A statewide warning has just been issued about a newly discovered invasive East Asian tick.
The new species was recently found multiplying on an opossum in Polk County, which is about 90 minutes west of Charlotte.
According to the NC Department of Agriculture, “The Longhorned tick is an exotic, East Asian tick. Prior to its identification last fall in New Jersey, the Longhorned tick was not typically found in the United States. It is a serious pest of livestock in its native regions and the means of introduction into the U.S. is unknown. Its presence in N.C. signals the need among livestock producers and residents for greater awareness, surveillance, and tick control management. It is an aggressive biter and frequently builds intense infestations on animals causing great stress, reduced growth and production, and blood loss. The tick can reproduce parthenogenetically (without a male) and a single fed female tick can create a localized population. It is a known/suspected carrier of several viral, bacterial and protozoan agents of livestock and human diseases. Known as a three-host tick, this tick can spread pathogens among a diverse host range on which it feeds.”
The agency is now warning all North Carolina residents, especially those with pets and livestock to be on the lookout when outdoors, and to protect against the new tick by wearing long clothing, wearing permethrin-treated clothing, and by applying DEET, picaridin, and other EPA approved repellants.