Date of this Version
Published in Journal of Vector Ecology 30:1 (2005), pp. 137–143.
The parasitic cimicid swallow bug, Oeciacus vicarius, is the principal invertebrate vector for Buggy Creek virus (BCRV) and has also been associated with Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus. To help understand the spread of this vector, we experimentally measured the transmission of O. vicarius between groups (colonies) of its main host, the cliff swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota), in the field. Transmission of bugs between colonies varied significantly with year, size of the colony, and week within the season. Bug immigration into sites tended to peak in mid-summer. Swallow nests in larger colonies had more consistent rates of bug introduction than did nests in small colonies, but within a colony a given nest’s weekly immigrant-bug count varied widely across the season. Transmission of O. vicarius between host social groups follows broadly predictable seasonal patterns, but there is nevertheless temporal and spatial heterogeneity in bug transmission. By understanding how long-distance movement by this vector varies in time and space, we can better predict where and when BCRV epizootics may occur.