Shrub clearing adversely affects the abundance of Ixodes ricinus ticks

W. Tack, M. Madder, L. Baeten, M. Vanhellemont, K. Verheyen

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-article

    Abstract

    In order to get a better understanding of the importance of vertical forest structure as a component of Ixodes ricinus tick habitat, an experiment was set up in a coniferous forest on sandy soils in northern Belgium. Ticks were sampled in six control and six treatment plots on various sampling occasions in 2008-2010. In the course of the study period, a moderate thinning was carried out in all plots and shrub clearing was performed in the treatment plots. Thinning had no effect on tick abundance, while shrub clearing had an adverse affect on the abundance of all three life stages (larva, nymph, adult) up to 2 years post-clearing. Our findings are especially relevant in the light of the ongoing efforts to improve vertical forest structure in Belgium and many other parts of Europe, which might create suitable habitats for ticks and change the epidemiology of tick-borne diseases. Also, our results indicate that shrub clearing could be applied as a tick control measure in recreational areas where there is a high degree of human-tick contact.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalExperimental and Applied Acarology
    Volume60
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)411-420
    Number of pages10
    ISSN0168-8162
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Keywords

    • Entomology
    • Ticks
    • Ixodes ricinus
    • Habitat
    • Forests
    • Specimens
    • Vector ecology
    • Larvae
    • Nymphs
    • Adults
    • Clearance
    • Control strategies
    • Belgium
    • Europe-West

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