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Impact of flooding on Culicoides development in cowpats

R. Lühken, S. Steinke, A. Wittmann, E. Kiel

SEVERAL species of Culicoides midges are vectors for livestock pathogens, including bluetongue virus and Schmallenberg virus. The breeding ecology of these midges in Northern Europe is not fully understood. This study aimed to assess the impact of flooding on the development of immature Culicoides in cow pats.

The study was conducted on a dairy farm in Lower Saxony, Germany. Ten cow pats, estimated to be six months old, were selected. Samples were taken of the cow pat and surrounding soil, and transported to a greenhouse. Each sample was divided into four and a different treatment was applied to each quarter: dry – no water was added; control – sample was moistened with a spray every three days; alternately flooded – samples were alternately flooded with tap water for 24 hours and then not flooded; and permanently flooded – each sample was permanently flooded with tap water throughout the experiment. An emergence trap was placed above each sample and any newly hatched midges were caught.

Nine of the 10 cow pats were colonised by biting midges and a total of 249 midges were collected. There was a wide range of the …

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