The Tick Activity Project at the University of Liverpool is working with the Medical Entomology & Zoonoses Ecology group at PHE Porton to assess the seasonal activity of the sheep tick, Ixodes ricinus, across England and Wales. The aim is to record climate and weather variables at the same time to analyse the effect on tick questing behaviour and therefore the risk to the public. Full details are on the project website.
Although screening for pathogens is not part of this particular PhD project, the ticks will be stored to enable screening. The team at Porton have the intention of applying for additional funding for this when there is a better idea of the numbers of ticks collected.
Volunteer tick collectors needed: the more ticks the better!
Liz McGinley, the PhD student running the project, is now ready to recruit volunteers who are willing to conduct a fortnightly (or weekly if you have time) field survey of ticks at a designated site local to them between late February and late November. Equipment and training will be provided and volunteers will be able to see their data, and data from other sites, building up on the dedicated project website which also holds full details of the background to the project.
Contact Liz via the project website and she will send a participation form for you to complete, and answer any questions you have. It is hoped to start some surveys this month (February) so if you are at all interested, contact Liz as soon as possible.