Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Kerrville, Texas » Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory » LAPRU » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #384918

Research Project: Integrated Pest Management of Cattle Fever Ticks

Location: Livestock Arthropod Pests Research

Title: Climate change and alternative hosts complicate the eradication of cattle fever ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) in the southern United States, a review

Author
item Osbrink, Weste
item Thomas, Donald
item Lohmeyer, Kimberly - Kim
item Temeyer, Kevin

Submitted to: Annals of the Entomological Society of America
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/10/2021
Publication Date: 10/8/2021
Citation: Osbrink, W.L., Thomas, D.B., Lohmeyer, K.H., Temeyer, K.B. 2021. Climate change and alternative hosts complicate the eradication of cattle fever ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) in the southern United States, a review. Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 20. https://doi.org/10.1093/aesa/saab034.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/aesa/saab034

Interpretive Summary: Potential reinvasion of the United States by cattle fever ticks, which are established in Mexico, threatens the domestic cattle industry because these ticks vector a serious blood disease to cattle that causes high mortality in naïve animals. If re-established in the United States, this disease could cost the cattle industry over a billion dollars annually. Over the last several decades, white-tailed deer and nilgai antelope populations have significantly increased in south Texas making it increasingly more difficult for the Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program to keep cattle fever ticks out of the United States. We present a review of scientific research on technologies that could be used for area-wide management of cattle fever ticks.

Technical Abstract: Potential reinvasion of the United States by cattle fever ticks, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) annulatus (Say) and R. microplus (Canestrini), which are endemic in Mexico, threatens the domestic livestock industry because these ticks vector the causal agents (Babesia bovis (Babes) and B. bigemina Smith & Kilborne) of bovine babesiosis. The Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program safeguards health of the national cattle herd preventing re-emergence of bovine babesiosis by keeping the United States cattle fever tick-free. Free-living southern cattle tick, R. microplus, larvae have been collected from vegetation in the wildlife corridor of Cameron and Willacy Counties, TX. Finding R. microplus larvae on vegetation complements reported infestations in wildlife hosts inhabiting the south Texas coastal plains. Tremendous population increases of native white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus (Zimmermann), and exotic nilgai antelope Boselaphus tragocamelus (Pallas), both of which are definitive hosts for the cattle fever tick, support local tick populations independent of cattle. Increasing prevalence of native and exotic exotic ungulates, widespread tick acaracide resistance, climate change, and presence of additional invasive tick species further undermine efforts to control bovine babesiosis. Thus, ecological conditions have changed since cattle fever ticks were eradicated from the United States (1943) using cattle-centric control strategies. These changes complicate efforts to control ticks.