We conclude a mark-recapture study in which drag-collected ticks were removed from some park trails weekly from April to July. Weekly survival rates (probability of surviving and remaining on the trails) were significantly lower on trials used heavily by hikers, horses, and pets than on trails used less frequently. Although usage was the only obvious difference among these trails, differences in weekly survival rate estimates may be attributable to differential success in acquiring hosts. The estimated probability of capturing a host-seeking tick located along a trail on a single drag was 0.20 on the drag alone, and 0.25 including the person dragging. When routes parallel to the trails and of equal lengths were dragged immediately after sampling the trails, only .apprxeq. 5% as many ticks (including ticks on the person dragging) were found off the trails as on them. We found no evidence of reduced tick numbers on removal trails, but this result should be considered inconclusive because the power of the discerning test was low. However, the data reported here provide insights into turnover rates of the adult Dermacentor variabilis population and effectiveness of the drag as a sampling device.
Additional publication details
Population dynamics of American dog ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) along park trails