This story was originally published by the Center for Public Integrity and was co-published with Mother Jones. It is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
Maine’s invasion came early this year. In recent hotbeds of tick activity — from Scarborough to Belfast and Brewer — people say they spotted the eight-legged arachnid before spring. They noticed the ticks — which look like moving poppy seeds — encroaching on roads, beaches, playgrounds, cemeteries, and library floors. They saw them clinging to dogs, birds, and squirrels.
By May, people were finding the ticks crawling on their legs, backs, and necks. Now, in midsummer, daily encounters seem almost impossible to avoid.
Maine is home to 15 tick species but only one public health menace: the blacklegged tick — called the “deer” tick — a carrier of Lyme and other debilitating diseases. For 30 years, an army of deer ticks has advanced from the state’s southwest corner some 350 miles to the Canadian border, infesting towns such as Houlton, Limestone, and Presque Isle.
“It’s horrifying,” says Dora Mills, director of the Center for Excellence in Health... Read more