By Richard Prior
Sunday, 16 March 2008
Richard Prior advises on how to tackle the problem of tick carrying roe
I am trying to improve the stock of grouse on my moor, but there are a number of roe there, all carrying ticks. I am afraid they contribute to the spread of louping ill, which has devastated the grouse. We dose the sheep regularly with acaricide to act as tick sponges, but would it be a good idea to eliminate the roe?
Ticks carrying the viral disease louping ill can be spread about by any of the animals that pick them up, such as small mammals, sheep and deer. The more movement, the greater the risk of spreading the disease. However, according to the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, roe deer, unlike red deer, cannot act as a reservoir for the disease, so your resident roe are not infecting any ticks that bite them. Attempts to eliminate the local stock of deer would result in a void which would be quickly filled, the new deer bringing more ticks.
It is better to spend time on fox and crow control and habitat management. If there are mountain hares on your moor, it might be prudent to take advice on whether they are a significant factor in spreading the disease.
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