Monitoring for economically-important native ticks, such as bush tick, paralysis tick, wallaby tick and bandicoot tick is more challenging than cattle tick as these ticks spend less time feeding on cattle (around 5 - 7 days feeding compared to cattle tick that feed for 18 – 26 days) and they also infest other native hosts as part of their life cycle. These ticks are generally found in lower numbers on cattle, but unfortunately if the tick transmits disease or toxins, low numbers can still be deadly to susceptible cattle (such as calves, animals under stress, pregnant cows and relocated naïve animals with no previous tick exposure). Finding and removing these ticks is essential and requires careful examination using both fingertips and the palm of the hand to feel for lumps. The hair is then parted and the lumps visually inspected. Pay particular attention around the head and neck. Any ticks found should be removed with fine pointed tweezers, or a tick removal device, by grasping the tick as close to the skin surface as possible and pulling upward with steady, even pressure. Avoid twisting or jerking the tick as this may break off the mouthparts.
Paralysis tick prefers temperatures around 27°C. The larvae rise in autumn with nymphs peaking in autumn to spring. Adults (the most visible stage) peak in August through December to February depending on climate. Regional differences exist as temperature and humidity determine when seasonal peaks occur; for example, adults appear earlier and peak over a longer period in the wet tropics. Figure 1 shows a summary of paralysis tick seasonal data collected over an 8-year period from NSW.
Bush tick prefer temperatures in the 10-30°C range. They avoid hot dry conditions.
Occasionally other species of ticks are found on cattle (scrub tick, brown dog tick). These species may be confused with economically important species, but they are typically low in number and have little impact, so are generally not treated.