Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) serve as biological vectors for several pathogens, including the Bluetongue virus and the recently described Schmallenberg virus in northern Europe. These diseases have caused considerable direct and indirect economic losses to the sheep and cattle industries. This study undertaken between August and December 2007 on a sheep farm in the Namur province (Belgium) aims to evaluate Culicoides populations present inside a partially opened sheepfold and in a nearby sheep meadow, using light traps. The comparative analysis of insects trapped at 18 dates at regular intervals showed that Culicoides were most abundant inside this livestock building (17,450 midges) than in surrounding meadow (1,121 midges); this meadow had however a greater species diversity. The two species C. obsoletus and C. scoticus constituting the Obsoletus complex predominated for all trappings and females were much more numerous than males. Important capture of engorged females of the Obsoletus complex inside the sheepfold seems to reflect the possibility of an opportunistic endophagous behavior. Maintaining sheep inside livestock buildings in order to reduce the risk of Culicoides bites - and thus of pathogens transmission - however requires to limit biting midge populations which are likely to enter or to develop inside these buildings. Implementation of effective sanitation and hygiene measures against midges present inside farms, as well as establishing of measures to protect livestock against intrusion and improvement of "midge-proofing" of animal housing are therefore highly recommended.
|Translated title of the contribution||Comparison of Culicoides Latreille 1809 populations (Diptera Ceratopogonidae) present inside a Belgian sheepfold and a nearby sheep meadow|
|Number of pages||14|
|Journal||Annales de la Societe Entomologique de France|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Dec 2013|