ABUNDANCE OF THE DEER TICK, IXODES DAMMINI (ACARI: IXODIDAE) IN A LYME DISEASE ENDEMIC AREA OF SOUTHERN NEW YORK STATE

RICHARD CHARLES FALCO, Fordham University

Abstract

Methods of estimating the abundance of the deer tick, Ixodes dammini, were developed and applied in a Lyme disease endemic area of Westchester County, N.Y. Carbon dioxide-baited tick traps were determined to be effective in sampling I. dammini populations. Four of these traps collected as many as 712 larvae from a single site over a one week period. But, there was no correlation between the numbers of larvae collected from CO(,2)-baited traps and those found parasitizing mice (Peromyscus leucopus) at all of 9 sites studied. Mark-release-recapture experiments showed the CO(,2)-baited traps to be effective in attracting nymphal and adult ticks from average distances of 1.2 m and 1.8 m, respectively, after 6 days. Regression analysis indicates that the attraction distance of traps is a function of time (r('2) = 0.765). Fluorescent powder was determined to be an efficient method of marking ticks for recapture without causing significant mortality.^ A comparison among three methods of sampling I. dammini populations (host trapping, dragging, and CO(,2)-baited traps) showed a significant difference in the numbers of immature ticks collected (analysis of covariance, p < 0.05). All sampling methods were effective in demonstrating the seasonal activity of immature ticks. The dragging method, employing a 1 m('2) flannel cloth, was determined to be the most reliable method for sampling immature I. dammini populations.^ I. dammini infected with the Lyme disease spirochete were shown to be prevalent near the homes of Lyme disease patients, with over 600 adults estimated to occur on a single lawn. I. dammini was also prevalent in 7 of 8 recreational parks studied. At one park, the average distance travelled before encountering a nymphal or adult I. dammini as determined by dragging was only 36 m. Four parks were classified as high risk and four low risk for subjecting patrons to Lyme disease.^ A study of ticks submitted from tick bite victims in Westchester County revealed I. dammini to be the most abundant pest species, accounting for 76.2% of all tick bites. I. dammini bites were reported during all months except December and February and involved all life stages. ^

Subject Area

Entomology

Recommended Citation

FALCO, RICHARD CHARLES, "ABUNDANCE OF THE DEER TICK, IXODES DAMMINI (ACARI: IXODIDAE) IN A LYME DISEASE ENDEMIC AREA OF SOUTHERN NEW YORK STATE" (1987). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8714587.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8714587

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