A theoretical analysis of the feasibility of controlling tick populations (Ixodidae) by the release of reared Ixodiphagus parasitoids in tick ecosystems yielded promising results. The analysis suggested that if reasonable progress could be made in mass-rearing the parasitoids, it would be possible to control the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis (Say), the vector of Lyme disease, by this biological control procedure. Lyme disease has become the most important vector-borne disease in the United States. In a field-release experiment conducted in Africa by members of the International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology, effective control of Amblyomma variegatum (F.) was obtained by the release of Ixodiphagus parasitoids in tick habitats. Encouraging theoretical results along with the encouraging results of a field-release experiment indicate the need for civil and political leaders in countries where ticks are a major problem to sponsor strong and well-coordinated research initiatives focused on the development of this new method of dealing with tick problems.
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Vol. 37 • No. 5