Fairfax County Painting Deer Pink

A pink, non-toxic pesicide will help Fairfax County study tick infestations in local deer

By Natalie Lopez
|  Monday, Mar 26, 2012  |  Updated 8:59 PM EDT
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Don't be surprised if you see some partially pink wildlife in Fairfax County.  Julie Carey explains why.

Julie Carey

Don't be surprised if you see some partially pink wildlife in Fairfax County. Julie Carey explains why.

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Don't be alarmed if you spot deer with pink stripes roaming around Fairfax County.

The Fairfax County Wildlife Biologist’s Office is conducting a three-year research study on controlling tick infestations and using deer feeding stations to collect the data.

There will be 20 feeding stations throughout the county that will use corn to attract the deer. When the deer eat, they rub up against rollers that have pesticide used to kill ticks. The pesticide, which is nontoxic to the deer, will come off pink onto their bodies and usually fades in three to four days.

Officials say residents should not be worried if they see raccoons, squirrels, and other creatures with pink dye residue.

Deer are the primary host of adult black-legged ticks that can carry and transmit diseases to humans. The study will examine the use of this technology to control tick infestations on white tailed deer and how will the stations work on free-roaming deer.

The study began in 2009 by the Fairfax County Wildlife Biologist’s Office and the Health Department’s Disease Carrying Insects Program, with help from the Fairfax County Park Authority and the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.

The cost of the three-year study is approximately $380,000 and includes purchase and maintenance of the feeding stations and supplies, corn, pesticide, and technicians’ wages.

The stations will be located at Sully Woodlands and Hemlock Overlook Regional Park.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries issued a special permit for the use of these feeding stations because they are not currently available for legal commercial use in Virginia.

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