I found four dog ticks crawling up my legs yesterday. This was a first for me within the bounds of the city. I was at Four Sparrow Marsh on the edge of Brooklyn. (My companion, on the other ankle, found none; maybe because of her wellies or her press pass.)

As you can tell from these posts, I find animals fascinating. Slugs to seals. The creepy-crawlies included. While I could very much do without mosquitos, which bite the hell out of me, they don’t freak me out. But ticks really give me the heebie-jeebies. They’re are such excellent vectors, for viruses (Colorado tick fever, etc.), bacteria (Lyme, etc.), and protozoa (babesiosis, etc.). And unlike mosquitos, who quickly harpoon in for some blood, ticks burrow in and suck until they look like they are about to burst. Gross. My mother had Lyme Disease and I’ve pulled more than few blood-bloated ones out of pet dogs and myself; Nantucket, where I graduated from high school, is Tick Central, although the local Chamber of Commerce would rather you didn’t think about that.

As it develops, three species of ticks are known to be in the city.

6 Responses to “Tick”

  1. 1 Nate April 28, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Why are there no ticks reported in city parks? Not that I’m complaining.

    Side note: My father used to use stuff called diazinon to control them on his farm in Missouri. The stuff was banned years ago and he stopped. Unsurprisingly, it kills birds, fish and bees too. He now has a bunch of chickens employed to do the job and he says they do it pretty well.

    • 2 mthew April 28, 2011 at 1:04 pm

      I don’t think there any, or many, in city parks. Staten Island sounds like it might be prime, but in limited trips there haven’t found any. But the wilder edges like Four Sparrow Marsh seem to another matter entirely. One would expect them to migrate into the parks, though, wouldn’t one? You’re the second person to mention chickens as a defense today. Let’s hear it for the descendants of the jungle fowl!

  2. 4 Nate April 28, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    I’ve been really curious about lyme disease and why there seems to be such a high incidence of it. I know lots of people who’ve gotten it.

    possibly trustworthy info:
    “Deer supply the tick that transmits the bacterium with a place to mate and provides a blood meal for the female tick prior to production of eggs. Research shows that reducing the deer population in an affected area to a level of 8 – 12 deer per square mile virtually eliminates ticks and Lyme Disease in humans.”


    So it would seem that the deer population is unnaturally high especially around the fringes of suburbia. Deer feed ticks and their population increases along with cases of lyme disease. So we’ve done this to ourselves.

    But this is still controversial

    • 5 mthew April 28, 2011 at 4:56 pm

      Nantucket is a good example of place with a high number of deer and a hence a lot of Lyme-vectoring deer ticks (which are much smaller than the dog tick pictured) occur. I also wonder about the warmer weather, allowing more of them to survive winter. Apropos the radical changes going on around us: there’s already evidence that increased carbon dioxide makes poison ivy grow faster and more potently.

  3. 6 Marielle June 23, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    There are a multitude of deer, deer ticks, white-footed mice (tick vector) and Lyme disease in Staten Island. I know this from first hand experience, and have colleagues who have gotten Lyme on Staten Island. Deer swim over from Jersey.

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