Location: Tick and Biting Fly Research
Title: Are white-tailed deer compromising efforts to maintain eradication of cattle fever ticks from cattle herds in the U.S.? Authors
Submitted to: Livestock Insect Worker's Conference Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 13, 2011
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: From 1907 when the fever tick eradication campaign began until 1933, the two tick eradication methods of either dipping cattle in an acaricide or “pasture vacation” were enormously successful in eradicating cattle ticks [CT, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) annulatus (Say)] and southern cattle ticks [SCT, R. (B.) 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, Texas’ increasing numbers of failures of the pasture vacation approach 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 CT and SCT (CFT, collectively cattle fever ticks) 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. Currently, only two technologies exist to control ticks feeding on WTD: 1) a systemic treatment method in which ivermectin-medicated corn is fed to deer and 2) two topical treatment methods, ’4-Poster’ Deer Treatment Bait Stations and ‘2-Poster’ Deer Treatment Feeder Adapters, which passively apply topically active acaricide to deer. Here we summarize information derived from historical accounts, circumstantial evidence from recent infestations, and CFT infestations on WTD that were live-captured and examined specifically for CFT.