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Populations of Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae) are modulated by drought at a Lyme disease focus in Illinois.

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From 1990 through 1997, Ixodes scapularis Say larvae and nymphs were sampled between May and October along a 400-m segment of a nature trail in a
Lyme disease endemic site in northern Illinois. Ticks were removed from Peromyscus leucopus mice and collected via tick drags at approximately 3-wk intervals. Mouse population estimates along the trail varied from 2, in the spring of 1996 following a year of drought, to > 200 in 1993, the wettest year on record. During the 8-yr period, there were major droughts during the summers of 1991 and 1995. Cumulative degree-days were positively correlated with the number of ticks collected on drags in the same year and negatively correlated with larval tick populations for the following year (P < 0.05). Cumulative rainfall was positively correlated with larval tick abundance for the following year. This was most readily apparent by examination of the larval density on captured mice. In the year following each of two drought years, larval densities were significantly depressed compared with the 8-yr average at the site.

J Med Entomol. 2000 May;37(3):408-15. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t; Research Support, U.S. Gov’t, P.H.S.

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