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Eradication and control of livestock ticks: biological, economic and social perspectives

  • ALAN R. WALKER (a1)

Summary

Comparisons of successful and failed attempts to eradicate livestock ticks reveal that the social context of farming and management of the campaigns have greater influence than techniques of treatment. The biology of ticks is considered principally where it has contributed to control of ticks as practiced on farms. The timing of treatments by life cycle and season can be exploited to reduce numbers of treatments per year. Pastures can be managed to starve and desiccate vulnerable larvae questing on vegetation. Immunity to ticks acquired by hosts can be enhanced by livestock breeding. The aggregated distribution of ticks on hosts with poor immunity can be used to select animals for removal from the herd. Models of tick population dynamics required for predicting outcomes of control methods need better understanding of drivers of distribution, aggregation, stability, and density-dependent mortality. Changing social circumstances, especially of land-use, has an influence on exposure to tick-borne pathogens that can be exploited for disease control.

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*Corresponding author: Tel: 44 (0) 131 650 1000. E-mail: alan.r.walker@ed.ac.uk

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