Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: TECHNOLOGY TO CONTROL TICKS AFFECTING LIVESTOCK AND HUMANS

Location: Tick and Biting Fly Research

Title: The United States Department of Agriculture's northeast area-wide tick control project - summary and conclusions

Authors
item Pound, Joe
item Miller, John
item George, John
item Fish, Durland - YALE UNIV-NEW HAVEN, CT
item Carroll, John
item Schulze, Terry - RETIRED-PERRINEVILLE, NJ
item Daniels, Thomas - FORDHAM UNIV-ARMONK, NY
item Falco, Richard - FORDHAM UNIV-ARMONK, NY
item Stafford Iii, Kirby - AG EX STATION-NEW HAVEN
item Mather, Thomas - UNIV OF RI, KINGSTON, RI

Submitted to: Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 29, 2009
Publication Date: August 11, 2009
Citation: Pound, J.M., Miller, J.A., George, J.E., Fish, D., Carroll, J.F., Schulze, T.R., Daniels, T.J., Falco, R.C., Stafford III, K.C., Mather, T.N. 2009. The United States Department of Agriculture's northeast area-wide tick control project - summary and conclusions. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases. 9(4):439-447.

Interpretive Summary: White-tailed deer are the most important host animals for adult blacklegged and lone star ticks that transmit agents causing Lyme disease, the human ehrlichioses, and several other tick-borne diseases in the U.S. The 7 year long USDA Northeast Area-wide Tick Control Project field tested the ability of ARS-patented ‘4-Poster’ Deer Treatment Bait Stations at 7 research sites in 5 northeastern states to reduce field populations of ticks just by killing adult ticks feeding on deer. Although the technology is somewhat labor intensive and requires 1 or more years to show effects, the project demonstrated that when properly deployed and maintained, the ‘4-Poster’ technology can be an efficacious, economical, safe, and environmentally friendly alternative to area-wide spraying to reduce the risk of transmitting the agents causing Lyme disease, human ehrlichiosis, southern tick associated rash illness (STARI), and other tick-borne diseases to humans, livestock, pets and wildlife.

Technical Abstract: The 7 year long USDA Northeast Area-wide Tick Control Project (NEATCP) used ‘4-Poster’ Deer Treatment Bait Stations at 7 research sites in 5 northeastern states to control ticks feeding on white-tailed deer to test this host-targeted technology to reduce free-living blacklegged and lone star tick populations and consequently reduce risk of tick-borne disease. We collected and compiled data from each location, compared deployment, operational, and maintenance experiences among the sites, and extrapolated major factors that influenced variations in efficacy as an aid to better understand and improve the technology. Treatments caused significant reductions in free-living populations of nymphal blacklegged ticks at all 7 sites and lone star ticks at the 3 sites where these ticks also were present. Although the technology is somewhat labor intensive and requires 1 or more years to show efficacy, on the basis of comparable areas of treatment, it was shown to be considerably more economical and environmentally friendly than spraying residential vegetation to control ticks. The major environmental factor that interfered with treatments and therefore temporarily reduced efficacy was the occurrence of heavy acorn masts. As occasional abundant alternative food sources, the masts minimized both the use of treatment devices by deer and consequently the control of ticks feeding on them. In conclusion, the NEATCP demonstrated that when properly deployed and maintained, the ‘4-Poster’ technology can be an efficacious, economical, safe, and environmentally friendly alternative to area-wide spraying to reduce the risk of transmitting the agents causing Lyme disease, human ehrlichiosis, southern tick associated rash illness (STARI), and other tick-borne diseases to humans, livestock, pets and wildlife.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014