SAINT PAUL, Minn. — Straight out of the pages of science fiction, militarized ticks, ready to kill.
The theory circulating the internet is that scientists during the Cold War ran experiments on ticks and other insects to create biological weapons.
The theory sounds crazy to many, but some believe it’s the reason why we’ve seen a big uptick in Lyme Disease cases in recent years.
In the last 20 years, the CDC says Lyme Disease cases have gone up by nearly 300%, and some believe these militarized ticks is the reason why.
“It’s a pretty crazy idea,” Janet Jarnefeld says.
Jarnefeld is the tick expert at the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District.
She's spent the last 30 years studying ticks and says this idea of turning them into weapons is hard to believe.
"It doesn't make sense to me that someone from the military would be wanting to experiment on a creature that moves so slowly," Jarnefeld says.
And she wonders why Lyme Disease, which isn't exactly deadly, it can lead to a lot of problems, but if you're designing a tiny killing machine, she feels there are better options out there.
"It doesn't make sense to me," Jarnefeld says.
For better options, just look at history.
During World War II scientists had all sorts of crazy ideas involving animals, one of them, the bat bomb.
The idea was to strap tiny explosives on a bunch of bats and drop them on the enemy.
Those bats would then settle into people's attics and would eventually explode, causing panic and fires everywhere.
The idea backfired during an experiment when a stray bat burned down a hangar at the base and the idea was scrapped.
Scientists also created a pigeon-guided missile that never saw action either.
So, the idea of weaponized ticks isn't as crazy as you’d think, especially not to the author of the book Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons.
The book was written by Kris Newby, a science writer at Stanford University, who also directed a documentary on Lyme Disease.
Another believer is United States Congressman Chris Smith from New Jersey.
He led the charge earlier this month to get the Department of Defense to look back into its archives and find any proof of these experiments.
Congress actually approved the idea, so, soon we may have the answers we’re looking for.
"I’ll be interested in finding out what they find,” Jarnefeld says.
“If I get a new fact that's going to make me change my viewpoint on it then I would change it, but for now I don't suspect that's going to happen."