Hunting ticks: The prey is tiny, and the prey is human

Also on the rise, though still extremely rareis scary Powassan Virusmay cause encephalitis, meningitis and other serious conditions; no vaccine or treatment, about 10 percent of patients people with symptoms of death. In April, a Maine resident died of Powassan, one of the few such deaths nationwide in the past decade; Connecticut also reported recently death of a woman in her 90s who was hospitalized in early May with “fever, altered mental status, headache, chills, malaise, chest pain and nausea” and died about two weeks later.

All of that has made the work of tick hunters like Mr Leydet all the more urgent, with teams of state officials, scientists and volunteers heading to the sites where ticks breed. boiling: grasslands and tall grass, forest edges and trails, and even some areas of the suburbs.

They’re not hard to find: Mr Leydet says he can find dozens in an hour of sweeping near his home and work, ranging from tiny larvae to pea-sized adults.

“They’re literally crawling in people’s backyards,” said Mr Leydet, noting that once ticks appear in an area, they’re “nearly impossible to get rid of”.

Sunny, dry days are best for hunting; The lack of wind is also a plus. Mr. Leydet’s process – known as “pull and flag” – is the same as that of many of his colleagues: pulling his white flag behind his back, crossing mile after mile in tick-infested territory, although he says he has his favorite spots, which he calls “bile holes”, where he knows ticks can be found.

“It’s a strange hobby,” he said.

On a recent hunting trip, Mr. Leydet selected a dense forest in the suburbs of Fayetteville, NY, east of Syracuse, to search and photograph using two plastic jars, one for each shot. sexual relations. (Females and males must be kept separate to avoid mating and death by mating, as males often die after such frolicking.)

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