Backyard Integrated Tick Management (BITM) Study Frequently Asked Questions

Study pesticide facts:

BITM will use two U.S. EPA-registered available pesticides, beta-cyfluthrin (trade name: Tempo SC Ultra, manufactured by Bayer Corporation) in the form of a liquid diluted for spraying and fipronil (trade name: Select TCS Tick Control System manufactured by Tick Box Technology Corporation).




  • Beta-cyfluthrin is a pyrethroid pesticide; it is an insecticide and acaricide (kills ticks)
  • When the pesticide spray is used in commercial application, there is only a small diluted amount being used (diluted spray mixture may contain up to a total of 0.05% of the active ingredient, beta-cyfluthrin)
  • Beta-cyfluthrin’s half-life after application in the environment (i.e., the amount of time it takes to degrade to half of its original concentration) is estimated to be approximately 60 days
  • Beta-cyfluthrin has been shown to be effective at killing ticks if applied during peak nymphal tick season (June ̶ July), with lasting effects through the start of the next tick season (May)
  • For more information and to view the label, please visit:





  • Fipronil is a phenylpyrazole pesticide; it is an insecticide and acaricide.
  • The concentration of fipronil on the wicks that the mice move through in the bait box is 0.7% fipronil. The fipronil in this study will be housed within the bait box and not open to the environment.
  • Fipronil is commonly used in flea and tick control on pets (e.g., Frontline®). The concentration of fipronil in veterinarian recommended flea and tick control 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.
  • Fipronil has been shown to be effective at killing larval ticks on rodents.
  • For more information and to view the label, please visit:

The Backyard Integrated Tick Management Study is designed to examine whether a single pesticide spray plus bait boxes, a rodent-targeted method of tick control, in residential yards reduce the number of tick bites and the incidence of Lyme and other tickborne diseases. This treatment will be compared between single-treated properties and small groups of treated properties.

The study will enroll up to 230 households in Connecticut and Rhode Island that will be randomized into a group of single properties that will receive pesticide spray (beta-cyfluthrin) and bait boxes with pesticide (fipronil), contiguous properties that will receive the spray and bait boxes, or a group that will receive a water spray and bait boxes without pesticide. The first bait boxes will be placed on the properties of all participants in August of 2017. On average, between 6 and 10 boxes will be placed at the landscaping or wood-lawn interface (including front, back, and side yards) of participants’ homes. Study participants do not have to do anything regarding the bait boxes that are placed around their property. Study personnel will conduct a short introductory survey at the beginning of the study, and then they will send web-based e-mail surveys a few times per year until the study ends in 2020. These surveys are about whether household members have had any ticks crawling on or attached to them and whether any household member has had a tickborne disease. In addition, study personnel will collect data on where study participants spend their time outdoors during a one-week period to determine where people are exposed to ticks. This survey will take place during the first week of June 2017.

There are three components of the study: 1) pesticide (or water) application and bait box placement and removal by Connecticut or Rhode Island Tick Control, 2) surveys of study participants, and 3) tick collection. You do not have to be present when the tick control applicators place or remove bait boxes from your property, but you can choose to be present if you would like. In August 2017, Connecticut or Rhode IslandTick Control will come to your property and place bait boxes around your property. In October 2017 the first round of bait boxes will be removed. In mid-May/early June 2018 pesticide or water will be sprayed on all properties. In August 2018, the second round of bait boxes will be placed on your property. In October 2018, the second round of bait boxes will be removed. In mid-May/early-June, 2019 the second pesticide or water application will be sprayed, which is the last pest control practice that will be applied as part of the study.

In late-May to early-July of 2017 ̶ 2020, ticks will be collected from some properties. If your property is selected for sampling, we will ask your permission at that time and tell you details about the process. You do not have to be present when study personnel collect ticks from your property, but you can choose to be if you would like.

We will ask you to take part in a phone-based, introductory survey at the beginning of the study, which should take no more than 15 minutes. We will ask you to take part in one, weeklong activity log in June 2017 where you will record where you and your household members spent time outside over a seven day period. This activity log should only take 5 ̶ 10 minutes per household, for no more than 70 minutes over one week for each household and this activity will only take place in the first year of the study. We will also ask you to take part in four, brief, 5 ̶ 10-minute, web-based surveys each year for the first three years of the study. In these surveys, we will ask about you and your household members’ encounters with ticks, possible illness with a tickborne disease, and your experiences with this illness, if applicable.

No. Tempo SC Ultra (beta-cyfluthrin) is a product registered for “unrestricted use” by the U.S. EPA. This product is labeled to control pests indoors and outdoors on residential, institutional, public, commercial, and industrial buildings, greenhouses, food handling establishments, and lawns, ornamentals, parks, recreational areas and athletic fields. For more information, the Bayer label for the pesticide and the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) on Tempo SC Ultra can be found here:

Link to Bayer Tempo SC Ultra label:

Link to MSDS Tempo SC Ultra:

Some of the participants will be randomly chosen to receive a single application of beta-cyfluthrin to their yard in summer 2018 and summer 2019 and other participants will receive a single application of water (the study placebo) to their yard. You will not know which study group you are in until the end of the study.

Beta-cyfluthrin will be applied during the spring, before peak tick season when nymphal ticks emerge and are seeking blood hosts. The risk of humans acquiring a tickborne disease from the bite of an infected tick is greatest during late spring and summer. Beta-cyfluthrin is an insecticide and acaricide which affects the nervous system and causes paralysis in insects and ticks, quickly killing all tick species including dog and deer ticks. For more detailed information on tick species and the tick life cycle, please visit our CDC ticks page:

All treatment applications for this study will be applied during the time period of May 1 ̶ June 15. We want to insure that your property is treated before peak tick season. A Connecticut Tick Control will contact you in order to arrange for your treatment to occur at a time that will be convenient for you. You do not need to be home at the time of your lawn treatment.

Connecticut Tick Control will spray your yard where lawn meets brushy/wooded areas, of both your front and back yards and areas of ornamental vegetation (e.g., groundcover plants such as Pachysandra). It is standard to treat 20 feet into the brushy/wooded areas and 10 feet into your lawn away from the brushy/wooded areas.

We will send you a pre- and post-treatment checklist with complete details. The tick control applicator will contact you before to schedule a treatment window. To prepare for your lawn treatment, please take the following steps if needed: i) unlock all gates, ii) remove pet food, water bowls, bedding, toys and children’s toys (these items may be repositioned after 24 hours), iii) move all pets off your lawn, iv) empty your bird bath and/or bird feeder, v) close all windows, vi) turn off sprinklers, vii) schedule your outdoor activities around your treatment time, viii) plan to remain off your lawn during your treatment.

Yes, please turn off sprinkler system 24 hours before and after spraying in order to ensure maximum effectiveness and to avoid run off.

Your pet(s) may be in the center of your yard where the product was not applied, until the product has dried. The chemical will likely dry within two hours. However, if possible, it is recommended for pets to remain off the treated area of your yard for 24 hours after treatment.

Beta-cyfluthrin has a strong affinity for soil and organic matter, which means its pesticide leaching potential (PLP) into groundwater is very low. If you do have a well along your yard edges (the area which will be treated), the commercial pest control operator will not spray within 5 feet of your wellhead. This is to insure that beta-cyfluthrin is not directly applied to your wellhead in case there is a cracked casing or other flaw in the well’s construction.

If a person (including a young child or pregnant woman) or animal were to swallow, breathe or touch the chemical after application, the individual or animal is not likely to become ill. If the chemical comes into contact with the skin or eyes before it has dried, some individuals may have short term irritation that will likely disappear within 12 hours.

At the beginning of the study, you will receive a product label for Tempo SC Ultra (beta-cyfluthrin) that contains detailed information about the product. If you think you may have become sick during the study, please contact your doctor. Western Connecticut State University cannot offer referrals, treatment, or compensation if you are injured (or experience a temporary side effect from exposure to beta-cyfluthrin) from being in this study.

No, if your pets are treated with a topical flea and tick preventive, you can still have your lawn treated. We recommend that your pets remain off your yard edges, where the treatment has been applied, for 24 hours. There is very little to no risk to your pet after the chemical is dry.

When this pesticide is used properly by a professional, there are negligible risks to animal wildlife. However, the chemical can be toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates, thus the pesticide control professionals will actively avoid applying the chemical near ponds or streams.

This chemical is not mobile in soil meaning that there is very little potential for it to enter the ground water.

Beta-cyfluthrin is highly toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates. For this reason, potential participants will be ineligible if they have a water body within 100 feet of where the pest control company will be spraying. Study coordinators will ask potential participants whether they have any water bodies on or close to their property. Therefore, aquatic animals will not be affected by the treatment.

Beta-cyfluthrin is toxic to bees and other pollinating insects. Pesticide applicators will not directly spray blooming plants (located along your yard edges, where the treatment will be applied), as specified by the law and indicated on the pesticide label. Additionally, if beta-cyfluthrin were to be sprayed near blooming plants, it will not travel up the plant from roots to flowers after spraying (beta-cyfluthrin is not systemic). Further, beta-cyfluthrin does not readily evaporate (it has very low volatility), and therefore actively pollinating bees will not have a direct way of coming into contact with the spray.

We will only treat all accessible yard edges on your property. If your vegetable garden is located along one of your yard edges, we will not treat this area to insure that your vegetable garden is not affected by the treatment.

If you believe you may be affected by the spraying more than the average person, stay away from the treated area for 24 hours in order to ensure complete safety. For those persons who have registered with a State’s Pesticide Sensitive Individual Notification Program or a Pre-notification Pesticide Registry, the study’s pest control company will notify you 24 ̶ 48 hours in advance of pesticide applications made to properties adjacent or contiguous to your residence. You will be notified by phone, email, or letter and a minimum of two contact attempts will be made to reach you.

The bait box consists of three components: 1) a child-resistant rodent bait box, 2) nontoxic bait block attractants, and 3) an applicator containing 0.7% fipronil. Rodents (mice and chipmunks) that enter the box to feed or investigate are treated with fipronil as they come in contact with the applicator. This pesticide kills the ticks on the mice at that time, and any ticks that come into contact with the mice for the next several weeks. This tick control method interrupts the transmission cycle of Lyme disease. In this study, half of the homes will receive bait boxes with a wick containing fipronil, and half will receive bait boxes without the pesticide.

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., Frontline®) 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 (Frontline®) 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.

It takes very little insecticide to control ticks on a small rodent, and the insecticide used in the bait box is an extremely low dose insecticide. 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. Frontline®) 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.

Eliminating the hosts is not practical. During a study in Dutchess County, New York, all rodents were removed from a one-acre plot, but it was an enormous task. And, after the study was concluded, the rodent population rebounded within two months.

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.

Deer do not infect ticks with the germs that cause Lyme disease, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, or relapsing fever, but they are involved with the spread of ticks. Deer can range over very large areas and can deposit engorged ticks, especially engorged adult blacklegged ticks on or near your property. In areas where deer populations are abundant, so are blacklegged ticks. Deer are the main reproductive host for these ticks; adult ticks that take their blood meal from deer can lay up to 3,000 eggs, which hatch into larvae. The larvae infest mice and chipmunks, potentially becoming infected with germs as they take their blood meal from those animals. Deer fencing and localized deer reduction programs may help reduce the risk of Lyme disease, but it isn’t known how effective it might be as a disease prevention strategy.

If you answer all study surveys, you will be given at least $50 in gift cards for each year of participation in the study for your time and effort. *You may choose to skip or refuse to answer any of the study survey questions

Load More