PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — An invasive tick species with the ability clone itself is being blamed for the recent death of a bull in North Carolina. Asian longhorned ticks have been found in 11 states, including Pennsylvania.
The species, first found on a sheep in New Jersey two years ago, was found last summer at Tyler State Park in Bucks County.
Tom Mather is the director of the University of Rhode Island’s Tick Encounter Resource Center. His Tick Spotters program tracks tick activity across the United States and helps the public identify the bloodsuckers.
Last summer, a guy who’d been checking bluebird boxes at a Bucks County park sent him a picture of what turned out to be an Asian longhorned tick nymph. So he went to investigate, hitting the mother lode in the woods, near the disc golf course.
“In the course of a couple of hours, I had close to 500, so they’re very well established in that location,” he explained.
Because females don’t need a mate to reproduce, they can quickly infest an area, and overwhelm an animal by literally sucking the life out of it.
In their native range, they can carry some nasty diseases.
However, here in the US, Mather says, “Hundreds, if not maybe more have been tested from different locations, and so far, no germs have been found.”
Bear in mind that you’re far more likely to pick up a black-legged tick, which can transmit Lyme disease. It’s a good idea to know your enemy, so you can find tick ID information, and how to keep yourself and your family tick-safe at tickencounter.org.