If you see a pink-striped deer — or raccoon, squirrel, or other woodland creature — do not be alarmed, Fairfax County officials advised Monday morning.
The pink deer are part of a campaign that will use pesticide-laced fur dye to fight ticks and, if all goes as planned, minimize the incidence of Lyme disease in the county.
According to the Fairfax County Wildlife Biologist’s Office, the tick-control plan hinges on deer appetites.
There are 20 feeding stations set up around the county using corn as bait. When the deer approach the station to eat, they’ll rub up against rollers containing pink dye treated with pesticide.
The pesticide should kill any ticks on the deer’s fur, while the deer will walk away with full bellies--and lovely fuchsia stripes that will last about four days. Wildlife officials said the dye is not toxic to the deer.
Deer are the primary hosts of adult black-legged ticks, which can transmit diseases to humans.
The experiment is part of a three-year, $380,000 study to determine if the pesticidal dye is a good way to control ticks.
The stations, which have been set up in Sully Woodlands and Hemlock Overlook Regional Park, are expected to remain in place through early 2015.