Featured Story
11/16/17 5:59am
11/16/2017 5:59 AM

The East Marion Community Association will host an informational meeting on “Treacherous Ticks, Deer and Disease” this Saturday at the East Marion firehouse.

This is the third forum the group has hosted on this particular issue, EMCA president Anne Murray said, noting that the first was held in 2014.

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Featured Story
07/14/17 6:00am
07/14/2017 6:00 AM

Summer on the North Fork comes with warnings about ticks and concerns about the illnesses they can transmit, such as Lyme disease. But lately other lesser-known tick-borne ailments are grabbing the attention of East End locals, who reach out to experts because they are concerned the situation is worsening.

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Featured Story
05/08/16 6:00am
05/08/2016 6:00 AM

Last summer, a homeowner in the Nassau Point section of Cutchogue did everything he could to protect himself from contracting a tick-borne illness. He sprayed his lawn with repellent three times and cleared his property of the brush and leaves so attractive to the bloodsucking arachnids.  READ

04/26/15 10:00am
04/26/2015 10:00 AM

As a young scientist, I trained as a post-doctoral fellow with the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Long before Babesia became part of our local lexicon, I was searching for this and other causes of zoonotic diseases (i.e., those transmissible from animals to man) in the jungles and rural areas of Colombia. I therefore have a particular appreciation for the dangers posed by the current prevalence of ticks and tick-borne diseases on Long Island.  (more…)

04/20/15 8:00am
04/20/2015 8:00 AM

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A rare and potentially fatal tick-borne illness is becoming increasingly prevalent throughout the Northeast, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Cases of the Neuroinvasive Powassan Virus, or POW, are few and far between but are often serious and becoming more common — both in terms of diagnosis and notoriety. Earlier this month Powassan, which can cause brain inflammation, caused a stir in Connecticut when state officials there announced the disease is starting to show up in more deer ticks in Bridgeport and Branford.

The story has since received national news coverage. (more…)

08/09/14 2:00pm
08/09/2014 2:00 PM

As has now been obvious for too long, we have a serious problem with tick-borne diseases on eastern Long Island. These can be challenging to diagnose and treat and sometimes progress to debilitating chronic or even fatal illnesses. More effective methods to control our excessive tick populations and prevent human infections are sorely needed.  (more…)

06/20/14 12:00pm
06/20/2014 12:00 PM
An adult deer tick, which are known to carry pathogens causing Lyme disease, babesiosis or anaplasmosis. (Credit: Daniel Gilrein Courtesy Photo)

An adult deer tick, which are known to carry pathogens causing Lyme disease, babesiosis or anaplasmosis. (Credit: Daniel Gilrein Courtesy Photo)

New data outlining the extent of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases in New York State was released Thursday by a state Senate group that also came up with an action plan for combating the spread of such diseases.

Known as the Senate Majority Coalition Task Force on Lyme and Tick Borne Diseases, the task force was organized in October amid rising concerns regarding the spread of such diseases statewide.

(more…)

02/24/14 7:00am
02/24/2014 7:00 AM
Engorged ticks. (Courtesy photo from the University of Nebraska)

Engorged ticks. (Courtesy photo from the University of Nebraska)

Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman is sponsoring a bill to create a tick control advisory committee.

The legislation is expected to be discussed at the county Legislature’s Public Works & Public Transportation Committee meeting at 2 p.m. in Hauppauge.

(more…)

11/25/13 10:00am
11/25/2013 10:00 AM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Southold Supervisor Scott Russell addresses the crowd at Saturday's deer management meeting in Orient.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Southold Supervisor Scott Russell addresses the crowd at Saturday’s deer management meeting in Orient.

A sharpshooting program is in the works to cull the North Fork’s rising deer population, town officials and volunteers said at a deer management forum in Orient Saturday morning.

Don Stewart with the North Fork Deer Management Alliance volunteer group said he is hopeful the program — which uses teams of skilled marksmen to eliminate dozens of deer at a time — will begin next month.

The sharp shooter program is run through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services department, and will be paid for in part by a $200,000 grant secured by the Long Island Farm Bureau. The five East End Towns will have an opportunity to pay their own funds into the program, Mr. Stewart said.

About 50 people attended the forum held at Poquatuck Hall in Orient, the second Town meeting on deer control this fall after more than 200 people crowded into a forum in Peconic in September.

By aggressively cutting down the deer population, Mr. Stewart said, the North Fork will see less environmental damage from deer grazing, fewer tick-borne illnesses and will reduce deer-related car accidents.

While hunting by locals is a valuable part of deer management, it would not cause the “radical reduction” necessary on its own to bring the deer to manageable levels, Mr. Stewart said.

Other so-called humane approaches, like sterilization or contraception techniques, are more complex than they seem and would not do enough to limit the deer population, he added.

“At best its only going to keep an unacceptably high level of deer from expanding further,” Mr. Stewart said. “You’re not going to bring these levels down to where you need it.”

Having sharpshooters pick off dozens of deer seems cruel, he said, but it’s better than having hunters who might miss their shots do the bulk of the culling.

“You [won’t] have animals that are wounded walking around the countryside,” he said.

The Town of Southold has taken steps to make it easier for hunters to tag deer, like waiving fees on carcasses and opening up town land to hunters. But town officials said private land owners need to open up their properties to hunters. Otherwise the deer will simply move to safer areas and continue to reproduce.

Supervisor Scott Russell had said state regulations on hunting have limited the town’s efforts so far. Hunters are not allowed to hunt within 500 feet of structures, including sheds.

Mr. Russell said the law is designed for rural areas like upstate New York, but doesn’t account for the denser population on the North Fork.

Speaker Sherry Thomas said the deer population will reach catastrophic levels soon if proactive steps are not taken. While deer management officials say there should be no more than 15 deer per square mile, the North Fork has about 65 per square mile, she said.

If nothing is done to stop the deer population explosion, there could be an estimated 400 deer per square mile in the next 10 years, Ms. Thomas said.

“It’s only going to go from unsustainable to disastrous,” she said.

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