Tick Destroying Rover

tick rover

[William] from GoRobotics.net sent along this tip about a tick destroying rover built by students at VMI. The truck uses inductive sensors to follow a wire laid around the perimeter of the lawn. By releasing CO2 along this strip of grass they can attract ticks into the area (animals expel CO2). The ticks collected are treated with Permethrin. Since the application is targeted, it is far safer and cheaper than spraying the entire lawn. The students also suggest that repeating the run over the course of three months would break the tick’s life cycle, making the area tick free for several years. Here’s Wolfgang’s write-up, test runs with video one and two, the associated paper, and the Wired article.

17 thoughts on “Tick Destroying Rover

  1. I’m pleased to see they’re using pyrethrin. Its one of the new(er) safer pesticides.

    I’m assuming from its mode of operation it targets biting pests (ie ones that would be attracted to CO2). How will this machine effect other insects, especially ones considered beneficial?

  2. This a very interesting project. But here’s my varation of that. Granted it’s just an idea.
    I used to have two dogs. I also had two little kids. During the summer, with a small back yard, next to a field, my house would be innandated with fleas. I never wanted to use heavy duty pesticides for fear of the children’s reactions. Likewise things like Advantage seemed to have the same concern.
    Here’s my variation:
    1) Roomba or possibly a similiar set up like this.
    2) Runs at night
    3) Uses lights and CO2 like the Tickinator. Possibly even blood?
    4) Attracts fleas, but kills them how?


  3. bobstansalot, perhaps your fleabot would simply treat the fleas in its bin. As an alternative, the fleas could be processed in a “catch and release” program, being treated with chemicals that make them sterile. I have heard of the sterile-mate strategy being used to controle the tsetse fly; look for Sterile Insect Technique in wikipedia (don’t know if the flea limits its mates).

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