Tick control is critical to the control of tick borne disease, while the direct impact of ticks on livestock productivity is also well known. For livestock, tick control today rests overwhelmingly on the twin approaches of genetics and chemical acaricides, although the disadvantages and limitations of both are recognized. The achievement of the full potential of vaccination, the application of biocontrol agents and the coordinated management of the existing technologies all pose challenging research problems. Progress in many areas has been steady over the last decade, while the acquisition of molecular information has now reached a revolutionary stage. This is likely to have immediate impact on the identification of potential antigens for improved vaccines and novel targets for acaricide action. In many circumstances, the rate limiting step in making scientific progress will remain unchanged, namely the resource constraint on evaluating these appropriately in large animals. For other approaches, such as the use of biocontrol agents, the limitation is likely to be less in the identification of suitable agents than in their delivery in an efficient and cost effective way. Our scientific understanding of the molecular basis for the tick vector-tick borne disease interaction is in its infancy but the area is both challenging and, in the long term, likely to be of great practical importance. What is arguably the most difficult problem of all remains: the translation of laboratory research into the extremely diverse parasite control requirements of farming systems in a way that is practically useful.