In 1989, a free-of-charge, statewide tick identification program was initiated in Maine, 1 yr after the first Ixodes scapularis Say (=I. dammini Spielman, Clifford, Piesman & Corwin) ticks were reported in the state. This article summarizes data from 18 continuous years of tick submissions during which >24,000 ticks of 14 species were identified. Data provided include tick stage, degree of engorgement, seasonal abundance, geographical location, host, and age of the person from whom the tick was removed. Maps depict the distributions of the three major species submitted. I. scapularis emerged first along the coast, and then it advanced inland up major river valleys, Dermacentor variabilis Say slowly expanded centrifugally from where it was initially reported in southwestern Maine, and the distribution of long-established Ixodes cookei Packard remained unchanged. Submissions of nymphal I. scapularis closely correlated with reported Lyme diseases cases at the county level. Annual fluctuations of nymphal submissions in Maine correlated with those of Lyme disease cases for New England, supporting the possibility of a regional influence on tick abundance. More ticks were removed from people ≤14 and ≥30 yr of age, and their degree of engorgement was greatest in people ≤20 yr of age and progressively increased in people ≥30 yr of age. This study demonstrates the usefulness and potential of tick identification programs.
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Vol. 44 • No. 6