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Assessing Effectiveness of Recommended Residential Yard Management Measures Against Ticks

Journal Article
Abstract

Abstract
Public health authorities recommend a range of nonchemical measures to control blacklegged ticks Ixodes scapularis Say, 1821 (Ixodida: Ixodidae) in residential yards. Here we enumerate these recommendations and assess their relationship to larval tick abundance in 143 yards in Dutchess County, New York, an area with high Lyme disease incidence. We examined the relationship between larval tick abundance and eight property features related to recommendations from public health agencies: presence or absence of outdoor cats, wood piles, trash, stone walls, wood chip barriers separating lawn from adjacent forest, bird feeders, fencing, and prevalence of Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii DC [Ranunculales: Berberidaceae]). We assessed abundance of larval ticks using two methods, flagging for questing ticks and visual examination of ticks on white-footed mice Peromyscus leucopus Rafinesque, 1818 (Rodentia: Cricetidae). More questing larvae were found in yards where trash or stone walls were present. These effects were less pronounced as forest area increased within the yard. Counts of larvae per mouse were lower in properties with >75% of the yard fenced than in properties with less fencing. We find partial support for recommendations regarding trash, stone walls, and fencing. We did not detect effects of outdoor cats, bird feeders, barriers, wood piles, or Japanese barberry. There was low statistical power to detect effects of ground barriers (gravel, mulch, or woodchip), which were present in only two properties.

Year of Publication
2019
Journal
Journal of Medical Entomology
Volume
56
Issue
5
Pages
1420-1427
Publisher
Oxford University Press (OUP)
ISSN
0022-2585, 1938-2928
DOI 10.1093/jme/tjz077