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Optimizing long-acting acaricide use for integrated tick management of Rhipicephalus australis-infesting cattle in New Caledonia

Abstract

The tick Rhipicephalus australis, formerly known as Rhipicephalus microplus, is the most economically important ectoparasite of livestock in New Caledonia, affecting cattle health and production. Decades of control attempts based on the application of chemical acaricides have exerted a strong selective pressure on R. australis populations, some of which have evolved resistance to these treatments. Research to develop integrated tick control programs is now focused on decreasing applications of chemicals. This study reports the implementation of a method of pasture and herd management involving minimal strategic use of long-acting acaricides, here defined as those having substantial efficacy against larvae for several weeks. Diverse parameters concerning the utilization of long-acting acaricides in association with pasture and herd management on 21 New Caledonian farms over a 5-year period were analyzed to optimize their strategic use. Longer larval acaricidal effect was achieved with a commercial pour-on formulation of fluazuron than with a commercial injectable (subcutaneous) formulation containing 3.15% ivermectin. Pasture and herd management allowed an increase in the delay between a long-lasting acaricide application and the subsequent acaricide treatment from 11.0 weeks to 17.7 weeks. However, if ticks were detected and reported by producers on the day of a long-acting acaricide application, the delay to the following treatment was reduced from 18.5 weeks to 11.2 weeks. The impact of a long-acting acaricide treatment on larval populations in pastures was greatest with a stocking rate of 5 animals per hectare grazing during 1 week. These results provide science-based evidence to cattle producers for adaptive integrated tick management in order to delay the development of acaricide resistance.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the technicians of the Groupement de Défense Sanitaire Animal for taking part in the data collection. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the authors. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Funding

The research of T. Hüe was funded by the 2017–2021 Development Contract with contributions from the French Government, the New Caledonian Government, and the South, North and Loyalty Islands Provinces. H.-H. Wang was partially supported by USDA-ARS and USDA-APHIS projects 58–3094-8–010 and 58–3094-9–016. The research of A.A. Pérez de León was funded through USDA-ARS appropriated project number 3094–32000-042–00-D.

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TH conceived and designed research, wrote original draft, and revised manuscript. TH and CF conducted experiments and collected data. HHW and WEG analyzed data and revised manuscript. PDT and APdL reviewed the manuscript. All authors read and approved the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Thomas Hüe.

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Hüe, T., Fontfreyde, C., Wang, HH. et al. Optimizing long-acting acaricide use for integrated tick management of Rhipicephalus australis-infesting cattle in New Caledonia. Trop Anim Health Prod 53, 384 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-021-02816-x

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Keywords

  • Cattle tick
  • Rhipicephalus australis
  • Long-acting acaricides
  • Integrated tick management
  • New Caledonia