Sunday, July 11, 2010

To Catch Cape Cod Ticks: Try Dry Ice

A couple days ago passengers on a whale watching boat off Provincetown got to see a great white shark swimming in the ocean off Cape Cod. This event triggered a conversation around the dinner table yesterday. My daughter and her husband were visiting. We were talking about predators of people. The conclusion was there are not many out here on the Outer Cape. My daughter suggested mosquitoes. It's true. The mosquitoes are ferocious this year and bigger than usual. Then I chimed in, "Ticks!" I definitely feel as if deer ticks are predators, and I am their prey. Having caught Lyme Disease four years ago from a tick bite, I warn all guests about ticks and advise on bug spray, organic if possible and DEET-free, since such alternatives do exist. My daughter and her husband built me a tick trap with dry ice. They brought the bait from Boston, as well as sticky tape. I provided an old styrofoam cooler from the dump, and a board. The theory is that any ticks out there will pick up the odor and make a beeline for the trap, getting stuck on the tape, which is applied all around the spot where the cooler is to be placed. We left the trap out overnight and caught .... one fly and two water bugs. Not a tick in sight. I guess the ticks are overwhelmed by the heat, just like the rest of us.

Ticks travel on deer, mice, and birds. There was a mini-conference on Lyme Disease this weekend on Nantucket. Do you worry about deer ticks? How do you avoid getting bitten? Have you ever had Lyme? Do you think the deer population should be controlled?