Cattle fever ticks have a four-stage life cycle—egg, larvae, nymph,
and adult—and a cattle fever tick will spend the last three stages
of its life on the same cow. The adult female ticks will have a
great big bloodmeal and then drop off the cow so they can lay up to
4,000 eggs before they die. If the female is carrying the parasite that causes
Texas Cattle Fever, then it will be
passed on to all of her babies. Their
life cycle ranges from 3 to 4 weeks,
and up to four generations can be
produced each year. That’s a LOT
Some ranchers in Nevada, California and southern
Oregon, are dealing with a different kind of
tick problem. The pajaroella tick can carry bacteria
that cause Foothill Abortion Disease. If
an infected tick bites a cow 30 days before
to 150 days after she gets pregnant, the calf
will be affected. The bacteria causes the cow
to either abort the calf, or give birth to a
weak calf that can die. Researchers from the
University of California Davis have developed
a vaccine to prevent this bacterial
infection and are doing trials to test it on
cattle. So far it has been very effective!
We need to be watchful of ticks for the
safety of not only our livestock but also
ourselves, since some ticks can pass serious
diseases to humans too. So keep a lookout for
these blood sucking arthropods!
Here is a female and male southern
cattle tick. The females are a lot bigger!
This female cattle fever tick
has been slurping up blood and
is starting to get big and juicy.
the southern cattle tick (Rhipicephalus
microplus). They both can be infected
with a couple of microscopic parasites
called Babesia bovis and Babesia bigemina,
which are passed on to a cow when
the tick feeds on their blood. The disease
that they cause is called tick fever,
and the symptoms are high fever and
a decrease in eating and drinking, leading
to severe dehydration. The cattle
will then become really tired and can
fall into a coma and sometimes die. The
only way to control the disease is to control the ticks.
The ticks that cause cattle fever have not been a problem
in the U.S. since 1943. That’s when they were fi nally
destroyed after years of constant battle. The old photo
above was taken somewhere between 1890 and 1900,
and it shows the Cattle Dipping Association in Garden
City, Kansas. These cattle are being moved through a vat
of liquid pesticide to kill the ticks. Dipping vats like this
one were put up in any area that had a tick problem.
There is a Tick Eradication Quarantine Area (TEQA)
along the U.S.-Mexico border, because they are still a
problem in Mexico. There is always the threat that they
can cross into the U.S., and we sure don’t want that!
hat is creepy, tiny, can cause paralysis,
anemia, major weight loss,
rapid breathing and even death? Yep, ticks.
There are about 900 different species of ticks
in the world, and the U.S. has over 90 of them. Ticks pass
on more infectious organisms than any other bloodsucking
arthropod (which is just a fancy word for insect).
These two species of ticks are real bad news for cattle;
the cattle fever tick (Rhipicephalus annulatus) and
HENRY L. WOLF
Beware of Bloodsucking
ALAN R WALKER
ALAN R WALKER
SUMMER 2018 I WORKING RANCH JUNIOR I 5