birds too.

    The Guinea Fowl mentioned above is not a native to N. America, but it does seem to have gained a reputation as a tick gobbler in barnyards and such. These ground-feeding birds would have little impact on woodland ticks, and that is where most of us would be at greatest risk

    Ticks no doubt benefit from the presence of large herbivores on which to feed, and get the blood meal they need to reproduce. Reduction or elimination of natural predators in the range of the White-tailed Deer in E. N. America, along with land use changes, has led to what must be described as an explosion of their numbers, especially over the last few decades.

    In familiar Midwestern woodlands where I only rarely saw a deer as a youth and young man, there are now small herds. In the same woodlands, populations of Wild Turkeys have increased a lot too.

    Similarly, populations of Canada Geese have increased significantly, as well, and in some locales, these big honkers are present year ’round, having apparently lost the need to migrate because of land use changes, feeding by humans, and other factors.

    Additionally, there are cycles in the populations of various critters, for example the 17 year locust, and the lemming, and other cycles may remain obscure.

    It is beyond dispute that our planet has been warming, generally speaking, since the last retreat of the ice sheets some 10-12,000 years ago. The general warming trend has been interrupted on several occasions by periods of cooler weather, such as the LIA, the most recent of these.

    What will happen next is anyone’s guess, but it is a change to cooler conditions that will present the greater challenge for our species. The Imperial Valley of California is arguably the nation’s hottest region, and it is also our most productive agricultural region as well.

    The Earth is a dynamic environment. The only thing constant is change.

  92. “Steve P says:
    May 30, 2012 at 8:52 pm
    atheok says:
    May 30, 2012 at 6:46 pm
    Well, if you believe they’re songbirds,…”

    My apologies Steve, in spite of my clumsy attempt at humor, I should’ve directly thanked you for your posts as they are very informative and I appreciate them.

    “…The Guinea Fowl mentioned above is not a native to N. America, but it does seem to have gained a reputation as a tick gobbler in barnyards and such. These ground-feeding birds would have little impact on woodland ticks, and that is where most of us would be at greatest risk …”

    Well, yes and no; as you point out they are not native to North America, but I first learned of their tick eating happiness from residents in rural Virginia bordering West Virginia. There I met residents who said the birds were terrific at clearing an area of ticks and almost none of these folks had what we’d consider a lawn. Most of the places where I encountered guineas were wooded and the owners were thrilled with the guinea’s ability to control ticks. At first, I placed little faith in their claims, but over time I had to agree with their love of the guineas, as guard birds and as insect destroyers. I wanted a flock of guineas here where I live, but some of my neighbors may take more convincing than I can invest. I fear that the guinea hen’s tendency to wander would get them quickly killed on our local and much busier roads. Now if only they’d also eat chiggers…

    Oh yeah, I am one of those people who does not have a gift for a musical voice. Not even in the shower. My lame joke was that my preference for application of the word songbird is actually to birds whose songs are enthralling to out ears. Your use of the word songbird strikes me as part of the proper latin family name structure. I’ll stick with my use of the word and not feel ashamed.

    Hitting the online Merriam-Webster dictionary:

    song·bird
    noun \ˈsȯŋ-ˌbərd\
    Definition of SONGBIRD
    1
    a: a bird that utters a succession of musical tones
    b: an oscine bird
    2
    : a female singer

  93. atheok says: @ May 31, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    I fear that the guinea hen’s tendency to wander would get them quickly killed on our local and much busier roads. Now if only they’d also eat chiggers…
    _______________________________________
    Guinea fowl DO control chiggers (personal experience)

    ….The Environmental Department at the Naval Air Engineering Station in Lakehurst, New Jersey, USA, (Navy Lakehurst) has enlisted the aid of guinea fowl to help control ticks and chiggers at the station…..

    http://www.guineafowlinternational.org/news/archive1.php

    Busy roads however are a problem. The word dumb was made to describe guineas.

    • Interesting, the NAVY is ahead of our times….but better
      get a family of Quails, dogs and traffic cannot get them….
      they fly up too fast with thunder noise, one of the family is
      permanently watching…and it is NOT the HUNTERS association
      but the NAVYs recommendation, although the pest is on deers,
      where the hunters SHOULD be concerned with this problem of
      studies/conservation/pest tick protection/elimination, preventing
      pest. proliferation..
      …. they are simply BEHIND… and behindness as always, going
      to the bottom of the matter, always is caused in their heads…
      JS

  94. The Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris ) being bred or imported for the task of munching on ticks is a native African species:

    It breeds in warm, fairly dry and open habitats with scattered shrubs and trees such as savanna or farmland.

    As I thought, it’s not a bird of forests, but rather one of open or mixed woodland. Other guineafowl species are native to African forests and jungles, but not N. meleagris.

    This links to a short paper on a controlled study of Helmeted Guineafowl and ticks:
    http://www.guineafowl.com/fritsfarm/guineas/ticks/tickstudy.pdf

    But here’s the bigger problem I have. Almost every time humans bring a critter from one part of the globe to fix a problem with some other critter from some other part of the globe, that ol’ law of unintended consequences rears its ugly head. Eventually, it turns out that we have created another problem, perhaps bigger than the original.

    Doesn’t it strike anyone as being slightly odd that no native N. American ground-feeding bird ever evolved to feed on ticks? I suggest that some native N. American (perhaps) gallinaceous species may have filled this ecological niche, but these have been removed from the land, or their numbers severely reduced due to land use changes, and/or other factors.

    And now humans want to bring a bird from halfway around the world to combat a problem that may have been created by elimination or severe reduction of native species already evolved to do the job.

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