Cattle Tick


A blood sucking external parasite Haemaphysalis longicornis which favours cattle but they are not completely host specific and can infest deer, sheep, goats, humans, horses, rabbits, hares and domestic pets.

There are many different species of tick in the world, but H longicornis, is the only one found in New Zealand. It is called a three host tick, with each of its growing stages- larvae, nymph, and adult feeding off separate hosts, not necessarily of the same species.

The adult female tick, which when fully engorged with blood can grow to approximately 9mm long by 7mm wide, lays hundreds of eggs from which the larvae will hatch on nearby vegetation. The larvae attach to a suitable host and feed before falling to the pasture where they develop to a nymph stage. Nymphs will also attach to a host to feed before detaching and developing into an adult. The time taken for the completion of the life cycle varies considerably from days to months depending on factors such as temperature and the host’s immunity developed from previous exposure.

The larvae and nymphal stages of the life cycle position themselves at the tips of long grass or vegetation and attach to the skin of grazing animals or hosts walking through the paddocks.

Ticks are obvious on clinical observation. Ticks are commonly found on the head, ears and lower body extremities.

The Impact

Ticks cause damage to hides and loss of production, anaemia and death when they are present in large numbers.

  • Ticks feed by puncturing the skin of a host with their mouthparts. These puncture sites and any damage that may result can reduce the quality and value of velvet antler during growth in the spring can be a problem in some years.
  • Nymph (larval) ticks can be a major problem on newborn fawns, and young grazing lambs prior to weaning causing anaemia with deaths from blood loss in severe cases.

Management & Control

There is a range of shower and spray treatments available for cattle and sheep. There is also a pour-on product registered for cattle and deer and an insecticide impregnated ear tag available for use in deer.

Ticks are practically impossible to eradicate but there are a few methods to reduce tick infestation of animals from pasture.

Contact your nearest VetEnt clinic to learn more about how to manage in your cattle tick on your property.

cattle ticks on deer
cattle tick  nymphs   cattle ticks engorged adults