Evaluation of tick control tube month of placement and modifications to increase visitation by small mammals

Kylie D. Green, Hannah S. Tiffin, Jessica E. Brown, Edwin R. Burgess, Erika T. Machtinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Tick control tubes are a host-targeted tick control method targeting immature Ixodes scapularis ticks attached to mice or found within mouse burrows and nests. Tick control tubes contain permethrin-treated cotton inside cardboard tubes that mice use as nesting material. Ticks attached to mice or present in their burrows are exposed to the treated cotton. However, there have been variable results using these tubes for tick control. Rodent visitation and use of these tubes may influence their effectiveness. The aim of this study was to evaluate small mammal use of tick control tube cotton and to evaluate whether cotton size or odor attractants changed small mammal tube visitations and cotton removal. For the cotton size experiment, three different cotton sizes were used. In the odor attractant experiment, three different odor attractants were used (peanut butter, safflower oil, and vanillin) along with a commercially available tube as a control. A negative control group that had no cotton present in the tube was used for both experiments. Cotton loss was determined by weighing cotton in deployed tubes weekly, and mouse and nontarget species interactions were evaluated using camera-trap data collected at each site. While the tested cotton sizes and odor attractants did not affect cotton use, mice did increasingly use cotton during cooler fall months, with the highest use of cotton in October and least use in July. These results suggest that mouse use of cotton was not related to cotton size or odor attractants but was dependent on season. This warrants future research on temporal small mammal use of tick control tubes to determine optimal deployment times for tick control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere4155
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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