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Damminix: Wikis


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Damminix is a product used in the control of ticks that spread Lyme disease. It was developed by researchers at Harvard University.

How it Works: Theory

Mice are the primary source of infection for the ixodid ticks (deer tick, Ixodes Scapularis or Ixodes Dammini, I. Pacificus, I. Ricinis (in Europe) that carry Lyme Disease spirochetes (Borrelia burgdorferi). The Damminix (named for I. Dammini, a less used name) product targets the ticks on the mice without harming the mice. Mice are always gathering nesting material. The Damminix tick tubes contain nesting material (cotton) impregnated wth a proven acaricide (miticide / (permethrin). The field mice are able to do the rest: collecting the cotton, getting the tick-killing agent onto their fur in their nests, and killing ticks as they attach. Permethrin does not harm mice, (or other mammals or birds). Damminix is especially useful as it is not necessary to blanket spray a given area (and run any inherent risks due to chemical exposure), the treatment is highly localized due to the direct self selection behaviour of the disease vector (mice looking for nesting material), this greatly reduces the exposure risks to humans that might otherwise occur. A similar technology is used in a rodent fur mite control product, MiteArrest.

Damminix appears to help control tick populations, particularly in the year following initial use. Note that it is not effective on the West Coast.

Other tick-killing spray pesticides that have been used include those containing diazinon, chlorpyrifos, and carbaryl. Animal studies have reported severe toxic effects associated with these chemicals. Some of these agents in fact are being phased out for home use. If there is a high probability of human exposure, parents should consider the effects of a very negligible risk for a highly treatable infection versus potential excessive use of possibly harmful chemicals.

Alternatives: Biocontrol and Chemical

A potential alternative to Damminix is fipronil. It is used in the the Maxforce Tick Management system (from Aventis and Bayer), in which fipronil is painted onto rodents attracted to plastic baitboxes. This product requires professional installation. As of June 2006, this product is no longer available. <ref></ref> The reason appears to have been that in 2005, there were selective reports of grey squirrels "chewing" into some Maxforce TMS boxes in areas of the northeastern United States, compromising the child resistant box. Due to this problem, the US Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has asked that all similarly designed TMS boxes applied in 2006 be covered with a protective shroud capable of preventing squirrel damage.

How it Works: Practice

The biodegradable tubes are spaced at 15-foot intervals in mouse habitat areas and left out for the mice to find. Application twice a season (spring and fall) is recommended. The effectivity of the treatment increases as the number of contiguous properties employing the treatment increases. This product targets the tick life cycle only in the eastern US. It is avaialble only in MD, PA, NY, RI, CT, NH, NJ and MA.

External links

  • Damminix Home Page
  • Protecting Property from Tick Infestation (UMM Patient Education)

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