Keesing, Felicia, and Richard S. Ostfeld. 2018. "The Tick Project: testing environmental methods of preventing tick-borne diseases." Trends in Parasitology 34, no. 6: 447-450. PDF of the paper.
In this paper, the directors of the Tick Project describe the overall design of the project.
Fischhoff, Ilya R., Sarah E. Bowden, Felicia Keesing, and Richard S. Ostfeld. 2019. "Systematic review and meta-analysis of tick-borne disease risk factors in residential yards, neighborhoods, and beyond." BMC Infectious Diseases 19, no. 1: 1-11. PDF of the paper.
This paper describes the results of a survey of scientific papers that report the effects of various factors on cases of tick-borne disease. We sorted these factors into whether they were related to people's yards (like whether people gardened or had bird feeders), their neighborhoods, or the way they spent time outside of their neighborhoods (like hiking, picnicking, or hunting). The characteristics of their neighborhoods had the biggest effect on their probability of contracting a tick-borne disease.
Fischhoff, Ilya R., Felicia Keesing, and Richard S. Ostfeld. 2019. "Risk factors for bites and diseases associated with black-legged ticks: a meta-analysis." American Journal of Epidemiology 188, no. 9: 1742-1750. PDF of the paper.
This paper describes the results of a survey of scientific papers that report various factors predict a person's probability of getting bitten by a tick or diagnosed with a tick-borne disease. Factors that tended to increase risk of disease included a high density of nymph-stage blacklegged ticks and landscapes with interspersed herbaceous and forested habitat. Contrary to recommendations, use of landscape-related tick control measures, such as clearing brush, trimming branches, and having a dry barrier between lawn and woods, were associated with higher risk. Pet ownership increased risk of tick bites.
Fischhoff, Ilya R., Felicia Keesing, Jennifer Pendleton, Deanna DePietro, Marissa Teator, Shannon TK Duerr, Stacy Mowry, Ashley Pfister, Shannon L. LaDeau, and Richard S. Ostfeld. 2019. "Assessing effectiveness of recommended residential yard management measures against ticks." Journal of Medical Entomology 56, no. 5: 1420-1427. PDF of the paper.
Using data from yards of households enrolled in the Tick Project, we determined which yard features were associated with an abundance of larval ticks, the youngest life stage of the blacklegged tick. More questing larvae were found in yards where trash or stone walls were present. We detected no effects of outdoor cats, bird feeders, barriers, wood piles, or Japanese barberry on numbers of larval ticks.
Fischhoff, Ilya R., Felicia Keesing, and Richard S. Ostfeld. 2017. "The tick biocontrol agent Metarhizium brunneum (= M. anisopliae) (strain F52) does not reduce non-target arthropods." PloS One 12, no. 11: e0187675. PDF of the paper.
We tested the safety of Met52 for arthropods other than ticks by conducting a large-scale experiment at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. We detected no effects of the fungus on arthropods other than ticks, suggesting that it is as safe as prior reports had indicated.