Field efficacy of an emulsifiable concentrate formulation of the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae strain F52 for the control of Ixodes scapularis nymphs was evaluated at residential sites in northwestern Connecticut in 2007. Two spray applications with two rates, 3.2 × 105 and 1.3 × 106 spores/cm2, were made: the first on 8–9 May, 2–3 wk before nymphal activity, and the second on 29 June or 2 July when ticks were active. There was no significant difference in nymphal abundance between the three treatment groups (P = 0.490) after the first application, indicating that preseason or early applications are not effective, despite a bioasaay with yellow mealworms that showed spores in the treated areas was infective for at least 1 mo postapplication. By contrast, there was a significant difference in the number of nymphs collected between the treatments and control 3 wk (F = 16.928, df = 2, P < 0.001) and 5 wk (F = 6.627, df = 2, P = 0.002) after the second application. During the 3 wk after the second application, 87.1 and 96.1% fewer ticks were collected from lower and higher rate-treated sites, respectively, and after 5 wk, tick reductions were 53.2 and 73.8%, respectively. Over one- third (36.4% of 173) of the nymphs collected from the treated sites developed mycosis from M. anisopliae. The application of M. anisopliae strain F52 could provide another tool for the integrated approach to managing ticks in the residential landscape.
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Vol. 47 • No. 5