Submitted to: Journal of Medical Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 31, 2000
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: White-tailed deer are the primary hosts for ticks that transmit agents causing a variety of human diseases, including Lyme disease and human ehrlichiosis, and they are significant hosts for cattle fever ticks that were eradicated from the U.S. but are still abundant along our border with Mexico, and transmit the agents causing potentially fatal diseases in cattle. A recent increase in deer populations in the eastern U.S. has resulted in more cases of tickborne diseases in humans and is also hampering efforts to maintain the cattle fever tick eradication quarantine zone in Texas along the Rio Grande river. Because some ticks feed on deer that may be consumed by humans during hunting season, and considering the obvious difficulties involved in directly applying a pesticide treatment to such elusive free-ranging animals, it is imperative that we develop tick control technology that is efficient, effective, environmentally responsible, and has a zero withdrawal period from treatment to consumptio by humans. The '4-poster' passive topical treatment device that applies a zero withdrawal time pesticide to the head, neck, and ears of white-tailed deer as they feed from it was developed and shown to control greater than 92 and 97% of the adult and nymphal ticks and essentially all of the larval ticks feeding on the deer. This topical treatment technology is an important development assisting efforts to reduce the risk of tickborne illnesses and parasitism in both humans and livestock.
Technical Abstract: A device named the '4-poster' was designed, constructed and tested that attracts white-tailed deer to a bait source, and as they feed, allows a pesticide to be applied to the head, ears, and neck to control ticks. The device consists of a central bin that contains bait to attract deer and 2 feeding/application stations. These stations each have 1 bait port and 2 vertical pesticide impregnated applicator rollers. This design allows unrestricted vertical retraction of the head to minimize injury to the deer or damage to the posts supporting the rollers. Observations using deer demonstrated ready acceptance and repeated use by both antlered and antlerless deer. Results of an initial trial indicated that control values for lone star ticks, Amblyomma americanum, exceeded 92 to 97% on deer that used the device regularly. The device is patented (U.S. patent #5,367,983) by the USDA - Agricultural Research Service.