Lyme ticks lurk on golf course edges

A survey of ticks on golf courses adds new reasons to keep shots out of the rough.

The tiny deer ticks that spread Lyme disease typically dont turn up on the open grass of golf course fairways, according to Elyes Zhioua of University of Rhode Island in Kingston. Surrounding woods, however, have proven much tickier.

Zhioua, who has surveyed tick populations in many locales, now has checked five golf courses in Rhode Island. He was able to collect plenty of deer ticks along the woodsy edges. Most players shots occasionally end up there, he says. At least half the ticks he collected carried the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. The University of Rhode Island announced Zhiouas findings on April 24.

Forty-seven states have reported cases of Lyme disease, but infections cluster in the Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states.

Susan Milius is the life sciences writer, covering organismal biology and evolution, and has a special passion for plants, fungi and invertebrates. She studied biology and English literature.