Topical treatment of white-tailed deer with an acaricide for the control of Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae) in a Connecticut Lyme borreliosis hyperendemic Community

Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2009 Aug;9(4):371-9. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2008.0161.


The 4-Poster device for the topical treatment of white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus (Zimmermann), against ticks using the acaricide amitraz, was evaluated in a Lyme borreliosis endemic community in Connecticut. As part of a 5-year project from 1997 to 2002, 21-24 of the 4-Posters were distributed at residential sites in Old Lyme, CT, in a core treatment area of approximately 5.2 km(2) in fall 1997. The 4-Posters were active October to mid-December and March into May, corresponding to the peak periods of activity for adult Ixodes scapularis in this particular area. Corn consumption ranged from 361 to 4789 kg/month for October and November and 696-3130 kg/month during April. Usage of 4-Posters by deer generally was high (>90%), except during acorn masts in fall 1998 and 2001. Amitraz was applied by rollers at the estimated rate of 1.3 g active ingredient/ha/year. The abundance of host-seeking I. scapularis nymphs declined significantly (p < 0.001) in the core treatment area, as compared to a control community in Old Saybrook, CT, through 2004, over the project period from 1998 to 2003, from 9.3/100m(2) to 0.97/100m(2), rising to 1.90/100m(2) in 2004. From 1999 through 2003, there were 46.1%, 49.6%, 63.4%, 64.6%, and 70.2% reductions, respectively, in the nymphal tick population in comparison with the untreated community and initial tick abundance in 1998. Control of I. scapularis adults declined to only 19.1% in 2004; 2 years after the treatment of deer was discontinued. Differences in nymphal tick abundance between the control and core treatment area were significant in 1999 (p = 0.042) and highly significant in 2001 (p < 0.001) and 2002 (p = 0.002). The passive topical application to deer of the acaricide amitraz resulted in a significant decrease in the population of free-living I. scapularis nymphs in the treated core in Connecticut.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acaricides / administration & dosage*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animal Feed
  • Animals
  • Arachnid Vectors / growth & development
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / growth & development
  • Connecticut
  • Deer / parasitology*
  • Endemic Diseases / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Ixodes* / growth & development
  • Lyme Disease / prevention & control*
  • Mid-Atlantic Region
  • Nymph
  • Rhode Island
  • Tick Control / methods*
  • Tick Infestations / prevention & control
  • Tick Infestations / veterinary*
  • Zea mays


  • Acaricides