Fight Lyme Disease with Opossums◀ Back To Blog
March 23, 2015
They come out at night.
They have scary teeth.
They have a weird name with an extra vowel most people don't pronounce.
And they are where Lyme disease goes to die.
With the weather warming that means being aware of the threat of Lyme disease. The tiny adolescent ticks that carry Lyme disease bacteria are most active during the late spring months, typically May and even as early as April during warmer years.
But whereas these ticks can be found in large numbers on mice, shrews and chipmunks, they are eaten in large numbers by opossum. Research led by scientists based at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook placed different species into cages, covered them with ticks and waited for the biting arachnids to jump off.
The scientists discovered, opossums can eat or remove as much as 96 percent of the ticks that land on them. Research also suggests the immune system of opossums is fairly effective at fighting off the disease. Ticks that do survive a visit to an opossum are less likely to acquire the disease.
There are so many complex interactions that govern Lyme Disease prevalence — from human land-use development, to shifting climate patterns, to the abundance (or lack) of certain mammals. And that doesn't even address how the disease behaves once it is in the body.
One thing is certain, however. Opossums are your friend and mine in the fight against Lyme. With simple precautions you can potentially avoid encounters with these biting insects. Thomas Pest Services, your Saratoga pest control experts can help reduce you and your families’ risk against ticks.