Efficacy of a single whole-body spray treatment of spinosad, against Boophilus microplus (Acari: Ixodidae) on cattle

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The efficacy of a single whole-body spray of spinosad, a naturally derived control agent, applied at three concentrations was evaluated against cattle infested three separate times prior to treatment and at four weekly intervals following treatment with Boophilus microplus (Canestrini). At 0.0167% active ingredient (AI) both tick numbers (1894 ticks per calf) and index of fecundity (IF) of females (258.3) were no different than that of the control group. However, spinosad treatment at both 0.05 and 0.15% AI resulted in fewer ticks per calf (600 and 935, respectively) with lower IF values for females (43.4 and 38.4, respectively). The percent control of ticks on the animals at the time of treatment (acute efficacy) was dramatically lower at 0.0167% AI (21.4%) than at 0.05 (86.3%) and 0.15% AI (87.9%). Spinosad treatments appeared to be more effective against immature stages (nymphs and larvae) than against adult ticks that were on the animals at the time of treatment. The mean weight of females that survived to repletion was similar (322-348 mg) in all groups. By contrast, the mean weight of egg masses produced by females was highest in the control group (155 mg), whereas each increase in spinosad concentration resulted in a substantial decrease in egg mass weight, with the 0.15% AI group averaging only 73 mg. The hatch rate of eggs derived from females ranged from 93.4% in control females down to 53.9% hatch for females treated at 0.15% AI spinosad. The residual efficacy of spinosad at 0.0167% AI was poor even at 1 week following treatment, resulting in 101 ticks per calf and a level of control of only 66.4%. At 0.05% AI, protection against successful reinfestation was high at 1-week post-treatment where only five ticks per calf reached repletion, and control of the IF of these females was 99.3%. The 0.15% AI treatment provided almost complete protection against reinfestation for 2 weeks following treatment (≤5 ticks per calf), and control of the IF of these ticks was >99.9%. Thus, the use of spinosad at US ports-of-entry would be unacceptable because of the critical necessity of achieving 100% control with a single treatment to prevent the reintroduction of ticks. However, it is likely ticks could be eradicated using spinosad in tick infested areas of the US if repeated (systematic) treatments were applied to cattle maintained on the premises.




Davey, R. B., George, J. E., & Snyder, D. E. (2001). Efficacy of a single whole-body spray treatment of spinosad, against Boophilus microplus (Acari: Ixodidae) on cattle. Veterinary Parasitology, 99(1), 41–52. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0304-4017(01)00456-3

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