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ARS Home » Plains Area » Kerrville, Texas » Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory » LAPRU » Research » Research Project #428021

Research Project: Cattle Fever Tick Control and Eradication

Location: Livestock Arthropod Pests Research

Project Number: 3094-32000-039-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Oct 1, 2014
End Date: Sep 30, 2019

Objective 1: Reduce the cost of pasture quarantine by developing new methods of treating cattle for cattle fever ticks. Subobjective 1A: Evaluate the efficacy of novel long-acting (LA) acaricides for CFT control. Subobjective 1B: Detect tick infestation by non-invasive procedures. Objective 2: Evaluate efficacy of novel technologies for control of cattle fever ticks and mitigation of acaricide resistance. Subobjective 2A: Evaluate natural products with acaricidal properties for tick control. Subobjective 2B: Evaluate natural products with repellent or attractant properties for tick control. Objective 3: Develop methods that decrease the impact of wildlife as reservoirs of cattle fever ticks. Subobjective 3A: Evaluate efficacy of anti-tick vaccine formulations for control of ticks on wildlife. Objective 4: Improve species distribution and ecological niche models of cattle fever tick species and specify changes likely to occur due to climate change. Subobjective 4A: Update and mine the historical CFT GIS database to produce maps and tools to support APHIS eradication efforts. Subobjective 4B: Assess effect of climate change predictions on recurring cycles of CFT outbreak activity. Objective 5: Develop biological control agents against the pathogenic landscape created by Arundo donax and measure impact on invasive ticks. Subobjective 5A. Investigate the biology and host range of the arundo leafminer under quarantine conditions as a candidate biological control agent for release in the CFT PQZ. Subobjective 5B. Determine if biological control agents mitigate negative impact of Arundo donax on operations by the Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program by increasing visibility within the PQZ. Subobjective 5C. Investigate other benefits of biological control intervention, including decreased habitat suitable for CFT larvae, and use these measurements to predict effects of climate change. Objective 6: Innovate technologies to mitigate the negative impact of ecological interactions between invasive species. Subobjective 6A. Investigate role of ants and ground-dwelling predator beetles on the survival of CFT and biological control agents in the PQZ affected by A. donax. Objective 7: Develop biological control against livestock pests. Subobjective 7A. Conduct foreign exploration in the native ranges of CFT to search for tick-specific biological control agents. Objective 8: Assess the effects of global climate change on effectiveness of livestock pest control in south Texas and northern Mexico. Subobjective 8A. Investigate the potential for climate change to alter the viability of CFT larvae in the PQZ.

Utilize our unique laboratory resources and infrastructure to evaluate new formulations of compounds for long-acting efficacy against strains of cattle fever ticks that are susceptible or resistant to commercially available acaricidal products. This effort will help prioritize efforts with stakeholder groups to deliver products the Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program can use in the Permanent Quarantine Zone. Assess utility of non-invasive procedures, like near-infrared spectroscopy of livestock fecal samples, to detect cattle fever tick infestations. Finding non-invasive alternatives to hands-on inspection (scratching) offer the potential to streamline operations and enhance detection of infestations by Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program personnel. Screen plant-derived substances to identify novel compounds that are active against cattle fever ticks. Research on natural products will enable the discovery of molecules that could be optimized for acaricidal efficacy. Determine immunogenicity in white-tailed deer of novel Bm86-based vaccine developed to vaccinate cattle in the Permanent Quarantine Zone. Confirming that the novel Bm86-based vaccine developed for cattle can also elicit a specific immune response against cattle fever ticks in white-tailed deer will provide a tool that could be used to minimize the impact of wildlife as tick reservoirs. Refine methods applied to cattle fever tick outbreaks using remote sensing technologies and models predicting habitat suitability and species distribution. The improvement of those methods could be used to develop science-based predictive tools the Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program could use to adapt future strategies. Overall, the approaches described above aim to deliver science-based tools that the Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program can integrate to adapt operations, mitigate the impact of global change, and keep the U.S. free of cattle fever ticks in a sustainable manner. Develop biological control agents against giant reed including testing of the leaffeeding arundo leafminer, for release in the PQZ; determine if the leafminer, and two other agents which have already been released, can mitigate negative impact of giant reed on operations by the CFT Eradication Program by increasing visibility within the PQZ and investigate other benefits, including reduction of habitat suitable for cattle fever tick larvae; investigate the role of ants and ground-dwelling predator beetles on the survival of cattle fever tick in the PQZ in areas with and without giant reed; conduct foreign exploration in the native ranges of cattle fever tick to search for tick-specific parasitic insects and nematodes, and evaluate their potential as biological control agents to directly target cattle fever tick; assess the effects of global climate change on livestock pest control in south Texas by conducting field ecological studies in cattle fever tick infested pastures at the CFTRL; conduct field studies to investigate the effects of increased summer rainfall to determine its impact on exotic African range grasses and giant reed and their effect on cattle fever tick survival.