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Research: Tick tubes not necessarily effective at reducing ticks and preventing Lyme Disease

SYRACUSE (WSYR-TV) - Tick tubes should not be considered a fool-proof way to protect a backyard from ticks and Lyme Disease, according to research done over the past 30 years.

The warning comes as tick tubes are gaining popularity.

Last weekend, the Westcott Community Center gave away hundreds before running out.

Dr. Brian Leydet, an epidemiology & disease ecology expert at SUNY ESF, says: "The theory is sound, but the studies that have been done do not support their efficacy."

By design tick tubes are intended to be placed in a yard, and mice are supposed to take the insecticide-laced-cotton from it, back to their nests to kill the disease-carrying ticks.

Leydet says the focus on mice is one of the reasons studies have shown tick populations are not overwhelmingly reduced by tick tubes.

Professor Leydet says, "We talk about the deer. We talk about the mice. They get the main attention. But you have chipmunks. You have shrews, voles, birds that host these ticks that carry the disease."

While tick tubes are easy to make yourself or buy onlinethe bait box, which Dr. Leydet prefers is harder to get.

Bryon Backenson, the deputy director of Communicable Disease Control at the New York State Department of Health says: "Any steps, like a tick tube, for example, can help but it's never going to eliminate the risk and what's important about all this is - it still takes one tick bite. You may be able to reduce the number of ticks in your yard from 100 down to 5, but you still only need one."

Backeonson reminds people of the well-publicized prevention advice to avoid Lyme Disease, including checking your body for ticks after spending time outside, wearing bug repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants.

Leydet also reminds people to keeping yards well-cut, tidy and dry.


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