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Article

Mechanical Acaricides Active against the Blacklegged Tick, Ixodes scapularis

Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, 3230 Ligon Street, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
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Academic Editor: Tim J. Lysyk
Insects 2022, 13(8), 672; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13080672
Received: 18 June 2022 / Revised: 22 July 2022 / Accepted: 23 July 2022 / Published: 26 July 2022
(This article belongs to the Section Medical and Livestock Entomology)
Ixodes scapularis, also known as the blacklegged tick or deer tick, is the vector of the bacteria that causes Lyme disease in humans, the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. Synthetic chemical pesticides are used to control ticks. Environmentally friendly, new methods are needed to manage chemical pesticide resistance. We evaluated the efficacy of the industrial mineral, Celite 610, an amorphous silica, against unfed I. scapularis nymphs. Celite is found in nature and has a mechanical, non-toxic mode of action. Dipping ticks into Celite for 1–2 s resulted in 90% mortality in as little as 69 min. Scanning electron microscopy suggested that one mode of action could be the physical obstruction of respiration. We developed another industrial mineral made from volcanic glass, ImergardTM WP, for mosquito and filth fly control. In studies here, Imergard had similar activity as Celite against the deer tick. This research, although needing further study, suggests that industrial minerals could be a new, safe (“found in toothpaste”) and persistent (“it’s rock”) alternative to chemical pesticides to control ticks.
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: industrial minerals; Celite 610; ImergardTM WP; diatomaceous earth; perlite industrial minerals; Celite 610; ImergardTM WP; diatomaceous earth; perlite
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MDPI and ACS Style

Richardson, E.A.; Ponnusamy, L.; Roe, R.M. Mechanical Acaricides Active against the Blacklegged Tick, Ixodes scapularis. Insects 2022, 13, 672. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13080672

AMA Style

Richardson EA, Ponnusamy L, Roe RM. Mechanical Acaricides Active against the Blacklegged Tick, Ixodes scapularis. Insects. 2022; 13(8):672. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13080672

Chicago/Turabian Style

Richardson, Elise A., Loganathan Ponnusamy, and R. Michael Roe. 2022. "Mechanical Acaricides Active against the Blacklegged Tick, Ixodes scapularis" Insects 13, no. 8: 672. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13080672

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