Location: Mosquito and Fly Research Unit
2013 Annual Report
Brown dog ticks (Rhipicephalus) frequently infest homes with dogs and represent one of the most persistent and widespread pest control problems, particularly in the southern states. Compounding this problem is widespread pesticide resistance in these populations leading to heavy and frequent pesticide applications in homes with subsequent high exposures of home residents with pesticides. This study aims to provide better surveillance methods to refine pesticide applications and alternative (non-pesticide) methods of control. With completion of the project, there have been significant accomplishments. In laboratory assays, the relative efficacy of different host odors were evaluated with and without CO2 as a stimulant. While several host odors were significantly attractive to ticks, octenol (with or without CO2) was consistently attractive to both male and female ticks. A comparison of different commercial bed-bug traps in a simulated room setting, revealed that one trap design was more effective than others in attraction and collection of released ticks. In the room setting, the addition of CO2 clearly enhanced collections. Addition of host odors only moderately increased collections to traps already releasing CO2. Several highly effective commercial formulations of fungal spores have been identified for future studies in combination with the trap as an attract-and-kill device. This is the first monitoring method that has been evaluated for brown dog ticks and will provide valuable information as to the presence of tick infestations and efficacy of treatments against ticks.