Repel in two ticks
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CTA. 2003. Repel in two ticks. Spore 103. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47833
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore103.pdf
Tick-borne diseases are every cattle owner s nightmare. With redwater fever, heartwater, anaplasmosis and East Coast fever rampant, there is no (sub) tropical area in the world that is spared from these deadly tick-borne diseases. Various control...
Tick-borne diseases are every cattle owner s nightmare. With redwater fever, heartwater, anaplasmosis and East Coast fever rampant, there is no (sub) tropical area in the world that is spared from these deadly tick-borne diseases. Various control measures have been successful in fighting them. Dipping cattle at regular intervals in chemical acaricides (the insecticide for dealing with ticks) has eradicated East Coast fever in much of southern Africa. But this method is labour intensive and the acaricides are costly. In addition, only those ticks on the dipped cattle get killed. There are alternative hosts galore and any breakdown in the dipping control programmes can lead to a disease outbreak. Acaricides also pose a risk to human health and the environment. Their use is no longer encouraged, and when they are used, they should be changed at least every 2 years. Scientists have also argued against total eradication of ticks, in order to allow animals to develop some resistance. It was only in the 1990s that science developed ethnopractices to control ticks in Africa. Researchers from the University of Nairobi collected a variety of control measures, such as: home-made acaricides consisting of a boiled mix of pepper, tobacco leaves and soap; hand removal of ticks during milking; keeping chickens (tick predators) with livestock; and applying zero-grazing or grazing only between 10 am and 3 pm, when tick activity is lowest. The Livestock Health Research Institute (LHRI) in Tororo, Uganda is working with Stylosanthes species (stylo grass) and Gynandropsis gynandra (spider flower); both have tick-repelling properties in pastures. The latter is also eaten as a vegetable in rural eastern Africa. The sticky hairs on its stems prevent ticks from climbing to the top and hitching a lift with grazing cattle. Other plants, including Commiphora erythraea, C. myrrh and C. holtziana, contain essential oils with tick-repelling properties. The LHRI stresses that these are just a random sample from a field that urgently needs exploring to find more viable and affordable tick control measures. [caption to illustration] The size of a sesame seed, the adult deer tick Ixodes scapularis