Alternative to chemical insecticide (ticks & mites) in poultry, cattle and pets

Published on: 1/30/2019
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Insects (ticks, mites, fleas, lice etc.) nuisance is not a new problem and well known to everyone since old age especially in the animals. Talking about cattle Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus is considered as one of the most widely distributed tick species ecto-parasite on livestock and causes fatal diseases with significant production loss.  It is posing major threat on economical maintenance of the cattle industry in tropical and sub-tropical countries including India. It causes severe losses by blood feeding, transmitting many fatal pathogens and by direct damage to cattle skins and hides for the leather industries. Today, tick control has become a challenge to researchers exploring a sustainable way to mitigate the problem of tick infestations. Chemicals groups commercially available in the market viz., synthetic pyrethroids, organophosphates, formamidines and macrocyclic lactones are repeatedly used for the control of ticks infesting livestock. These chemicals kill non-target organisms and threaten human health due to the toxic residues in milk and meat. These chemicals act as pollutants for the food from animal sources Intensive use of these chemical acaricides results in the development of resistant tick populations, which causes the failure of the chemical-based tick control program. Efforts have been made to develop sustainable immunological means for controlling ticks and tick-borne diseases in order to check the fast development of resistance against acaricides. Two commercial vaccines against R. (B.) microplus were developed and marketed. The vaccine efficacy was found highly variable and farmers’ expectation has not been met. Moreover, none of the vaccine is giving significant protection against multispecies tick infestations, a common problem faced by the livestock owners of Asia and Africa. Extensive work has been done on plant based natural products having acaricidal activities against many species of ticks including acaricide resistant species as the natural products can delay the development of resistance due to the presence of a number of active molecules having different mode of action. When we are thinking of the phytogenic product which is most affective against tick, mites, fleas and lice infestation with the potential to replace the chemical acaricides only one name come to our mind “Zerokeet”. Zerokeet Liquid is herbal ectoparasiticide product for pets and livestock developed by Ayurvet Limited which a self emulsifiable concentrate is containing selected herbs reputed for their insecticidal and insect growth regulator activities. Zerokeet is containing extracts of Cedrus deodara, Pongamia glabra, Azadiracta indica, Eucalyptus globulus and Acorus calamus recommended for the control of ticks, fleeas lice and mites. The constituent herbs of Zerokeet liquid have a long record of safety for men, animals & environment. Being an integral part of biosphere they are fully biodegradable besides possessing pesticidal & insect repellant properties. These constituent herbs act in synergism and possibly increase the insecticidal & repellant efficacy of individual plants by multiple

  • Antagonists of juvenile & moulting hormones regulate the insect metamorphosis, reproduction, diapause & behavior
  • Repellants for mosquitoes, flies, mites & ticks
  • Antifeedants –cause cessation of feeding thus the insects die from starvation
  • Disrupt or inhibit the development of eggs, larvae, pupae
  • Block the moulting of larvae or nymphs
  • Disrupt mating & sexual communication
  • Inhibit the formation of chitin etc. 
  • Deter females from laying eggs
  • Sterilize adults
A study was conducted to assess the comparative eficacy of Zerokeet with both herbal and chemical products. One is Erina-EP, which is a herbal product of The Himalaya Drug Company, Bangalore, India, and other is chemical product which is the most aggressively marketed anti-tick chemical, ‘‘Butox Vet’’ a product of Intervet India Pvt. Ltd. 
Method and Material: Three resistant tick lines, diazinon-resistant IVRI-3, deltamethrin-resistant IVRI-4, and multi-acaricide resistant IVRI-5 of R. (B.) microplus are continuously maintained at the Entomology Laboratory of the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI). For maintaining different resistant tick lines (IVRI-3, IVRI-4 and IVRI-5) separate male cross-bred calves (Bos taurus & B. indicus) of 6–8 months old were used.
In vitro efficacy:

Engorged females of resistant tick lines were collected from ear bags of the animals were tested in vitro either by Adult Immersion Test (AIT) format or as product use guidelines provided by the company.
Results observed:

Table: Anti-tick activity of Zerokeet and other commercially available herbal and chemical products against field ticks and tick lines.
Comparing the efficacy of different products against individual tick line it was observed that Zerokeet provided maximum efficacy of 75.4 % against multi acaricide resistant IVRI-5 line followed by similar comparative activity against IVRI line-4 and against field ticks, the efficacy against diazinon resistant ticks was minimum of 41.8 %. In comparison to Zerokeet, the activity of other markedly available natural and synthetic products conferred insignificant protection against all the tick lines and field ticks (Table 1).
One of the major problems in developing natural formulations is maintaining efficacy. Since active compounds present in any plant species varies with different stages of growth of plant, season, soil and environmental conditions, identification of quality control marker compound (s) is crucial to maintain the quality of the finished product. Ayurvet is maintaining all the standards to stablish a constant efficacy of the Zerokeet. The high anti-tick activity of the Zerokeet against the ticks resistant to chemical acaricides, reported in the present study clearly shoes the effectiveness and supremacy of the Zerokeet not only against other famous herbal products but also against chemical (deltamethrin) products.
Based on the research article “Comparative in vitro anti-tick efficacy of commercially available products and newly developed phyto-formulations against field collected and resistant tick lines of Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus. J Parasit Dis. DOI 10.1007/s12639-015-0736-3 by K G Ajith Kumar et al. 2015 

References are available on request: For further information, please contact: Dr. Amit Kumar Pandey, PhD (VPT), Dr Praful Kumar.
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