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Published on November 19, 2018

You can’t get Lyme in the winter, and other mythsYou can’t get Lyme in the winter, and other myths

Tick bites are no laughing matter, but a new series of videos combine useful information with a little bit of humor.

“There’s solid science in the videos, but I always try to make science approachable to the lay person,” said Larry Dapsis, Entomologist and Tick Project Coordinator for Cape Cod Cooperative Extension.

In one of the short videos, he praises the opossum, which he describes as the tick world equivalent of Rambo, given that an opossum can kill 5,300 ticks in a week. In another one, he says that typical hosts for the Lone Star tick include “turkey, rabbits, coyotes, and … Sasquatch.”

The series of 10 YouTube videos, each between six and 13 minutes long, was funded by a grant from Cape Cod Healthcare.

“I do outreach events all over the Cape, in classroom workshops and at outdoor events, but that doesn’t always match up with people’s daily schedules,” Dapsis said. “By breaking it up into 10 video segments, people can now access this important information at a time that is convenient for them.

“We packed in every single thing you could possibly want to know and need to know about tick-borne diseases and their prevention.”

Dapsis partnered with Cape Cod Community Media Center in Dennis to produce the videos. He said this is the first comprehensive set of videos anywhere on “tickology.”

“I think we knocked this one out,” he said. “The Media Center staff was always looking forward to working on it because they knew they were going to learn something new.”

The Topics

The Tickology playlist consists of 10 closed-captioned videos:

The Tickology videos have added to Dapsis’s fan club.

“I got a call from a guy who had a follow-up question about one of the videos. He said he watched all 10 videos three times and told me I was a rock star. I thought that was the best feedback one could hope for. Not only was this guy interested, but he really took a deep dive.”

One of the myths Dapsis discusses in the videos is the idea that people don’t need to be mindful of ticks during the winter.

“Tick season started January 1, it ends December 31, and it’s going to start up again January 1,” he said. “It’s a year-round vigil.”

One of the videos focuses on tick testing. You can, as he says, “send a tick to college” by submitting a tick you’re removed to the UMass Laboratory of Medical Zoology. The ticks will be tested for the pathogens that cause Lyme disease and other diseases. Costs for the test are partially subsidized by Cape Cod Healthcare. So far, 2,100 ticks from Cape Cod have been analyzed.

Go to the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension web site for more information about tick safety and tick testing. The Tickology videos can be viewed at http://bit.ly/tickology.

Want to know the best way to remove a tick? Check out this story on Cape Cod Health News.