Is that a tick, a chigger or a tiny spider?
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County is working on creating a handy smartphone app to help East Enders get an answer to that question and many others with the touch of a button. (Spoiler alert: There are no chiggers on Long Island.)
Funded by a New York State Integrated Pest Management Program grant, the app will help users to identify ticks commonly found in the area.
Marie Boulier, an extension educator at Cornell said the app — which will be available as a free download by November — will show images of Long Island’s three most abundant ticks -— the dog tick, the deer tick and the Lone star tick — during all their life stages.
Known as “Tick Click,” the app enables users to see photos of the ticks with information about the disease pathogens they could be carrying and offers helpful hints for safe removal, information on repellents and links to informational websites, Boulier said.
“The one that seems to have taken over is the Lone star tick,” she said. “It is even out in the sun, you don’t usually think you’re going to find ticks out in the sun.”
Ms. Boulier said Cornell received the $8,000 grant in May. The research center is using a portion of the grant to help fund ongoing educational workshops that relate to both tick and mosquito safety.
The hour-long workshops address long-held myths about the vectors for disease and aims to set the record straight on “chiggers,” which Ms. Boulier said do not actually exist on Long Island.
The tiny, itchy bites some have been unlucky enough to endure are actually that of Lone star tick larvae, Ms. Boulier said.
“There’s a misconception and were finding that even those in the medical community are telling patients otherwise,” she said.
She said the workshops also touch on different options of repellent, since not all repellents fend off both ticks and mosquitoes.
“It is valuable if you’re out there shopping for a product to know what active ingredients to look for,” she said.
Two workshops have been scheduled: Thursday, September. 11, at 7 p.m. at the Riverhead Cornell building at 423 Griffing Ave., and Tuesday, September. 16, at 10 a.m. at the Suffolk County Learning Center at Cedar Beach in Southold. For more information, call Marie Boulier at 727-7850, extension 212.