A 3-yr community-based study was conducted on residential properties on Mason’s Island, Mystic, CT, to determine the efficacy of a rodent-targeted acaricide (fipronil) to control immature Ixodes scapularis (Say) on Peromyscus leucopus. Results indicated that modified commercial bait boxes were effective as an acaricide delivery method for reducing nymphal and larval tick infestations on white-footed mice by 68 and 84%, respectively. Passive application of fipronil significantly reduced the infection rate of Borrelia burgdorferi among white-footed mice by 53%. Moreover, the abundance of questing I. scapularis adults on treated properties was reduced by 77% and fewer were infected with spirochetes (31%) compared with untreated sites (47%) after 3 yr of treatment. Likewise, the abundance of host-seeking nymphs was significantly reduced on treated properties by >50%. Finally, infection rates in flagged nymphal ticks for both B. burgdorferi and Anaplasma phagocytophilum were reduced by 67 and 64%, respectively, after only 2 yr of treatment. Results from this 3-yr trial indicate that the use of fipronil passively applied to reservoir animals by bait boxes is an environmentally acceptable means to control ticks, interrupt the natural disease transmission cycle, and reduce the risk of Lyme disease for residents of treated properties.
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Vol. 41 • No. 6