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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Reducing tick burdens on chicks by treating breeding female grouse with permethrin

item Mougeot, Francois
item Moseley, Mark
item Leckie, Fiona
item Martinez-padilla, Jesus
item Miller, Allen
item Pound, Joe
item Irvine, R. Justin

Submitted to: Journal of Wildlife Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/5/2008
Publication Date: 2/4/2008
Publication URL:
Citation: Mougeot, F., Moseley, M., Leckie, F., Martinez-Padilla, J., Miller, A., Pound, J.M., Irvine, R. 2008. Reducing tick burdens on chicks by treating breeding female grouse with permethrin. Journal of Wildlife Management. 72(2):468-472.

Interpretive Summary: The red grouse is the most prized game bird of Scotland and is of high economic value to the landowners. A major factor limiting populations of this bird is the transmission of the often fatal Louping ill virus to young grouse chicks through the bite of sheep ticks. ARS scientists developed pesticide impregnated leg bands that, when applied around the legs of adult female birds, reduce the numbers of ticks that feed on chicks as they huddle beneath the females. This study used the leg band technology to demonstrate roughly a 7 to 10-fold reduction in ticks feeding on chicks, and from these data it was concluded that large scale treatment of females could increase survival and post-breeding densities of chicks especially where tick densities and the prevalence of Louping ill virus are high.

Technical Abstract: Ticks are important arthropod vectors of diseases of human, livestock, and wildlife hosts. In the United Kingdom, the sheep tick (Ixodes ricinus) is increasingly recognized as a main limiting factor of red grouse (Lagopus lagopus) populations, a game bird of high economic value. We evaluated the effectiveness of a new practical technique that could help managers reduce negative impacts of ticks on young grouse. In a replicated field experiment, we treated breeding females with leg bands impregnated with permethrin, a slow-releasing potent acaricide. We found that treatment reduced tick burdens on young chicks. Because this treatment is easily applied, it offers a new practical management tool to tackle problems caused by ticks in game bird populations.

Last Modified: 09/19/2017
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