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Managing plague on prairie dog colonies: Insecticides as ectoparasiticides

June 3, 2020

Human health practitioners and wildlife biologists use insecticides to manage plague by suppressing fleas (Siphonaptera), but insecticides can also kill other ectoparasites. We investigated effects of deltamethrin and fipronil on ectoparasites from black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus, BTPDs). In late July, 2018, we treated three sites with 0.05% deltamethrin dust and 5 sites with host-fed 0.005% fipronil grain. Three non-treated sites functioned as experimental baselines. We collected ectoparasites before treatments (June-July, 2018) and after treatments (August-October, 2018, June-July, 2019). Both deltamethrin and fipronil suppressed fleas for at least 12 months. Deltamethrin had no detectable effect on mites (Arachnida). Fipronil suppressed mites for at least 12 months. Lice (Phthiraptera) were scarce on non-treated sites throughout the study, complicating interpretation. Concentrating on eight sites where all three ectoparasites where found in June-July, 2018 (before treatments), flea intensity was greatest on BTPDs carrying many lice and mites. These three ectoparasites co-occurred at high numbers, which might facilitate plague transmission in some cases. Lethal effects of insecticides on ectoparasite communities are potentially advantageous in the context of plague management.

Publication Year 2020
Title Managing plague on prairie dog colonies: Insecticides as ectoparasiticides
DOI 10.1111/jvec.12375
Authors David A. Eads, Alexis Yashin, Lauren Nobel, Michele Vasquez, Miranda Huang, Travis M. Livieri, Phillip Dobesh, Eddie Childers, Dean E. Biggins
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Vector Ecology
Index ID 70228862
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Fort Collins Science Center