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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: TECHNOLOGY TO CONTROL TICKS AFFECTING LIVESTOCK AND HUMANS

Location: Tick and Biting Fly Research

2005 Annual Report


1.What major problem or issue is being resolved and how are you resolving it (summarize project aims and objectives)? How serious is the problem? What does it matter?
Ticks are efficient vectors of numerous disease agents to livestock, humans, and other vertebrate animals. Cattle fever ticks, Boophilus microplus and B. annulatus, are vectors of Babesia bovis and B. bigemina, the causative agents of cattle fever that crippled the cattle industry in the southern U.S. until they were eradicated in 1943. These ticks are still prevalent in Mexico adjacent to the Texas border and, thus far, the Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program (CFTEP) has prevented re-infestations into the U.S., except within and near the cattle fever tick quarantine zone (buffer zone) that extends along the Rio Grande from Del Rio to Brownsville, TX. For many years, the reoccurring infestations have been eradicated by dipping cattle in coumaphos or by vacating cattle from infested and exposed premises. However, ticks resistant to all major groups of acaricides have been discovered in Mexico, and populations of white-tailed deer and exotic ungulate species that are secondary hosts for the ticks are increasing and compromising the option of pasture vacation. Therefore, the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, Veterinary Services (APHIS, VS) is in need of alternative acaricides and treatment strategies that can be implemented on cattle in the likely event that acaricide-resistant ticks are introduced into the U.S. Perhaps of equal importance is the need to have alternative acaricides, specialized treatment methods, and strategies available for eradication of infestations of resistant cattle fever ticks feeding on white-tailed deer and exotic ungulate species. In addition, there is a human health need to control ticks feeding on white-tailed deer because they are keystone hosts for both the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis, and, the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum, that transmit disease agents causing Lyme disease, southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI), human ehrlichioses, human babesiosis, and other diseases of humans throughout much of the U.S. New and improved technologies developed to eradicate cattle fever ticks on deer can also be evaluated for potential in controlling these medically important ticks. Besides the need for practical and efficacious tick control technology, APHIS, VS needs a better understanding of major risk factors that lead to the re-introduction of ticks gained through predictive and diagnostic epidemiological risk assessment models of the reoccurring Boophilus infestations within and near the tick quarantine zone to expedite discovery and eradication of new infestations.

The overall objective of this research is to support the needs of APHIS, VS and citizens of the U.S. by developing practical and efficacious technologies, strategies, and epidemiological tools to control ticks of medical and veterinary importance feeding on cattle, white-tailed deer, and other important hosts in efforts both to maintain eradication of cattle fever ticks from the U.S. and to reduce risk of human infection with tick-borne disease agents. Specific objectives are:

1. Evaluate procedures employed by the CFTEP for eradicating cattle fever ticks, evaluate new acaricides with unique chemistries, and develop treatment strategies for their use to control outbreaks of both susceptible and acaricide resistant Boophilus ticks.

2. Develop and evaluate technology to control ticks of medical and veterinary importance by treating white-tailed deer and exotic ungulate species.

3. Develop geographical information system (GIS) databases and create diagnostic and predictive epidemiological models from records of historical Boophilus tick infestations in South Texas for use by VS to determine factors useful in identification of areas at high risk of re-infestation.

The research to be undertaken falls under NP 104 - Veterinary, Medical and Urban Entomology and addresses goal 4.1 Chemical Pesticides and Repellents. The specific goals are: (1) 4.1.1 Develop the capacity to test existing compounds against Diptera and ticks that transmit disease, and (2) 4.1.2 Develop and test novel means of applying pesticides and repellents that are more efficient, inexpensive and selective, including the development of toxic baits, methods to bond agents to material, and area repellents.

Cattle producers, medical and veterinary disease regulatory agencies, citizens subject to tick-borne diseases or pestilence from ticks, and other scientists will benefit from the research. Livestock producers, especially those in the southeastern quadrant of the U.S., will continue to operate in an environment that is free of cattle fever ticks and bovine babesioses. Regulatory agencies will have improved, safe, efficient, and efficacious methods with which to sustain efforts to eradicate Boophilus ticks. The public will benefit from reduced risk of tick bite and tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease, STARI, human ehrlichioses, human babesiosis, and others serious pathogens.


2.List the milestones (indicators of progress) from your Project Plan.
Year 1 (FY 2005)

Determine the efficacy of amitraz against strains of amitraz-resistant ticks from Mexico.

Evaluate the effectiveness of permethrin treatments delivered against the lone star tick to white-tailed deer via the ‘4-poster’ and provide the EPA the data.

Determine if GIS analysis of historical data on cattle fever tick outbreaks predicts re-infestation risk in Zapata, Co., Texas.

Year 2 (FY 2006)

Determine the efficacy of coumaphos treatments of tick-infested cattle against strains of Boophilus microplus from Mexico with various patterns of resistance and cross-resistance to organophosphate acaricides.

Assess the effect of the population density of the host on the suitability of the white-tailed deer as a host of B. microplus and B. annulatus.

Determine consumption rates and the relative palatability to white-tailed deer of both untreated corn and corn treated with several macrocyclic lactone acaricides potentially effective for the control of Boophilus ticks infesting deer.

Complete the first phase of multi-year experiments to evaluate the effectiveness of the non-target animal excluder for the '4-poster'.

Determine if analyses of historical GIS data on cattle fever tick outbreaks predict re-infestation risk to cattle herds in the cattle fever tick quarantine zone in South Texas. Year 3 (FY 2007)

Complete experiments to determine the effect of rainfall on the efficacy of coumaphos treatments for the control of Boophilus ticks on cattle.

Complete trials to obtain estimates of the efficacy of new acaricides and strategies for their use to control Boophilus ticks on cattle.

Characterize the suitability of nilgai, a widespread exotic antelope species that occurs in South Texas and northern Mexico, as a host for Boophilus ticks.

Complete the second phase of multi-year experiments to evaluate the effectiveness of the non-target animal excluder for the '4-poster'.

Use GIS analysis, historical data, and current aerial photographs to estimate effects of changes in landscape use/ecology on the potential habitats of B. microplus and B. annulatus within the cattle fever tick quarantine zone in South Texas, and in adjacent areas south of the Rio Grande in northern Mexico.

Year 4 (FY 2008)

Determine the efficacy of the ‘4-poster’ treatment device for the control of Boophilus ticks on white-tailed deer under South Texas field conditions.

Characterize the suitability of the axis deer as a host for Boophilus ticks.

Complete the final phase of multi-year experiments to evaluate the effectiveness of the non-target animal excluder for the '4-poster'.

Use GIS databases to investigate, elucidate, and quantify practical aspects and factors involved in the epidemiology of Boophilus spp. infestations.

Year 5 (FY 2009)

Determine whether in the absence of cattle, the feeding of systemically active macrocyclic lactone-medicated whole kernel corn to deer at a prescribed rate will result in efficacy sufficient to eradicate Boophilus ticks from experimental pastures in South Texas.

Characterize the suitability of the fallow deer as a host for Boophilus ticks.

Complete trials to obtain estimates of the efficacy of new acaricides and strategies for their use to control Boophilus ticks on cattle.


4a.What was the single most significant accomplishment this past year?
4-Poster™ Tickicide Efficacy Against Lone Star Ticks on Deer Demonstrated. When the initial application for registration of 4-Poster™ Tickicide (10% permethrin) was granted by the EPA, approval of treatments of white-tail deer to control the lone star tick, an important pest of humans and vector of disease agents affecting humans, was conditional pending evidence of efficacy. In a trial by ARS scientists at the Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory, a high degree efficacy was observed against lone star ticks on free-roaming white-tailed deer when 4-Poster™ Tickicide (10% permethrin) was passively applied by application rollers to the heads, necks, and ears of white-tailed deer as they fed on bait dispensed by the commercially available ‘4-Poster’ Deer Treatment Bait Station. Since the final EPA approval, the combination of a ‘4-Poster’ and an efficacious pesticide dispensed by the ARS-patented device is being used to control both blacklegged and lone star ticks feeding on deer. The technology provides a highly effective, safe, and environmentally friendly means for reducing human risk of infection with the agents of Lyme disease, the southern tick associated rash illness (STARI), the human ehrlichioses, human babesiosis, and other tick-borne pathogens of humans by controlling the disease vectors on their principal hosts, thus reducing free-living populations of these ticks and, consequently, the risk of humans being bitten by ticks.


4b.List other significant accomplishments, if any.
Diminished Fecundity Observed in a Pesticide-Resistant Colony of Boophilus microplus. An inherited genetic change (mutation) may confer a selective advantage to changed individuals over normal ticks when a population consisting of both changed (pesticide-resistant) and normal (pesticide-susceptible) ticks are exposed to pesticide treatments, but the converse may be true when the population is not being exposed to the pesticide. At the ARS Cattle Fever Tick Research Laboratory, results of a comparison of the degree of oviposition, fecundity, and fertility of strains of Boophilus microplus susceptible to acaricides or resistant to the pesticides coumaphos, amitraz, or permethrin indicated a significantly lower fecundity of the coumaphos-resistant strain. The significantly diminished fecundity of ticks from the coumaphos-resistant laboratory strain suggests that the proportion of pesticide-resistant individuals in a coumaphos-resistant population would decline if another pesticide, such as amitraz, was substituted for the coumaphos for the control of the ticks on cattle, and that in the future a return to the use of the coumaphos could be feasible.


4c.List any significant activities that support special target populations.
None


5.Describe the major accomplishments over the life of the project, including their predicted or actual impact.
People at risk to parasitism by the lone star tick and infection with disease agents it transmits will benefit from the availability of an effective, safe, and environmentally friendly new pesticide product formulated specifically for use with the ‘4-Poster’ Deer Treatment Bait Station. Experimental results demonstrated efficacy for the control of lone star ticks on white-tailed deer of passive treatments with 4-Poster™ Tickicide (10% permethrin) administered when deer were feeding on bait dispensed by the commercially available ‘4-Poster’ Deer Treatment Bait Station. The efficacy data from the experiment were submitted to the EPA and were the basis for a determination that conditional approval of the pesticide could be amended to include use of the product to control lone star ticks on white-tailed deer. 4-Poster™ Tickicide and the ‘4-Poster’ Deer Treatment Bait Station are sold together for the control of the black-legged and lone star ticks on white-tailed deer and are approved for use in 47 of the 48 contiguous states in the United States. This accomplishment addresses Project Plan milestone “Evaluate the effectiveness of permethrin treatments delivered against the lone star tick to white-tailed deer via the ‘4-poster’ and provide the EPA the data;” component 4, goals 4.1.1 and 4.1.2 of the NP 104 action Plan; and performance measure 3.2.1 in the ARS Strategic Plan.


6.What science and/or technologies have been transferred and to whom? When is the science and/or technology likely to become available to the end-user (industry, farmer, other scientists)? What are the constraints, if known, to the adoption and durability of the technology products?
None.


7.List your most important publications in the popular press and presentations to organizations and articles written about your work. (NOTE: List your peer reviewed publications below).
Davey, R.B., George, J.E., Miller, R.J. 2005. Comparison of the dynamics of oviposition, fecundity, and fertility in an acaricide-susceptible and an organophosphate-resistant strain of Boophilus microplus (Acari: Ixodidae). 49th Annual Meeting of the Livestock Insects Workers Conference, June 19-22, 2005, Bozeman, Montana.

George, J.E., Pound, J.M., Kammlah, D.M. 2005. Cattle fever Tick Eradication Program: Status. Emerging Animal Health Issues Working Group, 2005 Cattle Industry Annual Convention and Trade Show, February 2-5, 2005, San Antonio, Texas.

George, J.E. 2005. Current Research in Support of the Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program. U.S./Mexico Border States Cattle Fever Tick Meeting, April 27-28, 2005, Laredo, Texas, and U.S./Mexico Bi-National Tick Meeting, June 2, 2005, Manzanillo, Mexico.

George, J.E. 2005. Native and Exotic Wildlife as Hosts for Boophilus Ticks. U.S./Mexico Border States Cattle Fever Tick Meeting, April 27-28, 2005, Laredo, Texas, and U.S./Mexico Bi-National Tick Meeting, June 2, 2005, Manzanillo, Mexico.

George, J.E., Kammlah, D.M., Davey, R.B., Miller, R.J. 2005. The cattle fever tick eradication program: Detecting and eradicating acaricide resistant Boophilus microplus. 49th Annual Meeting of the Livestock Insects Workers Conference, June 19-22, 2005, Bozeman, Montana.

George, J.E., Pound, J.M., Kammlah, D.M. Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program: Status, Report to the Parasitic Diseases Committee, 108th Annual Meeting of the United States Animal Health Association, Greensboro, NC, October 21-27, 2004.

Miller, J.A., Pound, J.M., Lohmeyer, K.H., Kammlah, D.M. 2005. Deployed War Fighters Protection (DWFP) - Activities at the Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory, Kerrville, TX. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of Agriculture Annual Review of Pest Management Research, March 1-3, 2005, Gainesville, Florida.

Pound, J.M., Miller, J.A. 2005. "A User's Guide to Installation and Operation of the '4-Poster' Deer Treatment Bait Station" - Written and provided to the manufacturer and marketer of the device to be distributed with the initial product package.

Pound, J.M., Miller, J.A. 2005. "A '4-Poster' Pocket Reference" card - Written and provided to the manufacturer and marketer of the device to be distributed with the initial product package and made available to unit service personnel.

Pound, J.M., George, J.E., Kammlah, D.M., Bowers, E.J. 2005. Are White-tailed Deer and Other Wild Ungulates Compromising the APHIS-VS Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program? Emerging Animal Health Issues Working Group, 2005 Cattle Industry Annual Convention and Trade Show, February 2-5, 2005, San Antonio, Texas.

Pound, J.M., Miller, J.A., George, J.E. 2005. An Overview of Research at the Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory, Kerrville, TX. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of Agriculture Annual Review of Pest Management Research, March 1-3, 2005, Gainesville, Florida.

Pound, J.M., Miller, J.A. 2005. Meeting to discuss deployment and efficacy of ‘4-Poster’ Deer Treatment Bait Station technology and a site tour with the Director of the Mashomack Preserve, May 16, 2005, Shelter Island, New York.

Pound, J.M., Miller, J.A. 2005. Presentation and discussion of ‘4-Poster’ Deer Treatment Bait Station technology to Rae Lapides, Chairperson, and members of the Shelter Island Tick Task Force, May 16, 2005, Shelter Island, New York.

Pound, J.M., Miller, J.A. 2005. Presentation and discussion of ‘4-Poster’ Deer Treatment Bait Station technology to the Shelter Island Town Supervisor, Art Williams, and the Shelter Island Town Board, May 17, 2005, Shelter Island, New York.

Pound, J.M., Miller, J.A. 2005. Presentation and discussion of ‘4-Poster’ Deer Treatment Bait Station technology to the Middletown Township Tick Control Meeting, May 18, 2005, Elwyn, Pennsylvania.

Pound, J.M., Miller, J.A. 2005. Presentation and discussion of ‘4-Poster’ Deer Treatment Bait Station technology to the Mid-Shore Lyme Disease Association, May 19, 2005, Easton, Maryland.


Review Publications
Carroll, J.F., Allen, P.C., Hill, D.E., Pound, J., Miller, J., George, J. 2002. Control of ixodes scapularis and amblyomma americanum using the '4-poster' treatment device on deer in maryland. Experimental and Applied Acarology. 28:289-296.

Davey, Ronald B., Miller, J. Allen, George, John E., Miller, Robert J. 2005. Therapeutic and persistent efficacy of a single injection treatment of ivermectin and moxidectin against Boophilus microplus (Acari:Ixodidae) on infested cattle. Experimental and Applied Acarology. 35:117-129.

George, J.E., Pound, J.M., Davey, R.B. 2004. Chemical control of ticks on cattle and the resistance of these parasites to acaricides. Parasitology. 129:S353-S366.

Long, S.W., Pound, J.M., Yu, X. 2004. Ehrlichia prevelence in Amblyomma americanum, Central Texas. [letter]. Emerging Infectious Diseases. [serial online]. 10(7):1342-1343. Available: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol10no7/03-0792.htm.

Miller, R. 2004. Integrated pest management of cattle ticks (Boophilus microplus and B. annulatus). In: Proceedings of the Third International Seminar of Animal Reproduction and the Production of Milk and Meat, February 26-27, 2004, Mexico City, Mexico. p. 41-46.

Miller, R., Wing, J., Cope, S.E., Klavons, J.A., Kline, D.L. 2004. Repellency of permethrin treated battle dress uniforms during operation tandem thrust 2001. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association. 20(4):462-464.

Pegram, R., Indar, L., Eddi, C., George, J.E. 2004. The Caribbean Amblyomma program some ecologic factors affecting its success. Annals of The New York Academy of Sciences. 1026:302-311.

Pound, J.M., Miller, J.A., Oehler, D.D. 2004. Depletion rate of doramectin from blood serum of penned female white-tailed deer (Artiodactyla: Cervidae). Journal of Medical Entomology. 44(5):942-945.

White, W.H., Plummer, P.R., Kemper, C.J., Miller, R.J., Davey, R.B., Kemp, D.H., Hughes, S., Smith II, C.K., Gutierrez, J.A. 2004. An in vitro larval immersion microassay for identifying and characterizing candidate acaricides. Journal of Medical Entomology. 41(6):1034-1042.

Last Modified: 9/21/2014
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