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ARS Home » Plains Area » Kerrville, Texas » Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory » LAPRU » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #342107

Research Project: Cattle Fever Tick Control and Eradication

Location: Livestock Arthropod Pests Research

Title: Cattle Fever Tick, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus, (Acari: Ixodidae): potential control on pastures by the application of urea fertilizer

Author
item Leal, Brenda - University Of Texas Rio Grande Valley
item Thomas, Donald
item Dearth, Robert - University Of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Submitted to: Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/16/2017
Publication Date: 5/16/2017
Citation: Leal, B., Thomas, D.B., Dearth, R. 2017. Cattle Fever Tick, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus (Acari: Ixodidae): potential control on pastures by the application of urea fertilizer. Veterinary Parasitology. 241:39-42.

Interpretive Summary: Cattle fever ticks spend as much as 80-90% of the life cycle in the juvenile stage searching for a warm-blooded host, usually cattle. Standard tick control methods mostly involve dipping, spraying or medicating the cattle to disinfest them. Alternatively, researchers have investigated the possibility of reducing tick populations in cattle pastures. Granular urea is applied to agricultural crops, sometimes including pastures, as a fertilizer. We tested urea using standard pesticide efficacy methods in both the laboratory and field trials to determine if there was toxicity or residual impact on adult reproduction and larval survival. Under the conditions of this present study, there was no detectable effect on either adults or juvenile stages in the laboratory or in the field.

Technical Abstract: The southern cattle fever tick, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus, spends as much as 80–90% of its life cycle as a larva questing for a host. Standard control methods are limited to on-host applications, leaving a need for methods directed at the pasture infesting stages. Reports from Brazil indicate that pasture fertilization can reduce tick numbers. Granular urea was tested using standard pesticide efficacy methods in both the laboratory and field trials to determine if there was a significant impact on adult reproduction and larval survival. Under the conditions of this present study, there was no detectable effect on either female adults or larval stages. Ammonification in the soil may be a key factor limiting the impact of fertilizer treatments.