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J Med Entomol. 1993 Nov;30(6):986-96.

Reduced abundance of Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae) with exclusion of deer by electric fencing.

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Department of Entomology, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, New Haven 06504.


To assess the effect of deer exclusion on populations of Ixodes scapularis Say (formerly I. dammini Spielman, Clifford, Piesman & Corwin) in the northeastern United States, host-seeking ticks and ticks on white-footed mice, Peromyscus leucopus (Rafinesque), were monitored inside and outside a wooded, residential deer exclosure (approximately 3.5 ha) in Lyme, CT, in 1991 and 1992. Another deer exclosure was added in Lyme (approximately 7.4 ha) during 1992. Additional sample sites at other residences served as secondary controls. A seven-wire, slanted, high-tensile electric deer fence was used at both areas. Larvae of I. scapularis were 81.5% (1991) and 97.8% (1992) less abundant within the exclosure than immediately outside the deer exclosures. Nymphs of I. scapularis were 47.4% (1991) and 55.8% (1992) less abundant within the deer fence. The effect on adult ticks was mixed. No difference in tick abundance was seen at the 3.5-ha site. However, larvae, nymphs, and adults were 100, 83.8, and 74.1% less abundant, respectively, in plots at the 7.4-ha exclosure > or = 70 m from the deer fence and isolated from woodlands outside the fence by lawns, driveways, and buildings. The recovery of larvae and nymphs of I. scapularis from mice captured within the deer exclosures indicates that infestations of nymphs and adults are probably, at least in part, a result of the movement of these rodents. Based upon the number of nymphs per 100 m2 infected with Borrelia burgdorferi Johnson, Schmid, Hyde, Steigerwalt & Brenner, the causal agent of Lyme disease, there were 73 and 82% fewer infected nymphs within the deer exclosures in 1992 in comparison with the number of infected ticks outside the fence and at the secondary control sites, respectively. The exclusion of deer in conjunction with other tick control strategies in large areas could substantially reduce populations of I. scapularis and the risk of acquiring Lyme disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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