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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #319350

Title: Laboratory and field evaluation of brown dog tick behavioral responses to potential semiochemicals

item CARNOHOHAN, LUCAS - University Of Florida
item KAUFMAN, PHILLIP - University Of Florida
item Allan, Sandra - Sandy
item GEZAN, SALVADORE - University Of Florida
item WEEKS, EMMA - University Of Florida

Submitted to: Ticks and Tick Borne Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/17/2016
Publication Date: 1/12/2017
Citation: Carnohohan, L.P., Kaufman, P.E., Allan, S.A., Gezan, S.A., Weeks, E.N. 2017. Laboratory and field evaluation of brown dog tick behavioral responses to potential semiochemicals. Ticks and Tick Borne Diseases. 8(2):226-234.

Interpretive Summary: Brown dog ticks are serious residential pests affecting both dog health and human health not only through disease transmission but also through pesticide exposure during efforts to control the ticks. Control is particularly challenging due to difficulty in effective treatment of locations where ticks may be present. Pesticide resistance by ticks has been recently reported and is widespread through Florida. Effective surveillance is critical for determining when and where to apply pesticide treatments; however, no traps are currently available to assess tick populations indoors. In this study conducted at the USDA Agriculture Research Service, Center for Medical, Veterinary and Agricultural Entomology in Gainesville Florida, scientists evaluated several chemicals individually and in combination in laboratory assays to determine the most effective chemicals that attract ticks. When tested in semi-field situations, traps with these chemical attractants were very effective towards released brown dog ticks. These attractant and trap combinations are the first effective surveillance method developed for the brown dog ticks and can form an essential tool for development of an integrative pest management strategy.

Technical Abstract: The brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus (Latreille), is a pest that can be found worldwide. This tick poses unique difficulties in management because it can complete its entire life cycle indoors and has demonstrated acaricide resistance, resulting in infestations in residential areas and kennels. A missing component of an effective indoor tick control program is the ability to monitor populations for presence or abundance. As such, an evaluation of brown dog tick response to 16 potential tick semiochemicals with and without CO2 was undertaken using Y-tube and straight-tube olfactometers. Five adults were placed into a Y-tube olfactometer with directionally induced airflow. Both males and females were activated by nine of the 16 semiochemicals tested, including 1.0% solutions of 1-octen-3-ol, benzaldehyde, benzyl alcohol, hexanoic acid, nonanoic acid, methyl salicylate, o-nitrophenol, 2,6-dichlorophenol and salicylaldehyde. These nine chemicals were used in straight-tube olfactometers, individually at 1.0% concentrations and as mixtures, to quantify R. sanguineus behaviors including: tick movement, time to activation, number of end touches, and number of direction changes. Mixtures of the chemicals did not enhance tick responses but three individual compounds, 1-octen-3-ol, hexanoic acid, and methyl salicylate induced particularly strong responses from brown dog ticks. These three compounds were further evaluated in a semi-field setting using a modified bed bug trap but were found to provide no significant increase in attraction compared with carbon dioxide alone. The results of these studies provide a foundation for future research regarding the semiochemical attractants of R. sanguineus.