NEVBD ONLINE PROGRAMS

NEVBD works with experts across the Northeast and US to produce free webinars on topics important to professionals working to control mosquito- and tick-borne diseases in our region.

Concepts in Vector Control: Ticks

Presenters: Dr. Kirby Stafford III and Dr. Scott Williams
Recorded: August 30, 2018

Dr. Kirby Stafford and Dr. Scott Williams of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station provide an overview of integrated tick management approaches and challenges to effective tick control.

Transcribed Q&A Session

A PDF transcription of the Q&A session can be downloaded directly from Cornell website here:

Download Q&A session transcription (PDF)

About the Presenters

Kirby Stafford III, PhD Chief Entomologist, State Entomologist Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station

Dr. Stafford has over 30 years of experience leading studies of the control of the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis. Dr. Stafford is currently Chief (Head) Entomologist and State Entomologist for Connecticut. His initial research focused on the application of pesticides for tick control, but soon included studies of the tick parasitic wasp Ixodiphagus hookeri, deer exclusion and reduction, the topical application of pesticides to white-tailed deer and white-footed mice, landscape modifications, biological and natural chemical tick control, and community-based Lyme disease prevention projects. Recently, Dr. Stafford has coordinated an integrated tick management (ITM) project utilizing the fungus Metarhizium anisopliae, rodent-targeted bait boxes and deer reduction. In addition, he has examined some climatic variables on the activity of I. scapularis and conducts overwintering survival studies.


Scott C. Williams, PhD Associate Agricultural Scientist Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station

Dr. Williams is a Certified Wildlife Biologist with The Wildlife Society and has worked on a variety of projects related to the biology and ecology of zoonotic pathogen reservoir hosts and their vectors over his 16 years at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. He has captured and collected over 3,500 blood samples from both host competent (Peromyscus leucopus) and host incompetent (Odocoileus virginianus) reservoirs for screening for the presence of various tick-borne pathogens throughout the State of Connecticut. He has also conducted numerous research projects on white-tailed deer including non-lethal male sterilization techniques, investigating deer behavioral responses to different lethal removal efforts, and limitations of regulated hunting in achieving deer densities compatible with tick and associated tick-borne disease abatement in residential settings.



Discussions on the Invasive Asian Longhorned Tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis

Presenters: Dr. Allen C.G. Heath, Dr. Andrea Egizi, and Dr. Richard Falco
Recorded: November 19, 2018

Dr. Allen C.G. Heath, Dr. Andrea Egizi, and Dr. Richard Falco together presented an informational webinar reviewing the biology, ecology, distribution, and control of the invasive Asian longhorned tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis, providing perspectives and experiences from New Zealand and the northeastern United States.

Transcribed Q&A Session

A PDF transcription of the Q&A session can be downloaded directly from Cornell website here:

Download Q&A session transcription (PDF)

Presentation Slide

A PDF copy of each presenters slides can be downloaded directly from Cornell website here:

About the Presenters

Allen C.G. Heath, PhD Parasitologist (semi-retired) AgResearch at Hopkirk Research Institute in Palmerston North, New Zealand

Dr. Allen Heath is a graduate of both Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and the University of Queensland, Australia. He has worked for over 50 years in the field of ectoparasitology. His research interests have been spread across biting louse, mite and blowfly strike infestations in sheep, as well as tick and mite parasites of wildlife. His papers cover the taxonomy and ecology of various ectoparasites as well as their economic effects and control strategies for them. He has always had a strong interest in conveying research findings to farmers and the general public. Now semi-retired, Dr. Heath is involved in collaborative tick research with overseas’ colleagues, involving climate modeling and taxonomy, and he co-supervises two PhD candidates.


Andrea Egizi, PhD Research Scientist Tick-Borne Disease Laboratory, Monmouth County, NJ

Dr. Egizi oversees Monmouth County’s Tick-Borne Disease Laboratory, which focuses on pathogen detection in ticks to support Monmouth County’s tick surveillance program. The laboratory is located at the Rutgers Center for Vector Biology and collaborates with Rutgers faculty and students on a variety of research projects. Dr. Egizi is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Entomology at Rutgers. More info and publications here.


Richard Falco, PhD Regional Medical Entomologist New York State Department of Health, Louis Calder Center, Fordham University

Dr. Falco has been studying the ecology of ticks and mosquitoes in New York State for 35 years. He began working for the Westchester County Health Department after earning his PhD, and then later moved to Fordham where he started a long-term collaboration with Dr. Tom Daniels. During this time period, he studied the peri-domestic nature of Lyme disease, conducted extensive studies on tick bite epidemiology, and helped describe the ecology and seasonal activity patterns of the blacklegged tick in NY. He began work as a NYSDOH Regional Medical Entomologist in 2006, based at Fordham University’s Louis Calder Center. Dr. Falco’s recent work includes a statewide tick surveillance project and several studies related to the distribution of the invasive mosquito species Ae. japonicus and Ae. albopictus.



Tick Surveillance Practices in the Northeast

Bryon Backenson, Dr. Kirby Stafford III, Melissa Prusinski, Dr. Maria Diuk-Wasser, Patti Casey, Charles Lubelczyk
Recorded: December 2, 2019

This webinar provides a review of tick surveillance guidance and best practices tailored for the Northeast USA. Speakers include experts from the New York State Department of Health, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, Maine Medical Center Research Institute, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, and Columbia University. Topics to be covered include: Considerations for starting a surveillance program; Field methods for medically important species; Pathogen testing; Data analysis and communication considerations; and Lessons learned from regional programs. Supplementary materials include: example personnel training manuals, tick field collection protocols and forms, estimated program start-up and operational costs.

Supplemental Materials

A PDF of the presentations supplemental materials can be downloaded directly from Cornell website here:

Supplemental Materials (PDF)

Presentation Slides

A PDF copy of each presenters slides can be downloaded directly from Cornell website here:

Presentation Slides (PDF)

About the Presenters

Bryon Backenson, MS Director, Vector Surveillance Unit; Deputy Director, Bureau of Communicable Disease Control @New York State Department of Health

Bryon Backenson is Director of the New York State Department of Health’s Vector Surveillance Unit and Deputy Director of the Bureau of Communicable Disease Control. Bryon has worked on Lyme and other tick-borne diseases since 1991, and has an interest in the population dynamics of vector-borne diseases. In his current role, he oversees surveillance of vector-borne diseases in New York State, and focuses on the translation of surveillance and research data into public health action and policy. Bryon provided a review of considerations for starting and operating tick surveillance programs in our region for this webinar presentation.


Kirby Stafford III, PhD State Entomologist, Chief Scientist @Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station

Dr. Kirby Stafford is the State Entomologist of Connecticut and chief scientist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station’s Department of Entomology. Kirby has 32 years of experience leading studies of the control of the blacklegged tick, and he has recently coordinated an integrated tick management project and overwintering survival studies. He also coordinates Connecticut’s recently-initiated statewide active tick surveillance program. Kirby provided an overview of the field methods for collection of four medically important tick species in our region for this webinar presentation.


Melissa Prusinski Research Scientist, Laboratory Supervisor @New York State Department of Health Vector Ecology Lab

Melissa Prusinski is a research scientist and laboratory supervisor for the Vector Ecology Lab in the New York State Department of Health Bureau of Communicable Disease Control. Melissa serves as the chief coordinator of the statewide tick-borne pathogen surveillance initiative. Her ongoing research projects include monitoring tick populations and the prevalence of associated pathogens, exploring the ecology of tick and pathogen populations, and investigating rare and emerging tick-borne pathogens. Melissa provided insights on testing ticks for pathogens for this webinar presentation.


Maria Diuk-Wasser, PhD Associate Professor @Columbia University, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology

Dr. Maria Diuk-Wasser is an Associate Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology at Columbia University. Maria has been involved in tick and mosquito-borne disease research for the last 20 years. Studies under her direction include modeling the spread of tick-borne pathogens regionally and nationally, the effect of climate and host community composition on pathogen abundance, and the development of modeling approaches to predict human risk for zoonotic diseases. Maria provided insights on how data obtained from tick surveillance can be analyzed and communicated for this webinar presentation.


Patti Casey Manager, Environmental Surveillance Program @Vermont Agency of Agriculture and Markets

Patti Casey is the environmental surveillance program manager for the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. Under her direction, the Vermont Vector Surveillance Program tracks disease-carrying populations of mosquitoes and ticks statewide through several programs. Patti provided insights from her agency’s experience initiating and conducting tick surveillance in the state for this webinar presentation.


Charles Lubelczyk, MPH Field Biologist @Maine Medical Center Research Institute, Lyme and Vector-Borne Disease Laboratory

Charles (Chuck) Lubelczyk is a field biologist with the Maine Medical Center Research Institute Lyme and Vector-borne Disease Lab. Chuck has been involved in research on the spread of vector-borne diseases since the late 1990s, focusing on the interactions between ticks and mosquitoes and their hosts and habitat requirements. He is currently working on projects related to community-based strategies to control blacklegged ticks and the role of migratory birds in the ecology of Lyme disease. Chuck provided insights from his program’s experiences conducting tick surveillance in Maine for this webinar presentation.