2022 journal article

Mechanical Acaricides Active against the Blacklegged Tick, Ixodes scapularis


By: E. Richardson n, L. Ponnusamy & R. Roe

Source: ORCID
Added: July 31, 2022

Cases of Lyme disease in humans are on the rise in the United States and Canada. The vector of the bacteria that causes this disease is the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis. Current control methods for I. scapularis mainly involve chemical acaricides. Unfortunately, ticks are developing resistance to these chemicals, and more and more, the public prefers non-toxic alternatives to chemical pesticides. We discovered that volcanic glass, ImergardTM WP, and other industrial minerals such as Celite 610 were efficacious mechanical insecticides against mosquitoes, filth flies, and agricultural pests. In this report, when 6–10- and 50–70-day old unfed I. scapularis nymphs were dipped for 1–2 s into Celite, the time to 50% mortality (LT50) was 66.8 and 81.7 min, respectively, at 30 °C and 50% relative humidity (RH). The LT50 was actually shorter at a higher 70% RH, 43.8 min. Scanning electron microscopy showed that the ticks were coated over most of their body surface, including partial to almost total coverage of the opening to their respiratory system. The other mechanical insecticide, Imergard, had similar efficacy against blacklegged unfed nymphs with an LT50 at 30 °C and 50% RH of 70.4 min. Although more research is needed, this study suggests that industrial minerals could be used as an alternative to chemical pesticides to control ticks and Lyme disease.