Location: Cattle Fever Tick Research Unit
Project Number: 3094-32000-042-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated
Start Date: Oct 1, 2019
End Date: Sep 30, 2024
Objective 1 Develop population genetic and ecological methods to improve cattle fever tick surveillance. Objective 2: Develop methods to control ticks using biocontrol, botanicals and new acaricides.
Cattle fever ticks, Rhipicephalus microplus and R. annulatus, are invasive pests that remain a threat to the livestock industry. They were eradicated from the United States in 1943; however, they remain established in Mexico and these populations tend to recolonize suitable habitats north of the Rio Grande. Cattle fever ticks transmit the microbes that cause bovine babesiosis and anaplasmosis. Significant cattle damage and economic loss would result if bovine babesiosis re-emerged in the United States. Research on new technologies to improve Integrated Pest Management (IPM) of cattle fever ticks is needed for implementation in the Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program (CFTEP). This Program is operated in the Permanent Quarantine Zone established in south Texas along the Rio Grande to eliminate incursions from Mexico. The overall goal of this project is to conduct research on risk assessment and biology, surveillance, control, and monitoring and sustainability to improve integrated cattle fever tick management. The outcomes of this research will be effective, long-term adaptable technological solutions for the challenges that the CFTEP is facing. These include climate variability, acaricide resistance, involvement of native and exotic wildlife as alternative tick hosts, and the economic impact of tick outbreaks. The project will also benefit transdisciplinary efforts to achieve optimal health for animals, humans, and the environment, a concept known as “One Health”, by adapting this research to tick disease vectors expanding their range and exotic ticks that threaten animal and human health in the United States.