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Research Project: Integrated Pest Management of Cattle Fever Ticks

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Title: Evaluation of the repellency of Stop the Bites® botanical acaricide to white-tailed deer at corn feeders

Author
item Goolsby, John
item MAESTAS, LAUREN
item Saelao, Perot
item Lohmeyer, Kimberly - Kim

Submitted to: Southwestern Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/7/2022
Publication Date: 6/17/2022
Citation: Goolsby, J., Maestas, L.P., Saelao, P., Lohmeyer, K.H. 2022. Evaluation of the repellency of Stop the Bites® botanical acaricide to white-tailed deer at corn feeders. Southwestern Entomologist. https://doi.org/10.3958/059.047.0202.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3958/059.047.0202

Interpretive Summary: Cattle fever ticks (CFT) are invasive livestock pests that are endemic to Mexico and invasive along the Texas – Mexico border. Pesticide resistance, alternate wildlife hosts, and pasture weeds that help ticks survive all present challenges for sustainable eradication of this pest in the U.S. CFT are the vector for bovine babesiosis, a lethal disease causing high mortality particularly in cattle. Efforts to eradicate CFT from the United States have been successful; however, in recent years, there has been an increase in CFT infestations outside of the Permanent Quarantine Zone in Texas. New methods for treatment of cattle fever tick-infested whitetailed-deer and nilgai are needed. Currently methods for treatment of CFT infested white-tailed deer include ivermectin medicated corn at corn feeders. However, medicated corn must be removed two months prior to start of the hunting season. Therefore, alternative treatments are needed that can be used during the hunting season. Stop the Bites®, a botanical acaricide could be potentially used during the hunting season, but its repellency to deer at corn feeders was not known. To test the repellency of the acaricide, paired corn feeders were set up so that one feeder could be treated with Stop the Bites® and the other used as an untreated control. Treatments included a ground spray around the feeders applied weekly for six weeks, and following this remotely activated sprayers were set up at the feeders for six weeks of direct treatment as the deer fed on corn. Neither the ground or direct treatments caused any significant difference in feeding by the deer. Therefore, the further research on the use of Stop the Bites® as an alternative treatment is warranted.

Technical Abstract: Stop the bites® botanical acaricide was evaluated for its repellent properties against white-tailed deer at supplemental corn feeders in Cameron County, TX. The acaricide was tested as a ground treatment around feeders and as spray applied directly to deer as they consumed corn at supplemental feeders. In both treatments there was no significant difference in number of white-tailed deer at the feeders as compared to the paired untreated controls. This botanical acaricide may be useful for treatment of cattle fever ticks (Rhipicephalus microplus (Canestrini), Rhipicephalus annulatus (Say)) infested deer at supplemental corn feeders during the hunting season when ivermectin treated corn is withdrawn, or for treatment of nilgai at fence crossings using the remotely operated sprayer.