Swan’s Island off Mount Desert recently tried to reduce it’s tick population by burning a bunch of fields.
In an earlier column, I reported on the special deer hunt set up by DIFW to reduce the island’s deer population. Hunters had to sit in stands, and only shot two deer.
So I was very interested to learn about the islanders latest effort, reported by Jennifer Helman in the Island Institute’s Working Waterfront newsletter.
Jennifer notes that burning fields is a long-standing way to stimulate growth and improve the health of the soil. I can remember burning the field behind our house in Winthrop when I was a kid.
Islanders gathered for 3 nights to burn fields, specifically to rid them of ticks. Propane torches were used to start fires in a planned pattern, and people stood by to keep fires from spreading in the wrong direction.
Jennifer reported that ticks may be resilient, but so are islanders, and these controlled burns are just one way to adapt to this new threat.
It will be interesting to see just how effective this was in reducing ticks and Lyme disease on the island. If it is successful, I expect many towns will be out burning fields in the future.
I suggested that, if they want to reduce the deer population, that they let hunters, during the deer hunting seasons, shoot more than one deer.
Linda and I love Swan’s Island and wrote several travel columns about this wonderful place. I also did two book talks at their impressive library.
So I wish them much luck in reducing the tick population and cases of Lyme disease. Burn away those ticks!