Category Archives: Uncategorized

Reducing ticks by targeting hosts

Ixodes scapularis, taken by James Occi.

Ixodes scapularis, taken by James Occi. This was a photo used for the cover of of the book, “Lyme Disease: Why it’s spreading, how it makes you sick and what to do about it” by Alan Barbour.

From the Abstract: We describe a 2-yr trial to evaluate the ability of SELECT Tick Control System (TCS) host-targeted bait boxes to reduce numbers of host-seeking Ixodes scapularis nymphs in a residential neighborhood. After four successive 9-wk deployments, nymphal and larval I. scapularis infestation prevalence and intensity were significantly reduced on target small mammals. In addition, these deployments resulted in 87.9% and 97.3% control of hostseeking nymphs in treatment sites at 1 yr and 2 yr postintervention, respectively. Installation of a protective metal cover around the SELECT TCS bait boxes eliminated nontarget wildlife damage to bait boxes that resulted in failure of previous bait box types. The results are discussed in the context of the residential environment and future research needs.

Schulze T, R A Jordan, M Williams and M C Dolan 2017 Evaluation of the SELECT tick control system (TCS), a host-targeted bit box, to reduce exposure to Ixodes sxapularis (Acari: Ixodidae) in a Lyme disease endemic area of New Jersey. Journal of Medical Entomology,


Recent Developments

Dr. Fonseca will attend a Strategic meeting of the Worldwide Insecticide resistance Network (WIN) that will be held in Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL, from May 04-05, 2017. This meeting is supported by the WHO Research & Training program on Tropical Diseases (TDR) and the Department of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and the US-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC).

A proposal entitled “Predicting the evolution of vector-borne disease dynamics in a changing world” by Dr. Fonseca was top rated in the NSF DEB Ecology of Infectious Diseases panel (five “excellent” and one “very-good”) and recommended for funding. Using Next-Generation genomics we will generate one of the first comprehensive datasets detailing the evolutionary potential of the major players in a complex multi-host disease system: avian malaria in endemic Hawaiian birds transmitted by invasive mosquitoes. Our results will help mitigate the anthropogenic impacts associated with invasive species and climate change, and can be translated directly into practical management recommendations. This 4 year $2,498,876 project is slated to start on July 2017.

A grant on”Climate Change, Nuisance Mosquito Populations, and Long-term Resilience of Coastal Salt Marsh Systems” was awarded to the Center for Remote Sensing & Spatial Analysis (CRSSA), the Center for Vector Biology (CVB) and the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve (JCNERR) plus in collaboration with state and county mosquito agencies.

Controlling The Elusive Tiger in Your Backyard


This container mosquito and vector of many arboviruses, including Zika, is not easy to control given it’s often cryptic habits. The diagram above illustrates the many strategies that could be employed to minimize the impact of this and other container species. Read more of Ary Faraji and Isik Unlu’s paper in the Journal of Medical Entomology describing the pros and cons of the various control techniques for this invasive species.


In memoriam Karl Maramorosch (1915-2016)

Maramorosch_KarlKarl Maramorosch passed away on May 9 in Poland while visiting friends. An eminent virologist, entomologist and plant pathologist, Karl was a wealth of information, always willing to talk and often in many languages. His kindness and dedication were unparalleled. He was often the first to arrive in the Entomology Department despite being well into “retirement.” This unique scholar will be sorely missed and our condolences to his friends and family.

His obituary by Professor Gaugler, a Celebratory Tribute and his Wikipedia page. Below is a Vimeo video with Karl before one of the Maramorosch Seminars:

Zika Information Exchange

Members from the Children’s Health Institute, Robert Wood Johnson Health System and Ruzikacdctgers University, including Dina Fonseca, met with Congressman Frank Pallone of New Jersey’s 6th District (D) to discuss the current state of understanding about the epidemiology and ecology of the Zika virus. This fact-finding mission for the Congressman is in anticipation of hearings that Congress will be holding, including those of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that Congressman Pallone seats. Up for discussion in these congressional hearings are a proposed $1.8 billion dollars of emergency finding proposed by President Obama in the upcoming fiscal year. For more information, see: as well as information from the HEC committee:

Robert Lucien May, Jr. 1929 – 2016

Robert Lucien May, Jr. passed away peacefully  at the age of 86 in Parsippany, NJ. He worked for 30 years as a mosquito expert and field technician for the Essex County Mosquito Commission, befitting his expertise in insects and birds. He attended Rutgers for training with the Mosquito Commission of Essex County. Although he did not have a degree, his lifelong study of birds, insects, frogs and astronomy was amazing. He kept personal diaries for over 40 years. He could identify any bird or insect and any of the 29 varieties of mosquitos. He was a member of the Entomological Society of America, the Montclair Bird Club, the New Jersey Audubon Society and the Wild Bird Center of West Caldwell as well as a participant in bird counts. In addition to his love of nature, he also loved music.

The obituary of this remarkable man may be seen  online here. Tribute contributions may be made “in memory of Robert L. May Jr” to the New Jersey Audubon Society  with the added comment: “For the preservation of golden-winged warbler habitat” and any acknowledgment sent to the funeral home or to

Fruitful Collaborations


From Left to Right: Devi Suman, Jaydon Bailey, Rebbeca Heinig, Randy Gaugler, Geoffrey Kemble, Yi Wang, Kshitij Chandel.

Collaborations continue with SpringStar as Jaydon Bailey, Rebecca Heinig, and Geoffrey Kemble visit to work with the Center’s team toward improving the design of the pyriproxyfen autodissemination system. Using 3D printers and precise measurements, the group is moving closer to resolving issues that will maximize pyriproxyfen application onto gravid female mosquitoes seeking to lay eggs. Attractive water sources within the devices are not available for egg-laying, and the egg-laden females leave and get painted with the juvenile hormone inhibitor which will be deposited where the eggs are eventually laid. While the eggs do hatch and develop eventually into pupa, that’s as far as their development goes. They never become adults. By exploiting female behavior, such devices are prime for controlling areas where hidden habitats occur and more traditional control techniques are less effective.