The parasitic strongyle worm and a growing tick abundance are becoming worrying problems for grouse interests, according to a national conference held in Harrogate, North Yorkshire on 11 August by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT).

Despite more than 150 delegates being told that the prospects for the forthcoming red grouse shooting season are the best for more than a decade, some areas are struggling with increasing tick numbers. “In many areas, this is going to be a glorious grouse season, but for other areas range contraction of red grouse caused by a burgeoning number of parasites is becoming a real problem,” said Dr David Baines,

head of the GWCT’s upland research.

Delegates heard how warmer and wetter winters are causing a marked increase in ticks and that techniques such as using sheep as tick mops to reduce the numbers of the parasite are vital.

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