SCARBOROUGH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Researchers at Maine Medical Center's Lyme & Vector Borne Disease Lab have compiled a list of tips to reduce ticks in your yard.
The Maine CDC reported two cases of Powassan virus Wednesday. Those two people live in the Midcoast area and are recovering.
Powassan can cause a number of symptoms, including vomiting, nausea, and some extreme long-term effects that can affect the brain.
Maine Med researchers list ten tips to prevent tick bites here.
Permethrin is a common ingredient in many insecticides.
"They just give you a much better chance -- the permethrin gives you a much better chance of killing the ticks rather than just trying to repel them away," said John Roe, a worker at Skillin's Greenhouses. "Getting ahead of it isn't a bad idea."
Roe said permethrin is safe for lawns, dogs, and clothing, but not for skin. A local veterinarian said the chemical can be lethal to cats.
One popular tip that does not involve chemicals is to keep chickens on your property, which eat ticks.
Steven Bibula, who owns Orchard Ridge Farm in Gorham, said he has had three to four times as many phone calls this year from people asking for chickens specifically for tick reduction. Bibula said he has even had visitors from out of state drive to his farm to get chickens for tick reduction.
"It's about three or four times the level we saw last year, and now with this Powassan in the news, there's a lot of fear," said Bibula.
Bibula recommends certain types of chickens for large areas: White Leghorns, Silver-spangled hamburgs, and Egyptian Fayoumi.
"They'll be very wary against predators. They won't really want to be your best buddies," said Bibula.
He said all chickens will eat ticks, and some are more friendly than others, but that some will not range as far, and are more likely to be eaten by predators.
He said in a small backyard, almost any type of chicken will help reduce ticks.