Factors associated with the increased usage of electronic devices, wireless technologies and mobile phones nowadays are present in increasing amounts in our environment. All living organisms are constantly affected by electromagnetic radiation which causes serious environmental pollution. The distribution and density of ticks in natural habitats is influenced by a complex of abiotic and biotic factors. Exposure to radio-frequency electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) constitutes a potential cause altering the presence and distribution of ticks in the environment. Our main objective was to determine the affinity of Dermacentor reticulatus ticks towards RF-EMF exposure. Originally designed and constructed radiation-shielded tube (RST) test was used to test the affinity of ticks under controlled laboratory conditions. All test were performed in an electromagnetic compatibility laboratory in an anechoic chamber. Ticks were irradiated using a Double-Ridged Waveguide Horn Antenna to RF-EMF at 900 and 5000 MHz, 0 MHz was used as control. The RF-EMF exposure to 900 MHz induced a higher concentration of ticks on irradiated arm of RST as opposed to the RF-EMF at 5000 MHz, which caused an escape of ticks to the shielded arm. This study represents the first experimental evidence of RF-EMF preference in D. reticulatus. The projection of obtained results to the natural environment could help assess the risk of tick borne diseases and could be a tool of preventive medicine.
Keywords: Dermacentor reticulatus; Electromagnetic field; Radiation-shielded tube test.