Avoid Logs to Avoid Ticks
Deer mice are the least of your worries...
Reuters Health , April 8, 2004
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Want to avoid ticks? Avoid sitting on logs, experts advised on Thursday.
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, used themselves as bait to see where the greatest risk of picking up a tick was, and found logs were the worst places to sit.
"We sat on logs for only five minutes at a time, and in 30 percent of the cases, it resulted in exposure to ticks," said Robert Lane, a professor of insect biology who led the study.
"It didn't matter if we sat on moss or the bare surface; the ticks were all over the log surface. The next riskiest behavior was gathering wood, followed by sitting against trees, which resulted in tick exposure 23 percent and 17 percent of the time, respectively," Lane said in a statement.
Writing in the Journal of Medical Entomology, Lane and colleagues said they were looking for ticks carrying Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.
"If we're going to develop effective strategies and educational programs for the prevention of Lyme disease, it is critical that we understand how people are exposed to the ticks that transmit the bacteria in the first place," Lane said in a statement.
"We intentionally looked at behaviors that people would typically engage in while spending time in the woods."
Sitting in leaves was not especially risky, they found.
The damper the leaves, the more likely they are to harbor ticks in all their life stages. Ticks retreat down to the ground at night, so laying out to watch the stars or spending the night camping in a clearing isn't going to assure you a tick (or nymph or larval) free night...
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