Submitted to: Journal of Vector Ecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/20/2002
Publication Date: 6/1/2003
Citation: SOLBERG, V.B., MILLER, J.A., HADFIELD, T., BURGE, R., SCHECK, J.M., POUND, J.M. CONTROL OF IXODES SCAPULARIS (ACARI: IXODIDAE) WITH TOPICAL SELF-APPLICATION OF PERMETHRIN BY WHITE-TAILED DEER INHABITING NASA, BELTSVILLLE, MD. JOURNAL OF VECTOR ECOLOGY. 2003. V. 28(1). P. 117-134. Interpretive Summary: White-tailed deer are the main hosts for the adult stage of blacklegged ticks that transmit the agents that cause Lyme disease, human granulocytic ehrlichiosis, and other tick-borne diseases in humans. Because a very high proportion of female ticks that feed and lay eggs that become the next generation of ticks obtained the nutritive blood-meal from white-tailed deer, ARS invented and patented the '4-poster' topical treatment device. This device applies pesticide to kill adult ticks feeding on white-tailed deer in efforts to reduce the population of free-living ticks available to transmit disease agents to humans frequenting the treatment areas. In an attempt to reduce numbers of ticks by treating infested deer, white-tailed deer in at the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD treated themselves with the pesticide permethrin as they fed from '4-poster' devices, while infested deer at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD remained untreated and served as controls. During the 2nd and 3rd years of treatment, no adults were found feeding on sampled deer (100% control), and after 3 seasons of treatment, numbers of free-living adult, nymphal, and larval ticks in the treatment area were reduced by 100, 91, and 92%, respectively. As a result of this study, the '4-poster' technology was shown to be an efficient, effective, and environmentally friendly method of reducing populations of free-living blacklegged ticks in infested areas. This topical treatment technology is an important development in the control of ticks, and may become an integral part of control efforts aimed at reducing the risk of Lyme disease, human ehrlichiosis, and other debilitating or potentially fatal diseases that are transmitted to humans as a result of being bitten by ticks.
Technical Abstract: A 4-yr study to control the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis, using the poster' deer feeder and application station was initiated in October, 1995, two locations in Prince Georges's County, MD. Both locations had similar flora and fauna. Four deer stations were placed at the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA), Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD Dno stations were placed at the non-treatment location, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD. Pretreatment sampling of deer, plots, and mic for I. scapularis indicated similar populations at both locations. Ten percent permethrin, supplied to 4 rollers on each station was passively transferred to the head, neck, and ears of free-ranging deer feeding from t stations. This control method caused complete elimination of adult I. scapularis on sampled deer (100% control) during the 2nd and 3rd yr of treatment. During the 3rd yr of treatment, adult, nymphal, and larval questing ticks were controlled by 91-100% from sampled plots, and nymphal larval ticks were controlled by 70-90% on sampled mice. Although complete elimination may not be achievable because of tick immigration on vertebral hosts, a greater level of control of the I. scapularis population might be accomplished by continued use of this control method. We report the first successful long-term control of all active stages of I. scapularis using minimal amounts of permethrin applied to free-ranging white-tailed deer.