The Influence of Prescribed Fire, Habitat, and Weather on Amblyomma americanum (Ixodida: Ixodidae) in West-Central Illinois, USA

Mary E. Gilliam, Will T. Rechkemmer, Kenneth W. McCravy, Seán E. Jenkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The distribution of Amblyomma americanum (L.) is changing and reports of tick-borne disease transmitted by A. americanum are increasing in the USA. We used flagging to collect ticks, surveyed vegetation and collected weather data in 2015 and 2016. A. americanum dominated collections in both years (97%). Ticks did not differ among burn treatments; however, tick abundance differed between years among total, adult, and larval ticks. Habitat variables showed a weak negative correlation to total ticks in respect to: Shannon diversity index, percent bare ground, perennial cover, and coarse woody debris. Nymphal ticks showed a weak negative correlation to percent bare ground and fewer adults were collected in areas with more leaf litter and coarse woody debris. Conversely, we found larvae more often in areas with more total cover, biennials, vines, shrubs, and leaf litter, suggesting habitat is important for this life stage. We compared weather variables to tick presence and found, in 2015, temperature, precipitation, humidity, and sample period influenced tick collection and were life stage specific. In 2016, temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind, and sample period influenced tick collection and were also life stage specific. These results indicate that spring burns in an oak woodland do not reduce ticks; other variables such as habitat and weather are more influential on tick abundance or presence at different life stages.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number36
Number of pages15
JournalInsects
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • INHS
  • Tick ecology
  • Litter cover
  • Prescribed burning
  • Oak woodland
  • Lone star tick
  • Microclimate
  • Vegetation structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science

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