Location: Tick and Biting Fly Research
Title: Suppression of Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus under natural South Texas conditions using Y-Tex® XP820™ ear tags on pastured cattle Authors
Submitted to: Livestock Insect Worker's Conference Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 13, 2011
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: A 40-week study was conducted under natural South Texas conditions to evaluate the effectiveness of ear tags containing the pesticide abamectin against cattle fever ticks. The reason for conducting the study was that oftentimes the tick population will increase to enormous levels before an infestation is detected when there is no treatment being applied to the cattle. Thus, in areas where ticks occur, but have not yet been detected by regulatory officials, the use of ear tags could prevent the buildup of high numbers of ticks, so when ticks are finally discovered, the task of eliminating the ticks will not be overwhelming. Results showed that if the initial application of tags was made in late winter through early summer when tick numbers are at maximum levels, they would have little observable effect on the tick population in the short term. However, if application of tags was done in late summer through early fall when tick numbers are naturally low because of high temperatures, it would prevent the enormous buildup of ticks that normally occurs in the spring by eliminating many of the ticks that find a host in fall and winter months and reproduce throughout the cooler months. The study was of importance because it clearly showed substantial reduction in tick numbers could be obtained if the ear tags were used and applied at the proper time of year.
Technical Abstract: Pastured cattle with ear tags containing 8% abamectin synergized with 20% piperonil butoxide were evaluated for efficacy against Rhipicephalus microplus ticks during a 40-week study conducted under natural South Texas conditions. In the first 16 weeks, which occurred during the spring and early summer months when tick survival was optimum, the control was indistinguishable in comparison to untreated cattle. Subsequently, between Week 17 and Week 24 post-treatment when temperatures were near maximum, a natural decline in the tick population occurred in both the treated and untreated pasture, although fewer ticks were observed on treated cattle than on untreated cattle. This indicated tags had an adverse affect on tick survival beyond the adverse affect caused by climatic conditions. Between Week 25 and Week 40 when temperatures again decreased to moderate levels in the fall and winter months, tick numbers on untreated cattle rebounded toward previous higher levels, whereas tick numbers on treated animals remained very low. While eradication of the ticks was not expected, nor was it an objective of the study, results demonstrated that substantial suppression of ticks could be obtained if tags were applied at the proper time. Initial application of tags in late winter through early summer when tick numbers are near maximum, would have little observable effect on the population in the short term. Conversely, application of tags in late summer through early fall when tick numbers are naturally low would prevent buildup of ticks that normally occurs in the spring by eliminating many ticks that attain a host in fall and winter months.