Tick-Killing Fungus Research Underway at N.S. University

Photo of Ixodes Scapularis -Deer tick on LeafCBC (6.30.2024) published the article, “Tick-Killing Fungus Research Underway at N.S. University.” Researchers at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada are studying a naturally occurring fungus, Clonostachys rosea, as a potential method for controlling tick populations and reducing the spread of Lyme disease. Luís Anholeto discovered the fungus in the Annapolis Valley and found it lethal to blacklegged and American dog ticks when they come in contact with the fungus. With a grant, Anholeto continues his research at Acadia’s tick research lab, led by professors Nicoletta Faraone and Laura Ferguson.

The lab studies various biological elements related to ticks, including how climate change has affected the increasing tick population, and aims to develop sustainable tick management solutions, focusing on natural products like the tick-killing fungus, which could be an environmentally friendly alternative to synthetic acaricides. “These are a little harsher approaches that need to be used with discretion because they can harm beneficial insects like pollinators or other species that are good for our ecosystem,” Faraone said.

However, the effectiveness and environmental impact of Clonostachys rosea need further study. There is no knowledge yet if the fungus won’t target other natural species as well. With all areas of Nova Scotia now at high risk for Lyme disease, which can cause severe symptoms if untreated, research is crucial. While the fungus shows promise, it is not yet a definitive solution, and Canadians are advised to be more vigilant and use tick repellents and perform thorough tick checks after outdoor activities.

For More Information: 

Read the CBC Article here.

Read more on fungal sprays for tick control on the LDA website here.