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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Tick and Biting Fly Research

2007 Annual Report

1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
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. Current objectives of the research at KBUSLIRL will be expanded as follows: Obtain an upgraded model of the automated system for collaring and de-collaring wild ungulates with an acaricidal neck band. Develop a passive vaccination module for the collaring/de-collaring device. Develop a self-treating identification and vaccination system for wild ungulates that can recognize treated animals and prevent multiple applications of collars and vaccinations. Collaborate with scientists on experiments to vaccinate white-tailed deer with anti-tick vaccines or to vaccinate deer with immuno-sterilants for the management of deer populations.

1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Evaluate procedures employed by APHIS/VS to eradicate cattle fever ticks, evaluate new acaricides with unique chemistries, and develop treatment strategies for their use to control outbreaks of susceptible and resistant Boophilus ticks. Use rainfall simulation apparatus to determine if rainfall soon after cattle are dipped in coumaphos will reduce efficacy, and evaluate efficacy of higher than recommended concentrations of amitraz and coumaphos to control amitraz and coumaphos resistant ticks. Develop and evaluate technology to control ticks of medical and veterinary importance by treating white-tailed deer and exotic ungulate species. Determine if deer alone can sustain populations of Boophilus ticks under experimental quarantined field conditions, and if so, evaluate 4-Poster Deer Treatment Bait Stations and macrocyclic lactone-medicated whole kernel corn in eradicating these experimental populations. Develop geographical information system (GIS) databases and create diagnostic and predictive epidemiological models from records of historical Boophilus infestations for use by VS to aid in identifying areas at high risk of re-infestation. Use these databases to generate maps, overlays, and other data sets requested for previously infested premises to be used and evaluated by VS as practical aids in their efforts to implement eradication procedures and regulations.

Medicated-molasses for control of cattle fever ticks: Maintenance of the cattle fever tick quarantine zone along the Texas-Mexico border is critical to protecting the U.S. cattle industry against these ticks and the disease agent causing Texas fever that they transmit. In an effort by the Knipling-Bushland US Livestock Insects Research Laboratory (Kerrville, TX) to develop improved control technologies and strategies, we demonstrated that pastured cattle fed ad lib liquid molasses containing ivermectin resulted in serum concentrations of the drug sufficient to control all of the fever ticks feeding on the animals (>10ppb). This technology, if used strategically in the Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program in combination with other technologies developed at our laboratory, should enable continued control of outbreaks of this serious pest that continue to be re-introduced across the Rio Grande and into the U.S. from Mexico. The use of ivermectin-medicated molasses offers potential to minimize the cost of the current method of gathering and dipping cattle at 2-week intervals for 6-9 months or vacating cattle from pastures. (NP104; Component 4, Control Technology)

6.Technology Transfer

Number of active CRADAs and MTAs4
Number of invention disclosures submitted1
Number of patent applications filed1
Number of non-peer reviewed presentations and proceedings16
Number of newspaper articles and other presentations for non-science audiences6

Review Publications
Davey, R.B., Miller, J.A., George, J.E., Klavons, J.A. 2007. Efficacy of a single doramectin injection against adult female Boophilus microplus (Acari: Ixodidae) in the final stages of engorgement before detachment. Journal of Medical Entomology. 44(2):277-282.

Last Modified: 9/21/2014
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