students James Shea and Rebecca Kruise, graduate student Michele
Myers-Claypole, professor of biology Tom Simmons, and Pennsylvania
Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) Vector Management entomologist
Mike Hutchinson published the article “Seasonal Activity, Density, and
Collection Efficiency of the Blacklegged Tick (Ixodes scapularis) (Acari: Ixodidae) in Mid-Western Pennsylvania”
in the Journal of Medical Entomology on September 3, 2015.
The research team found that the abundance and seasonality
of blacklegged ticks (deer ticks) in mid-western Pennsylvania are now
comparable to southeastern New York State, where the tick and Lyme disease are
The researchers surveyed public conservation lands in
Indiana County for blacklegged ticks. They then followed the seasonal activity of larvae, nymphs, and adults
for over a year, and determined the highest densities for each stage in Blue
Spruce County Park. Earlier this year
PADEP Vector Management and IUP scientists also published in the Journal of
Medical Entomology a statewide survey of ticks infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative
agent of Lyme disease. This previous
study showed high levels of infection throughout the state. These two publications taken together
document that the risk of being bitten by an infected tick in western Pennsylvania and
the coastal northeastern United States are not substantially different. The researchers concluded that the high Lyme
disease risk in western Pennsylvania has occurred since 2000, while the high risk on the
coast developed during the 1980s and 1990s.
James Shea (’14) is in his first year of study at the Ross
University School of Veterinary Medicine, Rebecca Kruise (’16) is in her senior
year at IUP majoring in environmental health, and Michelle Myers-Claypole (’14)
is a full-time faculty member at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College.
Follow these links to view the statewide survey published in the Journal of
Medical Entomology and the mid-western
PA population study.
Department of Biology