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Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae) deer tick mesoscale populations in natural areas: effects of deer, area, and location.

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Abstract

Nymphal Ixodes scapularis Say deer ticks were collected at 22 parks or other natural areas on Long Island, New York, to examine the relationship between tick populations and geographic position, size of area, presence of white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus (Zimmerman), and numbers of human
Lyme disease cases in adjacent communities. Nymphal ticks were 93% less abundant when deer were absent and were also less common in smaller natural areas. Geographic position on Long Island was not important. Tick numbers were significantly correlated with human
Lyme disease incidence in adjacent townships. A second survey of larval ticks from five areas where deer were absent and six where deer were present found larvae present at four of the five sites without deer, but at only 2% of the levels found where deer were present. These results suggest that populations of I. scapularis can occur and reproduce in the absence of white-tailed deer, so that eradication of all deer would greatly reduce, but not eliminate, all risk of
Lyme disease.

J Med Entomol. 1994 Jan;31(1):152-8. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t; Research Support, U.S. Gov’t, P.H.S.

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