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Old 09-09-2011, 10:48 AM   #1
denipal
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Unhappy Duck itch!

Our family has been living on Winnipesaukee for over 50 years. We would swim all summer long for hours and hours each day.
I have NEVER gotten duck itch EVER in all of those years and none of my family ever had it either until this labor day weekend.
I was sitting on the back of a jet ski at the shore of our beach with my grandson (15 months) on my lap. I cannot tell you how badly I am covered with duck itch all over my legs.
Thank Goodness my grandson didn't get any.. I am so disappointed. What happened to being able to play at the edge of the shore with sand toys in the shallow water??? Are those days gone?

A few weeks ago we arrived on a friday to find 'goose poop' all over our raft.. I literally had to take a shovel and a trash bag out to the raft and filled the trash bag with it..
what is happening to our Lake??


I love animals and nature . But honestly I am so disappointed to think that my grandchildren would never get to stay for hours in the lake like we used to and enjoy it without the worry of this horrible ITCH.
Isn't it some sort of health hazard???
Can anything be done? What has changed over the years to make this so bad?
WE NEVER EVER FEED the ducks.

thanks for letting me vent. I'd appreciate any input about this problem and how we can solve it.
frustrated in Moultonborough......
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Old 09-09-2011, 11:34 AM   #2
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Default Preventing duck itch

As weird as it may sound, if you put sunscreen on it will prevent duck itch. Not sure why it works, but it definitely does.
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Old 09-09-2011, 11:54 AM   #3
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Default sure does

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Originally Posted by winni for fun View Post
As weird as it may sound, if you put sunscreen on it will prevent duck itch. Not sure why it works, but it definitely does.
Waterproof sunblock. I've had duck itch before....its worse than poison ivy or any bug bite.
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Old 09-09-2011, 12:03 PM   #4
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We are in Wolfeboro. We also have an enormous problem with ducks and geese.

They have taken over our waterfront. Not only do they leave behind their "poop" but we have also discovered that they leave behind Ticks.

My family recognizes that we need to protect the beauty of our lake, however the consequences of protecting Canada Geese and ducks is what we have now. A lake full of fecal matter,closed beaches,duck itch and ticks.
It's time we demand the State of NH remove 50% or more of these birds before it's too late. Or is it already???
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Old 09-09-2011, 12:12 PM   #5
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We are in Wolfeboro. We also have an enormous problem with ducks and geese.

They have taken over our waterfront. Not only do they leave behind their "poop" but we have also discovered that they leave behind Ticks.

My family recognizes that we need to protect the beauty of our lake, however the consequences of protecting Canada Geese and ducks is what we have now. A lake full of fecal matter,closed beaches,duck itch and ticks.
It's time we demand the State of NH remove 50% or more of these birds before it's too late. Or is it already???
I agree completely. The main problem is that Winnipesaukee is virtually impossible to hunt waterfowl on. Legally you cannot and should not (for common sense reason) take waterfowl when they are touching the water, only in flight. If I am not mistaken, that quailifies on land as well for waterfowl.

The resident population of these birds is growing at an alarming rate, but the state has little say, they are still (for some reason) considered migratory and therefore are under Federal protection.
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Old 09-09-2011, 12:20 PM   #6
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I agree completely. The main problem is that Winnipesaukee is virtually impossible to hunt waterfowl on. Legally you cannot and should not (for common sense reason) take waterfowl when they are touching the water, only in flight. If I am not mistaken, that quailifies on land as well for waterfowl.

The resident population of these birds is growing at an alarming rate, but the state has little say, they are still (for some reason) considered migratory and therefore are under Federal protection.
Is migratory bird hunting (ducks / geese) even allowed on Winnipesaukee??
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Old 09-09-2011, 12:30 PM   #7
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We are stuck with Duck itch for a while now that it is here. Anything to help the situation is long term in effect.... However don't be lulled into the idea that every rash you get after being in the water all day is related to waterfowl. With all the fertilized lawns, etc. there are many chemicals that are entering the lake and causing havoc as well.

With that aside lets talk about what one can do to prevent duck itch.

-- The more time you spend in the water the better -- being active and enjoying the water keeps things stirred up, and allow the bacteria to get moved around and dispersed through wave action... This year the first weekend we enjoyed the water, we all had duck itch... after that initial weekend we have had almost no issues with it... however we are active and in the water every weekend.

-- Take a shower every night... everyone that has been in the water showers off every night... next year I am thinking of installing a shower head outside that can be used to rinse of more often just to be safe
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Old 09-09-2011, 12:42 PM   #8
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Is migratory bird hunting (ducks / geese) even allowed on Winnipesaukee??
That's the thing, I don't think it is, but don't know for certain, it's not really my thing. Even if it is where would you set up that would be safe enough.

It is going to be really difficult to remove the resident birds of the lake by that means. It is a tough sled no matter how you look at it.
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Old 09-09-2011, 12:48 PM   #9
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YUCK, and what a rotten way to end the season,,,

I wonder if the drop in boat usage in recent years has been a factor.

In addition to all the wave activity helping to stir the waters up, I can only assume that boats are somewhat annoying to these birds and may have helped to keep them off the lake in the past,,,

Well there may be no study to support this idea, but sounds like a good enough excuse get out and take a cruise in the watercraft of your preference,,,

Speedy recovery,,,
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Old 09-09-2011, 12:54 PM   #10
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Default Don't Blame the Geese_it may be Mergansers

I am no fan of Canadian Geese because of the over population and the fact that my cute little Shih-Tzu doggie has this disgusting and crazy appetite for their feces...BUT with a little research we find there may be another culprit in our midst.

"...common mergansers usually harbor heavy infections compared to other species of bird hosts. For example, the average number of miracidia that hatch from a gram of feces from common mergansers is more than 300. Mallards, Canada geese and wood ducks usually have less than 25% infected and only a couple of miracidia per gram of feces."

Source

BTW-this web site has a lot of good info on swimmers itch. Such as this:

"The following are factors that may determine whether swimmer's itch may be a problem on a specific lake at a given time:
  • distribution and number of snails that can serve as intermediate hosts
  • distribution and number of bird hosts that can serve as hosts for the adult worm
  • wind direction
  • water currents
  • number of hours that people stay in the water
  • time of day
  • sensitivity of the individual to swimmer's itch.

All of these factors can change on an annual basis."
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Old 09-09-2011, 03:03 PM   #11
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FYI... Canada Geese can be hunted in September



http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Hunt...waterfowl.htmI
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Old 09-09-2011, 03:23 PM   #12
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We can start by getting rid of every single Canada goose in the region. They serve no purpose other than to destroy the waters. Kill 'em all now and thank me later...I will not repost my earlier rants. Just kill them.
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Old 09-09-2011, 03:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CateP View Post
I am no fan of Canadian Geese because of the over population and the fact that my cute little Shih-Tzu doggie has this disgusting and crazy appetite for their feces...BUT with a little research we find there may be another culprit in our midst.

"...common mergansers usually harbor heavy infections compared to other species of bird hosts. For example, the average number of miracidia that hatch from a gram of feces from common mergansers is more than 300. Mallards, Canada geese and wood ducks usually have less than 25% infected and only a couple of miracidia per gram of feces."

Source

BTW-this web site has a lot of good info on swimmers itch. Such as this:

"The following are factors that may determine whether swimmer's itch may be a problem on a specific lake at a given time:
  • distribution and number of snails that can serve as intermediate hosts
  • distribution and number of bird hosts that can serve as hosts for the adult worm
  • wind direction
  • water currents
  • number of hours that people stay in the water
  • time of day
  • sensitivity of the individual to swimmer's itch.

All of these factors can change on an annual basis."
Mergansers are native. As are loons. These damn Canada geese are a VERY new arrival on the Lake. Like within the past 3-5 years. They should be universally loathed, and unwelcome. Like everywhere else, they are reproducing rapidly while the politically correct and sensitive among us fret and moan about humane and passive ways to dissuade them from staying around.

Trust me. They are here and will stay and will DESTROY the water quality very, very quickly. Mergansers cannot compete with the reproductive prowess and poop-producing volume of these pests. Not even close.
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Old 09-09-2011, 04:08 PM   #14
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We, too, have had a horrible problem with Duck Itch in the last few years. But now we have learned that there are a few things you can do to minimize the number of "bites" you get.

1) Shower off immediately after getting out of the water;
2) Do not "air dry" in your bathing suit;
3) Wear lots of creamy sunscreen everywhere to act as a barrier;
4) Try not to hang out near a dock or rocks.

After Bite works well for us. Ditto Benadryl.
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Old 09-10-2011, 12:36 PM   #15
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It is not illegal to take waterfowl on the water. Many feel it is unethical but there is definitely no rule stating you must wait for the bird to take flight.

It is also legal to take waterfowl on any water body in NH unless you are within 300 feet of a house. That said, every waterfowler I know would not want to upset any homeowner by launching a salvo of 3" mag 12 shots at first light because it's legal to shoot 350 feet from said home. That is the problem with Winni. It's shorelines are well populated. Sure you can find legal spots all over the lake but with more secluded ponds and rivers everywhere, there is no need to force confrontation with an increasingly liberal population of shoreline residents.

If you have a stretch of shoreline on your property that is legal to hunt and would not disturb your neighbors, you certainly could visit any number of NH hunting websites and get to know ethical hunters that you could invite to hunt your land. That said, the nature of waterfowl is that they are migratory meaning once one group is harvested, the next group moves in. Resident birds however would be nicely removed with a few hunts.

Alternatively, you can make your shoreline unattractive for waterfowl:
-get a coyote decoy and set him up on your beach
-get a dock owl statue and nail it to your dock
-tie a string to stakes along your beach at the shoreline with surveyors tape every few feet about 1 foot off the ground.
-get a dog (a retriever) and station him on your beach. He'll have the Life of Riley keeping birds off your property.
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Old 09-13-2011, 07:52 AM   #16
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Default Do plastic owls work?

I've had a plastic owl on my dock this summer. The ducks don't seem to pay it any attention, parking on the dock for a while and leaving calling cards behind. Do I have to do something to the owl to get it to work?
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Old 09-13-2011, 10:35 AM   #17
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Ditto! Our plastic owl is also useless!
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Old 09-13-2011, 10:38 AM   #18
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Sorry, Marauder, to hear your Duck Itch is so bad. I can sympathize with you.
There really isn't much you can do other than Benadryl and After Bite. Try not to scratch too much because you will be left with scars. I have a few of those from summer 2009. For me, it was 2-3 weeks before I even felt human again.
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Old 09-13-2011, 10:46 AM   #19
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Default ouch

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How long before it goes away? What can you use besides benadryl? I have it on my face - swollen itchy and hot, and arms. This is almost unbearable!
Thanks.
I know the feeling and I only got a few spots on my legs and stomach. About 16 years ago my son got it real bad, (he was 5 at the time) all over his arms, legs and stomach. Not knowing what it was, we brought him to the ER. They said all you can do is take the Benedryl for the itch. Since that time, we have applied the waterproof sunblock everytime they swam in the shallow end and had very minor problems with the itch. Also, toweling off right after you get out was also recommended. Would love to know the "real cause" someday
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Old 09-13-2011, 12:06 PM   #20
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I've had a plastic owl on my dock this summer. The ducks don't seem to pay it any attention, parking on the dock for a while and leaving calling cards behind. Do I have to do something to the owl to get it to work?
Owls don't hunt ducks or geese (that I know of), so they probably don't see it as a threat.

The golf course I play at uses Coyote decoys, the type that move around as the wind blows. Seems to work well.

Try that or maybe an Eagle or Osprey, or maybe a Fisher, something that hunts around water, that would also prey on waterfowl.
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