If you missed the Acorn Story about the coming spike in Lyme disease cases in the New York Times last fall, here’s the sequel. Blame acorns and mice for what’s coming down, said Richard Ostfeld, a scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, NY. In an almost biblical succession, a bumper crop of acorns in 2010 begat a number of white-footed mice in 2011, which in turn begat tons of infected ticks that now are lying underfoot waiting to emerge in late spring. Last week, Dr. Ostfeld presented his findings at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Atlanta describing the situation as “a ticking time-bomb."
Accentuating the “acorn spike” this winter’s mild weather has encouraged ticks to be active earlier than usual. So this year more than most, we all have reason to be extra-vigilant in the back yard as well as in the woods. Remember, most cases of Lyme disease are contracted on our home properties.
Ticks: what to look for: http://www.timeforlyme.org/prevention-deer-ticks.html