Central New York, Community, Environment, Government, Health, Syracuse

Tick Drags Can Help Syracuse Understand Deer Population

Some Syracuse neighborhoods are participating in a tick drag which counts the number of ticks in certain backyards. (c) 2017 Mary Peters

By Mary Peters SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – In one neighborhood, residents have come together to do something about the amount of deer.

“They’re just crazy.  They’re over running everything.  It’s just not right,” said Kuni Riccardi, a Syracuse resident.

She thinks that something needs to be done to fix the problem.

“We have been concerned a lot in this neighborhood about deer because they are so destructive and many of us have gotten Lyme disease or tick bites that are annoying,” Riccardi said.

Ticks carry Lyme disease.  One way they travel from one neighborhood to another is on a deer.  Neighborhoods with high populations of deer have seen more Lyme disease cases.  Residents say that they feel decreasing the deer population could help lower the Lyme disease cases.  One way to prove that the deer population is an issue is a tick drag.

A tick drag is when ticks are counted in multiple yards in one neighborhood.  A white corduroy or flannel sheet is dragged across a path where deer have been before.  After dragging the sheet, the amount of ticks on the sheet are counted.

“In this neighborhood the ticks have been coming in at about 47 percent infected with Lyme disease and that is about the average infectious rate for the county,” said Kristina Ferrare, a research educator at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County.

The results from a tick drag come back about six months later.

This is the flannel sheet that is used to collect the ticks. (c) 2017 Peters