Don’t get ticked off in Prospect

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By STEVE BIGHAM

PROSPECT — Got ticks?

CT Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven is seeking homeowners in Cheshire, Prospect and Wolcott to take part in a two-year study that seeks to establish a more ecologically friendly approach to controlling ticks and Lyme disease.

Those taking part will have their yards sprayed, at no charge, with a new synthetic pesticide or a natural tick repellent that kills ticks but spares other insects, such as pollinators.

Experiment Station scientist Megan Linske said the federally funded study also is looking at the impact of seasonal spraying. As a result, some homes will be sprayed in the spring while others will be sprayed during the fall.

“We’re hoping that with spraying in the fall and showing its success, people will be more apt to spray in that timeline instead and reduce the negative impact that may be happening to other nontarget species.” Linske said.

Nationally, there are 450,000 reported cases of Lyme disease each year, and Connecticut ranks as having the 10th highest number of cases in the country. In fact, the disease is actually named after one of its own towns.

“It’s only getting worse, so projects like these are really instrumental in reducing the presence of those diseases,” Linske said, noting most people are bitten by ticks in their own backyards.

The grant for the program is made possible by the Centers for Disease Control.

“The intent is to create research that’s directly applicable to both homeowners and pesticide applicators,” Linske said.

“The idea is that by testing this, we can relay that information back to the professionals so they can know what the best approach is to pesticide applications.”