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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Invasive Insect Biocontrol & Behavior Laboratory » Research » Research Project #434636

Research Project: Behavioral and Physiological Study of Acaricides and Novel Chemical Control Agents against Ticks

Location: Invasive Insect Biocontrol & Behavior Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-32000-012-009-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 1, 2018
End Date: Sep 30, 2021

(1) Evaluate toxicological effects of existing and new acaricidal compounds to ticks; (2) Determine behavioral response of ticks to new toxicants, repellents and attractants; (3) Determine the role of olfactory and gustatory receptor neurons in chemoreception and behavior of deer ticks; (4) Identify novel compounds which activate or inhibit these chemoreceptor neurons that may be useful as lures in traps and as repellents.

Both the blacklegged tick and lone star tick species will be used in this study. The toxicological and behavioral components of the research will be conducted under the guidance of the USDA ARS Research Entomologist. Standard glass vial bioassay technique will be used for toxicity evaluation of various chemical compounds. The vertical filter paper bioassay will be used to determine repellency of test compounds against ticks. Five-to-six different doses/concentrations will be evaluated to generate a dose/concentration-response curve of each test compound. Electrophysiological investigation of tick responses to chemicals will also be led by the ARS scientists. Molecular and genetic characterization of tick sensory responses at the receptor level will be led by the University of Richmond cooperator. Electrophysiological recording techniques, including single neuron recording, and gene sequencing techniques will be used to link tick sensory physiology with behaviors. ARS will acquire basic knowledge of chemoreceptors in the deer tick. This information will be used by both parties to jointly discover and develop chemicals for manipulation of tick behavior. The cooperator will provide expertise on geographic and genomic variation of ticks, and strategies for testing behavioral chemicals to enhance specificity and efficacy of acaricides and repellents aimed at tick control.