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Management and socio-economics of tsetse control
How did people manage when tsetse were not controlled?
Prior to the development of trypanocidal drugs insecticides, traps and synthetic attractants, traditional livestock owners in Africa suffered heavy cattle mortality and loss of productivity, and faced difficulties in making use of large areas of grazing land. Trypanosomiasis also acted as a brake on the spread of draught animal power technologies, that had the potential to increase food production and relieve drudgery. In addition, in some areas human sleeping sickness was endemic. All these factors were profound constraints on people’s ability to improve their livelihoods, as they remain today in many areas where effective and sustainable tsetse control has not been implemented.
Livestock-owners had, however, developed some methods of reducing the probability of tsetse biting their cattle. These methods are still in use in some parts of Africa today.
Farmers in Somalia for instance keep their camels and cattle away from the forest along the Shebelle river where tsetse are abundant. However, this river provides an important watering point, especially during the dry season. Consequently, farmers keep their camels away from the riverine during the day, when tsetse are active, but then enter it at night, when tsetse are inactive, to water their animals.
Torr, S.J., Mangwiro, T.N.C. & Hall, D.R. (1996). Responses of tsetse flies (Diptera: Glossinidae) to synthetic repellents in the field. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 86, 609-616.
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