Adult deer tick, Ixodes
scapularis. Click the image for more information about it.
story to find out more.
U.S. Scientists Help Scottish Counterparts
Quash Ticks By Alfredo Flores
April 22, 2004
Members of the Game Conservancy Trust (GCT) in central Scotland
have been tapping the expertise of Agricultural Research Service scientists in
Kerrville, Texas. Why? Because disease-carrying ticks have been plaguing the
Scottish red grouse, the most popular game bird in a nation where hunting on
large estates is both economically important and a cherished tradition.
Entomologist Mat Pound and agricultural engineer Allen Miller,
at the ARS Knipling-Bushland
U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory in Kerrville, are well known for
their research to control ticks that feed on white-tailed deer and other wild,
The scientists have developed several control methods, including
an automatic pesticide-dispensing device and a safe and efficient deer capture
handling system. These offer potential solutions to the problem of controlling
the blacklegged and lone star ticks that transmit the viruses that cause Lyme
disease, human ehrlichioses, human babesiosis and other diseases.
In Scotland, disease-carrying ticks have become an increasing
problem on large estates, where red deer populations are thriving. The ticks
feed on the deer, as well as on mountain hares, usually entering the estates on
the deer. Some drop off and eventually feed on hares, becoming infected with a
virus harbored by the hares. Later, if infected ticks feed on chicks of the
Scottish red grouse, they transmit the virus to them.
In the spring of 2003, Scottish scientists trapped and treated
adult red grouse with pesticide-impregnated wing-tags and leg-bands developed
at the ARS Kerrville lab. The scientists hoped that the treatments developed by
ARS would prevent ticks from biting newly hatched nestlings. In August, data
were collected that showed red grouse numbers had increased significantly from
the previous year.
about this research in the April 2004 issue of Agricultural Research
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.