Elias focuses on factors affecting spread of deer ticks, diseases

May 19th, 2016 1:55 PM

With the arrival of spring, many Mainers head outside to hike, mow lawns, picnic, and garden. But working and playing outdoors can bring people in contact with deer ticks and tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease.

“Maine in 2014 had the highest incidence of Lyme disease of all the states in the country,” says Susan Elias, a doctoral student at the University of Maine Climate Change Institute.

Midcoast Maine and islands were hardest hit, she says, adding, “We’ve got to get this figured out.”

To help do that, Elias is studying deer ticks and their spread across Maine. She uses data sets and software that simultaneously take into account numerous variables and indicate the relative importance of each.

In addition to milder winters and sufficient moisture during summers, other factors that affect the spread of ticks and the diseases they carry include deforestation/reforestation, landscaping practices and deer management.

“If we just have a better understanding of all the factors taken together, I think we could do a better job of helping people control deer ticks and prevent disease,” she says.

That’s good news for Mainers. In the state, deer ticks carry five pathogens known to cause disease in humans, including Lyme disease, says Elias.

Lyme disease is a potentially long-term debilitating condition that can include facial-muscle paralysis, pain and weakness in the arms and legs, headaches, poor memory, rapid heartbeat, fever, chills and fatigue.

Each year since 2011 in Maine, there have been more than 1,000 confirmed cases of Lyme disease. In 2015, 1,171 confirmed and probable cases of Lyme disease were reported and, according to a January 2016 Maine Centers of Disease Control report to the Legislature, ages of people diagnosed ranged from age 1 to 95.

Elias’ modeling results are expected to inform decisions about adaptations and strategies, including whether to invest in tick vaccines, as well as removal of invasive plants and deer management.

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Maine and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the “No Ticks 4 ME” prevention techniques: Using an EPA-approved repellent; wearing protective clothing; doing daily tick checks; and being cautious in tick-infested areas. Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics; the CDC says it’s easiest to treat in the early stages of illness.

People who find ticks on themselves or pets may submit them to University of Maine Cooperative Extension Tick Identification Lab for testing. For more information about Elias, visit extension.umaine.edu/maineclimatenews/researchhighlights.

Maine Vegetable and Fruit School 2016

March 1st, 2016 10:05 AM

Highmoor FarmMaine Vegetable and Fruit School 2016

Tuesday, March 15, 2016
8:30 AM to 4:00 PM
Seasons Event and Conference Center, Portland, Maine

OR

Wednesday, March 16, 2016
8:30 AM to 4:00 PM
Bangor Motor Inn Conference Center, Bangor, Maine

Registration Fee: $45.00, includes lunch

PREREGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. Please preregister by March 4, 2016.

This day-long school is offered for Maine farmers on two dates at two locations: March 15 in Portland or March 16 in Bangor. The agenda and registration form are posted on UMaine Cooperative Extension’s Highmoor Farm website.

Tree Fruit Preseason Meeting – March 23, 2016

March 1st, 2016 10:02 AM

apples on tree

Tree Fruit Preseason Meeting

Wednesday, March 23, 2016
(Snow date: March 24, 2016)
8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
USM Lewiston-Auburn College, Room 170
51 Westminster Street, Lewiston, Maine 04240

Preregistration is not required.
Registration fee: $15 per person for Maine State Pomological Society members, and $20 per person for nonmembers.

Everyone is welcome to attend. This meeting will provide pest and horticultural management updates for commercial, hobbyist, large and small-scale, Integrated Pest Management and organic orchardists. Four pesticide applicator recertification credits will be offered for attending the regular meeting from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Please visit the UMaine Cooperative Extension Tree Fruit website for more information.

Raspberry School – January 14, 2016

December 4th, 2015 8:43 AM

Joan J raspberriesRaspberry School 2016

Thursday, January 14, 2016
10:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Arnold/Howard Rooms, Augusta Civic Center, Augusta, Maine
Registration Fee: $15.00

PREREGISTRATION IS STRONGLY ENCOURAGED. Please preregister by January 8, 2016.

The Raspberry School will be offered for those who are interested in growing raspberries as a commercial crop. The agenda and registration information are posted on UMaine Cooperative Extension’s Highmoor Farm website.

New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference – December 15-17, 2015

December 1st, 2015 11:17 AM

New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference and Trade Show
Tuesday through Thursday, December 15-17, 2015
Radisson Hotel in Manchester, New Hampshire

The New England Vegetable and Fruit (NEVF) Conference will include more than 25 educational sessions over 3 days, covering major vegetable, berry and tree fruit crops as well as various special topics. A Farmer to Farmer meeting after each morning and afternoon session will bring speakers and farmers together for informal, in-depth discussion on certain issues. There is also an extensive Trade Show with over 100 exhibitors.

The conference is put together with close collaboration between growers and Cooperative Extension from across the region. This is a great opportunity to meet with fellow growers, advisors, researchers, and industry representatives.

For more information and to register, please visit the NEVF Conference website, www.newenglandvfc.org.

Spotted Wing Drosophila Update: 10/23/2015

October 27th, 2015 11:17 AM
Male Spotted Wing Drosophila

Male Spotted Wing Drosophila, photo by Griffin Dill

“Spotted wing drosophila populations have not shown any dramatic shifts in the past two weeks.”

Please visit the Highmoor Farm website for the Spotted Wing Drosophila Update for October 23, 2015, where you can subscribe to blog updates.

Spotted Wing Drosophila Update: 10/13/2015

October 14th, 2015 1:42 PM
Male Spotted Wing Drosophila

Male Spotted Wing Drosophila, photo by Griffin Dill

“Spotted wing drosophila populations are building up in some southern and coastal locations.”

Please visit the Highmoor Farm website for the Spotted Wing Drosophila Update for October 13, 2015, where you can subscribe to blog updates.

 

Spotted Wing Drosophila Update: 10/5/2015

October 5th, 2015 12:43 PM
Male Spotted Wing Drosophila

Male Spotted Wing Drosophila, photo by Griffin Dill

“Spotted wing drosophila populations continue to hold at high enough levels to be of concern in any fields still harvesting fruit.”

Please visit the Highmoor Farm website for the Spotted Wing Drosophila Update for October 5, 2015, where you can subscribe to blog updates.

Spotted Wing Drosophila Update: 9/22/2015

September 22nd, 2015 11:17 AM
Male Spotted Wing Drosophila

Male Spotted Wing Drosophila, photo by Griffin Dill

“There has not been a significant increase in spotted wing drosophila populations at most trapping sites this week, and in some locations captures were lower than last week.” “As the temperatures cool down and more rain moves into the state, it is likely that populations will increase.”

Please visit the Highmoor Farm website for the Spotted Wing Drosophila Update for September 22, 2015, where you can subscribe to blog updates.

Spotted Wing Drosophila Update: 9/11/2015

September 14th, 2015 2:44 PM
Male Spotted Wing Drosophila

Male Spotted Wing Drosophila, photo by Griffin Dill

“Spotted wing drosophila trap captures have been increasing in most locations over the past two weeks.”

Please visit the Highmoor Farm website for the Spotted Wing Drosophila Update for September 11, 2015, where you can subscribe to blog updates.