Just a tick of your time will do

TICKS are desperately needed and there’s money in it for sharp-eyed hunters.

The ticks you collect today might even save the life of your dog next year.

Casino based veterinarian Ross Sillar is visiting Coffs Harbour and Bellingen looking for people interested in collecting unattached adult female paralysis ticks for use in the production of tick antiserum.

Dr Sillar’s company, Northern Serums, is one of three in Northern NSW that manufactures the paralysis tick antiserum and they are all suffering from a shortage of subjects. Ticks can only be collected in October, November and December and Dr Sillar said they were running low on antiserum because of a shortage of ticks last year, due to unfavourable conditions in the collecting months with the weather either too dry or too wet.

The ticks are worth $2.50 each and Mr Sillar does not want just a handful, he wants thousands of them.

“We need people who are prepared to spend time and want to make a job out of it,” Dr Sillar said.

Because of shortage of ticks around the areas where the antiserum companies are based – around Casino, Lismore and Alstonville – the companies are extending their search southwards. Dr Sillar said good collectors could gather hundreds of ticks in a day and were often farmers who had tick problems on their farms or people with other full time jobs who spent days tick-hunting in season. The ticks are generally collected on white blankets from areas where bandicoots gather, in long grass and under wattle trees. Bandicoots are in fact the natural hosts for paralysis ticks.

The period just before storms is ideal for collecting as the insects can feel the air pressure drop. They climb out of the leaf litter and up grass stems to avoid being inundated.

Phone: 6664 7270 for more information.

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