Asian Longhorned Tick | Living the Country Life
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Asian Longhorned Tick

Another invasive intruder in the United States. So far it isn’t a disease threat but keep an eye out for it.
Photo credit Penn State University

The Asian Longhorned tick is considered an invasive pest and was reported for the first time in New Jersey in 2017. However, researchers examined older tick collections and found that the Asian longhorned tick has settled in since 2010. The tick has spread to at least a half-dozen eastern states and found on dogs, cattle, deer, and recently on a human. It will likely expand further because the females reproduce by cloning themselves, without the need for mating.

Erica Machtinger is an assistant entomology professor at Penn State University. She says it’s hard to distinguish from other ticks because it’s a bland, brown arachnid that can vary in size.

"It’s smaller than the Lone Star tick, which is probably one of the ticks it would get confused with, or the brown dog tick, but it’s not a very small tick," she says. "It’s not as small as your deer tick, which is going to be one of the smaller ones that we see on humans."

Machtinger says so far there doesn’t seem to be any issues with disease transmission. Since it’s been here a few years and they haven’t seen any challenges with it to this point, we may not in the future.

"And for the reason for that is, it has to compete with our native ticks. It has an environment that’s new that it has to deal with," she explains. "And, we don’t currently – now this could change, but we do not have any evidence that it can transmit the pathogens that we have here in the United States that are transmitted by our native ticks. There are pathogens from its native range that it can transmit, but none of those have been picked up in any of the ticks that we have collected in the United States."

However, just because pathogens haven’t been found doesn’t mean these ticks aren’t an issue for wildlife and livestock.

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