Lawn mowing frequency in suburban areas has no detectable effect on Borrelia spp. vector Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae)
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Forests have become increasingly fragmented throughout the US, with residential development serving as the primary driver of these changes. These altered landscapes have provided suitable conditions for a broad range of wildlife, including blacklegged ticks and their hosts. Lawns dominate residential landscapes, and thus their management has the potential to reduce the likelihood of contact with ticks in residential yards. We tested the hypothesis that lawn mowing frequency influences tick occurrence in 16 suburban yards in Springfield, MA. We conducted 144 tick drags in lawns of various lawn mowing frequencies (mowed every week, every 2-weeks and every 3-weeks) and did not collect any ticks of any species. Promoting frequent mowing (i.e., shorter lawns) and the removal of grass clippings could have minimal impacts on tick microhabitats, but is consequential for beneficial wildlife and other ecosystem services associated with urban biodiversity.
KeywordsGrasses; Ticks; Drag; Forests; Habitats; Biodiversity; Wildlife; Lyme disease
Lerman, Susannah B.; D’Amico, Vincent. 2019. Lawn mowing frequency in suburban areas has no detectable effect on Borrelia spp. vector Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae). PLOS ONE. 14(4): e0214615-. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0214615.