Ticks and tick borne illnesses are now endemic to all of the lower 48 states of the USA. While the wider public perception of illnesses is more recent, ticks themselves have always been around, and we have been minimizing camper and staff exposure for many years. Indeed, at Maine Teen Camp in summer 2017 we only had 2 ticks found crawling on a member of camp reported to the health center.
We take a two-fold approach to tick management. The first, and hardest part, is maintaining the camp property to reduce the tick population. We do this in a systematic way that involves eliminating habitat (so cutting back of scrub, keeping lawns mowed very low, eliminating weed growth), encouraging natural predators (specifically – chickens and wild birds that eat ticks), minimizing squirrel and chipmunk habitats in areas where campers will frequent, and environmentally appropriate, highly targeted application of tick controlling organic pesticides/biopesticides.