When Nova Scotia scientist Shelley Adamo noticed ticks avoid balsam fir trees, her professional instincts kicked in. Adamo, a professor in the department of psychology and neuroscience at Dalhousie University in Halifax, said she noticed ticks often didn’t survive winter on her South Shore property which has thick stands of balsam fir trees. Adamo said she had a “realistic hunch” that she should study the effects of balsam fir trees on Ixodes scapularis, the blacklegged tick that is a vector for Lyme disease. First discovered in Lyme, Conn., in the 1970s Lyme disease is now a common tick-borne disease that can cause fever, joint pain, rash and other longer-lasting effects. The results of a three-year study into how balsam fir needles could help control tick populations was published on July 29 in Scientific Reports. Adamo spoke to Emma Smith of CBC Radio’s Mainstreet NS about what she discovered.