The United States Department of Agriculture's Northeast Area-wide Tick Control Project: Summary and conclusions

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From 1997 to 2002, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Northeast Area-wide Tick Control Project used acaricide-treated 4-Poster Deer Treatment Bait Stations in five eastern states to control ticks feeding on white-tailed deer. The objectives of this host-targeted technology were to reduce free-living blacklegged (Ixodes scapularis Say) and lone star (Amblyomma americanum [L.]) tick populations and thereby to reduce the risk of tick-borne disease. During 2002 to 2004, treatments were suspended, and tick population recovery rates were assayed. Subsequently, the major factors that influenced variations in efficacy were extrapolated to better understand and improve this technology. Treatments resulted in significant reductions in free-living populations of nymphal blacklegged ticks at six of the seven sites, and lone star ticks were significantly reduced at all three sites where they were present. During the study, maximal significant (p ≤ 0.05) efficacies against nymphal blacklegged and lone star ticks at individual sites ranged from 60.0 to 81.7 and 90.9 to 99.5%, respectively. The major environmental factor that reduced efficacy was the occurrence of heavy acorn masts, which provided an alternative food resource for deer. Although the 4-Poster technology requires 1 or more years to show efficacy, this host-targeted intervention was demonstrated to be an efficacious, economical, safe, and environment-friendly alternative to area-wide spraying of acaricide to control free-living populations of these tick species. © Copyright 2009, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases