Journal of the Department of Agriculture, Western Australia, Series 4

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The bush tick


Haemaphysalis longicornis, Biology, Pest control

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A newly discovered livestock parasite has focused attention on farms in the Walpole district in the south-west of Western Australia. Ticks submitted to the Department of Agriculture in December 983 were identified as the bush tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis. An intensive campaign to locate areas of infestation and to limit spread was started in January 1984.

The bush tick is a pest of livestock in some areas of New South Wales and Queensland. It is important in a narrow coastal strip from Sydney to Brisbane where total summer rainfall can exceed 1000 mm. In this area heavy tick infestation causes anaemia and ill thrift in cattle. Occasionally, massive numbers of ticks, from 10,000 to 20,000 per beast, may cause death. Fortunately the bush tick does not carry tick fever or any other stock disease.

However, in areas with drier summers such as the south-west of Western Australia, the tick is rarely found in large numbers and control measures are seldom necessary. Before a decision is taken to limit or contain the tick's spreadin this State, information is needed on:

  • How far has the tick spread?
  • How far it is likely to spread?
  • How important it is likely to be in Western Australia?
  • How can it be controlled