Control of Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae) with topical self-application of permethrin by white-tailed deer inhabiting NASA, Beltsville, Maryland

J Vector Ecol. 2003 Jun;28(1):117-34.


We report the first successful area-wide reduction of Ixodes scapularis by using minimal amounts of permethrin self-applied by free-ranging white-tailed deer in as little as 3 y of nearly continuous treatment. The study to control all active stages of L. scapularis Say was initiated in April 1995, at the Goddard Space Flight Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Beltsville, Maryland (treated location), and the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, Maryland (non-treated location). The locations had similar flora and fauna, and pre-treatment sampling (April to October 1995) of deer, plots, and mice for I. scapularis indicated nearly similar tick populations at both locations. After pre-treatment sampling, 4 deer '4-poster' stations were placed at NASA, while the control area received none. Ten percent permethrin, supplied to 4 roller covers on each station, was passively transferred to the head, neck, and ears of free-ranging deer feeding at the stations. This treatment resulted in elimination of adult I. scapularis on sampled deer (100% control) by the 2nd y of treatment and reductions of immature tick stages on mice. During the 3rd y of treatment, adult, nymphal, and larval questing ticks were reduced by 91-100% from sampled plots, and nymphal and larval ticks were reduced by 70-95% on sampled mice.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Deer / parasitology*
  • Humans
  • Insecticides / administration & dosage*
  • Insecticides / pharmacology
  • Ixodes / pathogenicity*
  • Larva
  • Lyme Disease / prevention & control*
  • Maryland
  • Permethrin / administration & dosage*
  • Permethrin / pharmacology
  • Tick Infestations / prevention & control*
  • Tick Infestations / veterinary*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Insecticides
  • Permethrin