RED HOOK, N.Y. (AP) — Researchers in a Lyme disease-plagued part of New York's Hudson Valley are tackling tick problems across entire neighborhoods.

The $8.8 million, five-year project aims to find out if treating 24 neighborhoods in Dutchess County for ticks can significantly reduce cases of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.

Researchers say spraying individual lawns has not proven effective in fighting Lyme disease. So they're scaling up from one backyard to many.

The Tick Project involves more than 900 families. Yards are being treated in the spring and early summer with a fungal spray that kills ticks.

Researchers also are deploying bait boxes to attract rodents. An insecticide in the box kills any ticks on mice and chipmunks, two animals largely responsible for infecting ticks with the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.