Protection of horses against Culicoides biting midges in different housing systems in Switzerland

Lincoln, V.J.; Page, P.C.; Kopp, C.; Mathis, A.; von Niederhäusern, R.; Burger, Dominik; Herholz, C. (2015). Protection of horses against Culicoides biting midges in different housing systems in Switzerland. Veterinary parasitology, 210(3-4), pp. 206-214. Elsevier 10.1016/j.vetpar.2015.04.006

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Species belonging to the Culicoides complexes (Diptera, Ceratopogonidae), obsoletus and pulicaris, in Switzerland, are potential vectors of both bluetongue virus (BTV) and African horse sickness virus (AHSV). The epidemic of BTV in 2006 and 2007 in Europe has highlighted the risk of introduction and spread of vector-borne diseases in previously non-endemic areas. As a measure of prevention, as part of an integrated control programme in the event of an outbreak of African horse sickness (AHS), it is of utmost importance to prevent, or substantially reduce, contact between horses and Culicoides. The aim of the present study was to compare the effect of three protection systems, net, fan, repellent, or combinations thereof, with regard to their potential to reduce contact between horses and Culicoides. Three different equine housing systems, including individual boxes (BX), group housing systems (GR), and individual boxes with permanently accessible paddock (BP) were used. The efficacy of the protection systems were evaluated by comparing the total number counts of collected female Culicoides, of non-blood-fed and blood-fed Culicoides, respectively, with UV black light traps. The study was conducted over 3 summer months during 2012 and 2013 each and focused on the efficacy and practicality of the protection systems. The repellent was tested in 2012 only and not further investigated in 2013, as it showed no significant effect in reducing Culicoides collected in the light traps. Net protection system provided the best overall protection for the total number of female Culicoides, non-blood-fed and blood-fed Culicoides in all tested housing systems. The net, with a pore size of 0.1825 mm(2), reduced the total number of Culicoides collected in the housing systems BP, GR and BX by 98%, 85% and 67%, respectively. However, in the GR housing system, no significant difference between the effectiveness of the fan and the net were determined for any of the three Culicoides categories. The results of the present study demonstrated that horse owners can substantially reduce their horses' exposure to Culicoides, by using net protection in the housing systems BX, BP and GR. In GR housing systems, protection against Culicoides using a fan is also recommended.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Research Foci > DermFocus
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV) > ISME Equine Clinic Bern > ISME Equine Clinic, Internal medicine
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV)

UniBE Contributor:

Burger, Dominik Cyrill


600 Technology > 630 Agriculture








Andrea Gassmann-Suter

Date Deposited:

06 Nov 2015 07:52

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 23:26

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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