links: mice, more than deer, a lyme threat?; epa turns back on bees; the 7,000th amphibian

I ATTRACT MY SHARE OF TICKS, but with fastidious body checks, I’ve managed to stay safe from Lyme disease, and now I’m crediting my obsession with eliminating mice as a key factor, too.  A new book says there’s an ecological connection–even more than with deer. Also in nature headlines that caught my eye: the EPA’s bad decision not to ban a pesticide lethal to our struggling bee population, and another amphibian–Number 7,000–has been officially named on the planet. Some ribbiting recent links:

Lyme Revelations

A LEADING EXPERT ON LYME disease ecology sets the record straight in this short but relevation-loaded podcast, explaining how mice even more than deer are major players in the chain of transmission. Don’t miss this one, from a scientist at the Institute from Ecosystems Studies in nearby Millbrook, New York.

EPA Fails to Ban Bee-Killing Pesticide

THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY declined a petition to ban clothianidin, a synthetic nicotine that is acutely lethal to bees, despite sharp declines in bee populations (and a recent ruling in France to ban a similar chemical).

Welcome to Amphibian Number 7,000

IN PERU, the discovery of Centrolene sabini (a kind of glass frog) marked 7,000 known amphibian species on the planet, where most of the news about these creatures is more that of decline [2023 update: the number is now more than 8,600].  And if you’re as excited as I am, sing along with this song that was recorded for the big event.


  1. Mary Jo Carlsen says:

    Hey, take a look at http://www.ticktubes.com/. The time to put the Damminix Tick Tubes out in your gardens is in July and August, when mice are building their winter nests. After research, I ordered these tubes of pyrethrin-soaked cotton balls online. Then I found out that my local vet actually stocks the product. Yours may, too! Hm-m-m … wonder if anyone is doing this as a do-it-yourself project?

  2. Linda B Horn says:

    My experience with ticks also is about the abundance of debris, woodpiles and piles of leaves left to rot. The nasty invasive roses, Japanese barbary all provide cover for mice that predators can’ t get to. Most of all we have suppressed burning. I never get a tick in my native meadow, that is periodically burned after fuel buildup.

  3. Kassie Schwan says:

    Even though I am very careful, I’ve had Lyme at least twice, possibly a third time [undiagnosed]. I look like a super dweeb when I go out to the garden, all dressed in white, long sleeves, socks tucked into pants, etc, but one or two usually find me every year. I carry a roll of cheap cellophane tape in my garden basket. When I spot a tick on my clothing, I press a piece of tape onto it and seal it up and crush, never touching it. Before guests come, or when I know exactly where I’ll be gardening, I also rigged up a bamboo garden stake with a length of white flannel stapled to it, and pull it along the lawn/garden like a child’s pull toy, and can see instantly if there are ticks about. I peel the minute I come in, throw the clothes into the washer, then dash into the shower at the end of the day. And I ordered one of those tick twisters you wrote about a while ago. I’ve contemplated home-making toilet paper tubes with pyrethrin-laced cotton balls for the yard, but haven’t done it yet. My husband can’t believe I still love gardening, but I do, I do, I do!

  4. LINDA L SMITH says:

    Two years ago after being in the hospital for a week with a temp of 105 degrees I
    was finally diagnosed with Anaplasmosis a tick-borne illness. I remember cleaning up the garden from the usual wet rotted leaves and garden debris and pulling off a tiny black tick that had lodge itself under my breast. Late night host David Letterman was diagnosed with this in 2009. I did not have the red ring or any of the symptoms associated with Lyme disease. So like Kassie’s above..I could be her dweeb twin.. Margaret..all should take your advise to heart! My passion for gardening was almost destroyed by these nasty creatures. I now clean my gardens in late fall.

    1. margaret says:

      Thanks, Linda, for sharing your story. We can’t be vigilant enough, and as you say, they are so many tick-borne illnesses, not just Lyme.

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