A supervised veld-burn in the Sclerocarya caffra/Acacia nigrescens Savanna landscape zone in the south-eastern region of the Kruger National Park was carried out during September 1988. The effect of the fire on the free-living tick population was determined by comparing the numbers of ticks collected by monthly drag-sampling in the burnt zone with those collected in an adjacent unburnt zone over a 2-year period. A total of 13 ixodid tick species were involved.
Tick numbers were reduced after the burn but rose again after varying periods of time. The length of these periods depended upon a number of variables. These included tick species, patterns of seasonal abundance, and host preferences. The original reduction in numbers seemed to result in subsequent cyclical population fluctuations and in some instances overcompensation was noted.
Veld-burning as a control technique may be effective with tenuously adapted tick species or reduced populations and may be enhanced by the exclusion of major hosts for a critical period after the fire.
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