A: The chemical in this study used to control ticks is fipronil, which is the active ingredient in many of the popular topical flea and tick control products (e.g., FrontlineÂ®) for household pets. The concentration of fipronil in the bait boxes is 10 times less than that found in topical flea and tick control products used on household pets. The likelihood of coming into direct contact with the wick containing this low-concentration fipronil is very low, because it is encased in a child-resistant rodent bait box. Fipronil is harmful if absorbed through the skin, inhaled, or swallowed. Health effects from a brief exposure to fipronil depend on how someone is exposed to the chemical. Direct, short-term contact with skin can result in slight skin irritation. Signs and symptoms from a brief exposure to fipronil generally improve and clear up without treatment.
A: It takes very little pesticide to control ticks on a small rodent, and the pesticide used in the bait box is an extremely low dose pesticide. The concentration of fipronil on the wicks that the mice move through in the bait box is 0.7% fipronil. The concentration of fipronil in the commonly used, veterinarian recommended, flea and tick control (e.g., FrontlineÂ®) is 9.8% fipronil. Therefore, the concentration of fipronil used in the bait boxes is 10 times less than the concentration found in commonly used topical flea and tick control products for household pets.
A: The bait boxes will not specifically attract non-target animals. Medium sized mammals including feral cats, foxes, coyotes, and raccoons that are passing through an area with bait boxes will investigate the boxes. Since the bait boxes are tamper resistant, they will find that they are unable to open the boxes and then usually leave them alone.
A: The white-footed mouse is by far the most important host for the Lyme disease bacterium. The eastern chipmunk and the meadow vole may also be important, and they are also treated by bait boxes. Squirrels are too large for the bait boxes, but they don't appear to play a significant role in Lyme disease risk for humans.