On a warm spring day, disease ecologist Daniel Salkeld is hiking the hills of coastal scrub and chaparral of Marin County, north of San Francisco. It’s his favorite spot to collect ticks.
As he walks, he trails a white flannel blanket attached to a pole, and every 20 meters, he stops, scrutinizes the flannel and picks off any ticks that have latched on. Ticks are passive predators of blood — they wait for an unsuspecting mouse, deer or person to brush past the blade of grass they are clinging to. And luckily for the scientists who track them, they are easily fooled by wool fabric.
Salkeld tallies his haul as he walks and carefully places the ticks in vials for further examination back in his laboratory at Colorado State University. He is curious to know what areas in California are high risk or low risk for tick-borne diseases. Even when his tick count for the day is zero, “that’s a useful insight,” he says.
Read more at: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/why-lyme-and-other-tick-borne-diseases-are-on-the-rise