Move Over Mosquitoes; Deer Ticks Thrive On Changing Climate
April 27, 2010
MINNEAPOLIS - Move over mosquitoes: The deer ticks are soaking up climate change and could become a rival problem for humans in the northern states. According to the National Wildlife Federation, climate change is allowing a host of exotic species to move into the region that will continue to spread disease and destroy resources.
Doug Inkley, a senior scientist with the Federation, says that in the north there are concerns about the increase in transmission of Lyme disease.
"Lyme disease is transmitted by the deer tick and the deer tick is expected to increase its range by some 60 percent, to perhaps as far north as just at the southern edge of Hudson Bay. Currently, it goes only as far north as about the U.S.-Canadian border."
Others on the list of booming pests around the nation are the tiger mosquito, the fire ant and the pine bark beetle. Some say it's all hype intended to scare people, but Inkley says residents should prepare for more itching and pests if action isn't taken to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels.
Inkley says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is closely watching the growth of these species.
"The CDC has expressed concern about the implications of climate change for increased disease. The example that I gave you of dengue fever being potentially transmitted by tiger mosquitoes is only one of many."
Inkley says restoring landscapes and streams, including planting trees and shrubs along banks, can bring jobs as well as help protect the environment by denying habitat to bothersome species.