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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI tick researchers launch second round of neighborhood tick control seminars

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

First event coincides with R.I. Wild Plant Society sale June 4

KINGSTON, R.I. -- May 31, 2005 -- University of Rhode Island tick researchers Thomas Mather and Nathan Miller have a question for area residents, “Do you hate ticks as much as we do?”

On Saturday, June 4 at 11 a.m. Mather, a professor of entomology and director of the URI Center for Vector-Borne Disease, and Miller, a researcher at the center and coordinator of tick control outreach programs, will prove how much they hate deer ticks by providing concerned homeowners with the pair’s favorite methods and products for keeping the tiny bloodsuckers at bay. They’ll be offering the free 90-minute workshop at URI’s Kingston Campus on the north side of Flagg Road behind the URI greenhouse complex.

The program will be run simultaneously with the Rhode Island Wild Plant Society’s Spring Plant Sale also behind the Kingston Campus’ greenhouse complex. That sale is open for members only from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and to the general public from 9 a.m. to noon.

Along with the Farmers Market in the Keaney Gym lot, folks interested in gardening, buying locally grown products or getting information on deer ticks can enjoy one-stop shopping and learning in Kingston Saturday.

“This is a chance for people who like to work in their yards, in their gardens and on their lawns to learn how to protect themselves from Lyme disease, babesiosis and other diseases caused by deer ticks,” Mather said. “This will be a great opportunity for people to enjoy the Kingston campus, gain knowledge about tick control and pick up a few plants or other items at the plant sale or Farmers Market.”

After Saturday’s event, Mather and Miller will be offering additional programs in local neighborhoods. The program is part of a larger tick control research project being funded through a $223,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control with an additional federal appropriation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In addition, vendors of specialized tick control products and services will be on hand at Saturday’s workshop to demonstrate their solutions, and answer questions.

"There seems to be no end to researching for the magic bullet to prevent tick-borne disease, but while this goes on, we believe it is time to begin taking aggressive action to kill ticks and reduce the risk of infection," said Mather. "In this, we see our role as facilitators in the process, empowering homeowners at risk, providing knowledge and the contacts they will need to take control of their own tick problem."

TICK PATROL: Thomas Mather, left, a professor of entomology and director of the URI Center for Vector-Borne Disease, and Nathan Miller, a researcher at the center and coordinator of tick control outreach programs, display a sign they’ll be putting up on the Kingston Campus to direct people to a tick control workshop Saturday, June 4 at 11 a.m.