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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Evidence for the role of white-tailed deer(Artiodactyla:Cervidae)in the epidemiology of cattle ticks and southern cattle ticks (Acari:Ixodidae)in reinfestations along the Texas/Mexico border in South Texas-A review and update

Authors
item Pound, Joe
item George, John -
item Kammlah, Diane
item Lohmeyer, Kimberly
item Davey, Ronald

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 9, 2009
Publication Date: April 20, 2010
Citation: Pound, J.M., George, J.E., Kammlah, D.M., Lohmeyer, K.H., Davey, R.B. 2010. Evidence for the role of white-tailed deer(Artiodactyla:Cervidae)in the epidemiology of cattle ticks and southern cattle ticks (Acari:Ixodidae)in reinfestations along the Texas/Mexico border in South Texas-A review and update. Journal of Economic Entomology. 103(2):211-8..

Interpretive Summary: Cattle fever ticks were eradicated from the southern and southeastern U.S. and California in a campaign that lasted from 1907 through 1943, however, re-introductions across the Rio Grande from Mexico and into South Texas have resulted in extensive efforts to maintain eradication from other parts of the U.S. The original campaign took place when white-tailed deer that may complicate the eradication effort as alternative hosts were almost non-existent in most of the southeastern U.S., therefore they were not considered to be major threats to the eradication program. This study reviews, summarizes, and updates conformational support for the role of white-tailed deer derived from data including historical accounts, circumstantial evidence from recent infestations, and cattle fever tick infestations on white-tailed deer that were live-captured and examined specifically for these ticks. This information strongly argues the importance to the USDA-APHIS Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program of increasing efforts and expenditures for enhanced surveillance to discover and eradicate infestations that heretofore would be un-discovered until cattle were placed on the premises and eventually examined for ticks.

Technical Abstract: From 1907 when the fever tick eradication campaign began until 1933 the tick eradication methods of dipping cattle in an acaricide or "pasture vacation" were enormously successful in eradicating southern cattle ticks [SCT, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus (Canestrini)], until failures began to occur in some areas of Florida. Regarding the failures in Florida, the consensus was that populations of white-tailed deer [WTD, Odocoileus virginianus (Zimmermann)] infested with SCT were responsible. After numerous deer in several counties were killed, eradication was achieved in Florida. As in Florida, in Texas increasing numbers of failures of the pasture vacation approach to tick eradication from the 1970’s to the present are known to be related to the abundance of WTD and perhaps other wild ungulate species. A sizable body of evidence confirms the hypothesis that WTD support the dispersal and maintenance of both cattle ticks [CT, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) annulatus (Say)] and SCT (cattle fever ticks, CFT) within the Permanent Quarantine or Buffer Zone in South Texas along the Rio Grande, as well as in the so-called Free ("CFT-free") Area north and east of the Buffer Zone and extending to the east coast of the U.S. As of August 2009, in addition to the Permanent Quarantine Zone of approximately 2,233 km2, three Temporary Preventative or Blanket Quarantines were established. Currently, only two methodologies exist to control ticks feeding on WTD: 1) a systemic treatment method involving dispersal of ivermectin-medicated corn and 2) two topical treatment methods, '4-Poster' Deer Treatment Bait Stations and '2-Poster' Deer Treatment Feeder Adapters both of which passively apply topically active acaricide to deer for the eradication of populations of CFT associated with WTD. This study presents and summarizes conformational support for the role of WTD derived from historical accounts, circumstantial evidence from review of recent infestations, and CFT infestations on WTD that were live-captured and examined specifically for CFT.

Last Modified: 10/20/2014
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