"Potential of the Sterile Insect Technique for Control of Deer Ticks, Ixodes scapularis"

"The deer tick, Ixodes scapularis, is a vector for numerous human diseases, including Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and babesiosis. Concern is rising in the US and abroad as the population and range of this species grow and new diseases emerge. Herein I consider the potential for control of I. scapularis using the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), which acts by reducing net fertility through release of sterile males. I construct a population model with density-dependent and -independent growth, migration, and an Allee effect (decline of the population when it is small), and use this model to simulate sterile tick release in both single- and multi-patch frameworks. I test two key concerns with implementing I. scapularis SIT: that the ticks' lengthy life course could make control take too long and that low migration might mean sterile males need thorough manual dispersal to all parts of the control area. Results suggest that I. scapularis SIT programs will typically take eight years, which is near the normal range, and that thorough distribution of the sterile ticks over the control area is indeed critical, necessitating aerial release and thereby increasing expense substantially. With particularly high rearing costs also expected for I. scapularis, the release distribution finding suggests that cost-effectiveness improvements to aerial release may be a prerequisite to I. scapularis SIT."

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OBJ OBJ datastream 3.13 MiB application/pdf 2021-06-01
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