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As previously reported by MercerMe, New Jersey Department of Agriculture announced a confirmed the first United States finding of an exotic East Asian tick, also known as the longhorned tick or bush tick, on a farm in Hunterdon County on November 9, 2017.

This tick is not known to be present in the U.S., although there are records of at least a dozen previous collections of this species in the country on animals and materials presented for entry at U.S. ports.

The following is the “Exotic Tick Species Found in Hunterdon County Fact Sheet” provided by the NJ Department of Agriculture:

  • On August 1st, 2017, a Hunterdon county resident brought in several ticks that had been removed from their pet sheep.
  • The one sheep is the only animal on the property and has not left the property for many years.
  • Initial identification was made by the Center for Vector Biology at Rutgers University and confirmation was made at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) on November 9, 2017.
  • This tick, known as the Bush Tick or longhorned tick, has never been established in the USA, but has been intercepted on several occasions on animals entering the country, particularly horses.
  • The tick is found in East Asia, New Zealand and Australia and is the most widespread tick species on wild and domestic animals in Japan.
  • The tick is a serious pest to livestock including cattle, horses, farmed deer, sheep and goats in its native range and in other parts of the world where it has been introduced, as well as wildlife, pets and humans.
  • They tend to be found in tall grasses, such as meadows and paddocks, and are known to survive harsh winters.
  • The affected sheep has been treated and blood was drawn and sent to NVSL for disease testing.
  • The property is being treated and follow up wildlife surveillance is ongoing.
  • The tick is a non-descript, brown colored tick with both males and females able to feed (see image below), however, the invasive form is when females show the ability to produce eggs without the use of a male, as found in this case.
  • Adult females can lay between 800-2000 eggs in the soil in mid-summer with larvae being found in late summer-early Fall.
  • Photo information:
  • Three life stages of H. longicornis. Adult female (left), partially engorged nymph (center) and larvae (right). Photo courtesy of Jim Occi, Center for Vector Biology, Rutgers University
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Mary Galioto is the founder, publisher and editor of MercerMe. Originally from Brooklyn, Mary has progressively moved deeper and deeper into New Jersey, settling in the heart of the state: Mercer County. Formerly the author of an embarrassingly informal blog, Mary is a lifelong writer and asker of questions and was even mentioned, albeit briefly, in the New York Times and Washington Post. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from SUNY Binghamton and a Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall Law School. In her free time, Mary fills her life with excessive self-reflection, creative endeavors, and photographing mushrooms. Mary also works as the PR Coordinator at the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, serves on the volunteer Board of Trustees of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT), holds a seat on the Hopewell Borough Board of Health, and is a member of the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance.

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