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Using pesticides to reduce the number of ticks in residential areas does not translate to lower rates of tick-borne disease in humans.
This finding is the culmination of research overseen by scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who have been studying the effectiveness of pesticides to manage tick bites and tick borne-diseases for over a decade.
While earlier research focused on direct pesticide applications to individual household lawns, the most recent publication, under early release in the Journal of Emerging Infectious Diseases, represented a broader, neighborhood-wide implementation of control measures. Yet in both instances, pesticide use did not play a role in reducing tick-borne disease.
The studies are a stark warning for states and communities considering vector disease spray campaigns for ticks in a similar manner to mosquito spraying.
“The bottom line is that toxic pesticide use is not the answer to tick bites or tick-borne disease,” said Beyond Pesticides executive director Jay Feldman. “To manage ticks, we must embrace ecological solutions that work with natural processes and education campaigns emphasizing personal protection.”