Best time to count cattle ticks

Stock owners in cattle tick free and control zones in all States should monitor stock regularly to enable early detection of any cattle tick infestations. See how to count cattle tick.

NSW

Cattle ticks can be seen at any time of the year, but they mainly occur from late spring to midwinter. The numbers found on cattle increase rapidly from summer to autumn, reaching a peak in late autumn to early winter. The best time to monitor cattle tick numbers is through summer and autumn. They decline with the onset of colder weather.

QLD

In the north of Queensland, ticks lay viable eggs all year-round. Heavy rain during the wet season can interfere with tick reproduction and tick numbers will also decline with hot dry weather. Cattle tick monitoring should be done year round, but the need may decline over very wet, or very dry summers.

In southern Queensland, ticks that fall between mid-April and late June produce virtually no larvae. Engorged female ticks dropped in early autumn can produce eggs and larvae that will survive the winter and eventually result in a spring rise in tick numbers (see Figure 1). If not controlled, these ticks breed and cycle several times throughout the summer and can lead to great numbers in autumn and early winter. Therefore the best time to be monitoring cattle tick numbers is from the start of the spring rise (this may vary from August through October depending on local conditions) through to early winter.

Figure 1. Pattern of larval and adult cattle tick populations on cattle in southern Queensland. Image adapted from Wilkinson 1955 Australian Journal of Agricultural Research.
Figure 1. Pattern of larval and adult cattle tick populations on cattle in southern Queensland. Image adapted from Wilkinson 1955 Australian Journal of Agricultural Research.

NT and WA

In the Northern Territory and Western Australia, cattle ticks can be seen at any time of the year, but mainly occur during the wet season and early dry season, this is the time to monitor cattle tick numbers.