The Lyme disease epidemic can be fixed on the East End, not by killing deer or using four-poster tick control devices, but by offering ticks a more delicious alternative to deer and human blood.
And Southampton billionaire Derwood Hodgegrass says he’s created a blood alternative that will be irresistible to ticks on the East End and the world over.
“YumBlood is actually not blood at all,” Hodgegrass explained, showing off his new formula during a meeting at his palatial Hamptons home on Tuesday. “This will be to ticks what I imagine Mountain Dew was to humans who had only enjoyed Coca Cola and Pepsi before its inception,” Hodgegrass added, while conceding that “the Dew example” may be a bit biased.
“In truth, while some people dislike Mountain Dew, no tick will be able to resist YumBlood,” he continued. “When we put this out there, the idea of drinking anything else—most notably deer and human blood—will be repulsive to the little guys.”
Chemists in Hodgegrass’s now-famous Elysium Workshop think tank devised the formula by replicating the molecular content of blood and adding “a little secret sauce” that would be impossible to ignore.
“We’ve proven through months of testing that 100 percent of ticks—deer ticks, dog ticks, even lone star ticks—choose YumBlood over the organic competition,” the billionaire said.
Using the soda metaphor again, Hodgegrass described a series of “Pepsi Challenges,” where thousands of ticks were offered “the sweet, fresh blood of a living deer fawn,” the blood of a young child and YumBlood. “And the ticks chose YumBlood every time,” the billionaire remarked.
In order to prove the veracity of his claims, Hodgegrass is allowing local officials to test YumBlood in tick-infested areas for free in 2016. The clear, viscous liquid will be deployed around the East End in artificial “flesh sacks,” which will attract all ticks within a half-mile radius, leaving deer and humans free of the parasites (see photo above).
“Over time, the ticks will recognize YumBlood as their preferred meal and will no longer need nor want to feed on anything else,” Hodgegrass said, noting that his goal is behavior modification, not extermination. “I will not permit YumBlood to be mixed with poison,” he said. “This is a short-sighted plan and ticks will get hip to it much faster than you think.”
Hodgegrass and his Elysium Workshop think tank have produced numerous innovations in recent years, though many—such as his “Sea-Lysium VII” ocean-warming device, his “Sky-Lysium 1.0” and “SnowBlank” snow eliminators, a 150-yard saltwater swimming pool, and, most recently, his Celebrity DNA Archive Project—have received blowback from local officials and outspoken environmentalists.
The billionaire hopes YumBlood will be acceptable to all East Enders and, eventually, the world.