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The spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi Johnson, Schmid, Hyde, Steigerwalt & Benner is transmitted by Ixodes scapularis Say, a vector of
Lyme disease. As a 1st step into investigating the possibility of biocontrol of the tick, we identified the microbiota associated with the ticks. We collected, identified, and determined the sex of ticks from foliage and deer. Seventy-three initial bacterial isolates were recovered from 43 ticks (27 adults and 16 nymphs). The bacteria isolated from nymphs were qualitatively different (mainly gram-negative cocci) from the bacteria isolated from adult ticks (gram-negative and gram-positive rods). To determine long-term viability, these isolates were stored for 6 mo under laboratory conditions. After storage, 63 surviving bacterial isolates were characterized using the Biology System of identification by substrate utilization. Forty-four isolates were identified to the species level. Our characterization efforts focused on the 40 spore-forming bacteria, which could prove useful in the biocontrol of ticks. Eleven species of Bacillus were identified. Bacillus thuringiensis-B. cereus was the predominant species group isolated. Six isolates from this group formed crystals.