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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Mosquito and Fly Research

2013 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Development of innovative tools for surveillance and control of Rhipicephalus ticks.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Previous research on responses of mosquitoes to host odors provides a range of potential attractants that may be effective for tick. Laboratory experiments will be conducted to determine which compounds are the most attractive to ticks. These will be evaluated under field conditions using a modified commercial bedbug trap and the most effective combination of attractants compared against current surveillance methods. Effective attractants will be used to develop an attract-and-kill approach for these ticks.

3. Progress Report:
This work directly relates to inhouse objective 1. Discover and evaluate new toxicants and biological control agents for control of biting Nematocera, and 3. Conceive and test new methods of managing vector and pest populations through the use of behavior-altering chemicals, including repellents, attractants, and inhibitors. Brown dog ticks (Rhipicephalus) frequently infest homes with dogs and represent one of the most persistent and widespread pest control problems, particularly in the southern states. Compounding this problem is widespread pesticide resistance in these populations leading to heavy and frequent pesticide applications in homes with subsequent high exposures of home residents with pesticides. This study aims to provide better surveillance methods to refine pesticide applications and alternative (non-pesticide) methods of control. With completion of the project, there have been significant accomplishments. In laboratory assays, the relative efficacy of different host odors were evaluated with and without CO2 as a stimulant. While several host odors were significantly attractive to ticks, octenol (with or without CO2) was consistently attractive to both male and female ticks. A comparison of different commercial bed-bug traps in a simulated room setting, revealed that one trap design was more effective than others in attraction and collection of released ticks. In the room setting, the addition of CO2 clearly enhanced collections. Addition of host odors only moderately increased collections to traps already releasing CO2. Several highly effective commercial formulations of fungal spores have been identified for future studies in combination with the trap as an attract-and-kill device. This is the first monitoring method that has been evaluated for brown dog ticks and will provide valuable information as to the presence of tick infestations and efficacy of treatments against ticks.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 06/23/2017
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