Maine is home to the largest moose population in the lower 48 states. But in one of the moosiest corners of the state, nearly 90 percent of the calves tracked by biologists last winter didn’t survive their first year.
And the culprit? A tiny critter that is thriving in parts of Maine as the climate warms.
“You look at one data sheet after another of what we found in the woods on these moose and it’s the same profile every time: it is winter tick,” said Lee Kantar, the lead moose biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Winter ticks, which are sometimes called moose ticks, have been pestering Maine moose for about a century and likely longer. But their numbers have exploded in parts of Maine, New Hampshire, Minnesota and southern Canada. It’s not uncommon for biologists or hunters to find moose infested with 40,000, 75,000 or even 90,000 ticks. Some infested moose rub themselves virtually bald trying to scrape off the irritating ticks, creating the phenomenon known as “ghost moose.”
Many adult cows can survive such a massive tick load. Calves are another story, however. (See link for article)
- Winter or moose ticks hunt in packs unlike deer and dog ticks. Another tick that is becoming more of a problem and also forms clusters is the Asian Longhorned tick.
- While the article focuses on shortened winters and longer falls and calls this “climate change,” an independent tick researcher has shown that ticks are virtually impervious to weather conditions. Further, nobody wants to discuss the very real climate engineering our government and nefarious players are doing that is to blame.
- They are studying whether reducing the adult moose populations in the same areas where the calves were collared can improve overall health by lowering tick numbers.
- Research suggests ticks are leading to fewer moose births.
- One moose Kantar did a field necropsy on showed bony hips, patches of missing hair, bone marrow devoid of fat, and white organs suggesting severe anemia caused by the lack of blood due to tick infestation. Even while being dead 4 days, the carcass is covered with ticks. Her unborn calf never would have made it due to being malnourished.
After relocating from Florida last year to start an organic farm in Maine, Elizabeth Jimenez is on a mission to rid her land of ticks.
Part of his tick management plan is getting scorched.
Jimenez, along with Guy Johnson and Adrian Sotropa, are turning the three-acre farm in Friendship into organic parks and orchards. She and a team of volunteers are also starting a Karuna Healing Center on the property. (See link for article)
- Jimenez stated he was surprised from the amount and the aggressiveness of ticks.
- He decided to conduct a series of controlled burns using a propane torch as he wanted to avoid chemicals.
- The manager of The University of Maine’s tick lab states that it was even worse last year.
- Local farmers are talking to fire department officials on how to safely and effectively burn.
- After the burn, Jimenez plans to build a wide buffer of wood chips to discourage them from going back inside. The wood chips are not tick deterrents; however, and really only serve as a visual cue to humans.
- Research shows that burning underbrush in woodland settings to be very effective in reducing tick populations short term. The problem is once vegetation reproduces it creates a perfect tick habitat, requiring ongoing tick management techniques
- Once winter arrives Jimenez plans to keep the field plowed and snow free so the ticks are exposed to the cold which may kill dog ticks but will probably have little to no effect on deer ticks that tend to be in more woodland areas.
- The best way to target ticks is a multidisciplinary approach using multiple methods.