When the winter wasn't really cold and if good spring rains fall, ticks can occur on any farm, almost overnight.

An outbreak of blue ticks (Asian blue tick (Rhipicephalus microplus), and African blue tick (Rhipicehalus decoloratus), as well as the smooth bont-legged tick (Hyalomma truncatum) and the bont tick (Amblyomma hebraeum) are all indigenous to South Africa.

Bont ticks are somewhat rare, but will be present among other tick species. Temperature can, however, not always be a gauge, as 2014’s winter was relatively cold.

Tick-borne diseases include cattle fever, gall sickness and heart water. Other farm animals such as cats and dogs that are bitten by especially bont ticks and bont-legged ticks, will not necessarily contract tick fever, but will suffer from all kinds of other infections, mostly underneath the skin and on spots of old injuries.

Some of our members have reported that dogs bitten by bont-legged ticks have become seriously ill, running high temperatures, with pieces of skin coming off, where they were infected ("Are you farming with ticks". Conservancy Newsletter 57, October/November 2013). Photo of bont-legged tick courtesy of Afrivip. Members are advised to visit http://www.afrivip.org/education/arthropod-vectors/ticks for more information and photos of the various tick species common in our area.