Terms and Dates:

  • Summer 2018


Alyssa Dray

Cornell Affiliations:

Cornell Cooperative Extension


Opportunity Description

Project Summary and Intended Outcomes

The Suffolk County Department of Public Works (SC DPW) Division of Vector Control is developing a tick surveillance program and conducting field efficacy trials of tick control products. The surveillance program is intended to inform the County’s and others’ responses to growing tick populations and incidence of tick-borne disease. 

In addition to actual efficacy assessments, the trials will provide a standard protocol for continued field research to more accurately determine control and best management strategies based upon more objective comparisons among products, application rates and other variables such as timing and environmental conditions. Around the Northeast, most effort has focused on deer (blacklegged) tick; work on Long Island also includes studies on lone stars, which are now abundant in eastern Suffolk. As the range of this species has now expanding to parts of CT, RI and MA, this work is expected to be of particular interest as human encounters in other areas increase.  CCE of Suffolk County staff are cooperating with the SC DPW Tick Entomologist on tick-related work where there very strong interest from residents and commercial landscape care professionals.

Roles and Responsibilities

The student intern will assist with aspects of the field survey and efficacy trials. Activities associated with this internship include flagging, dragging, and other tick sampling and collecting methods; collection of environmental and other data; and development of public outreach strategies. Activities will be conducted across Suffolk County surveillance plot sites. The student will work closely with Moses Cucura, Tick Entomologist with SC DPW Division of Vector Control, and prior to initiating field activities will receive training on tick-borne diseases, personal safety around ticks, and handling of specimens. In addition, work may include assistance with seasonal pathogen surveillance activities with partners at the Suffolk County Department of Health.