The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) announced that a vaccine used in combination with safer pesticides has eradicated a multi-pesticide resistant population of cattle ticks from a dairy and beef production farm in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. In August 2020, multi-pesticide resistant Southern Cattle Ticks (Tropical Cattle Ticks) were detected in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico and immediately considered a threat to the cattle industry. ARS researchers partnered with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and the Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture to establish an ad-hoc research team on the island that would manage and prevent multi-pesticide resistant cattle ticks from spreading to other parts of the island.
Tropical Cattle Ticks are vectors of pathogens that cause bovine babesiosis and anaplasmosis in the Puerto Rico cattle population. Both diseases can cause significant morbidity and mortality in herds, with bovine babesiosis being the most severe. “This project provides many benefits to the dairy and beef industries in Puerto Rico, as it has developed alternative methods of tick control that are safer for human use and do not produce harmful environmental impacts,” said Dr. Fred Soltero, APHIS area veterinarian in charge for Puerto Rico. “It also reduces the intervention time, so it is more economical for the producers. Research will continue until July 2021