Great, another new bug to talk about. Even though it carries a name that might appeal to some Texans, it has nothing to do with the University of Texas or the Great State of Texas... yet. The Asian Longhorned Tick, however, is in the Great State of Arkansas along with 18 other states, and it's spreading fast.

Information gleaned from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture states that on June 5, 2018, the presence of the longhorned tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) in Arkansas was officially confirmed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratory. The confirmation stemmed from a specimen obtained from a dog in Benton County, submitted as part of a research project at Oklahoma State University (OSU). Utilizing a photograph and molecular typing conducted at OSU, NVSL verified the identity of the longhorned tick. Ongoing epidemiological investigations are being conducted in collaboration with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

Longhorned ticks - CDC
Longhorned ticks - CDC

Originating from East Asia, the longhorned tick is considered exotic and is linked to bacterial and viral tickborne diseases affecting animals and humans globally. Recognized as a significant threat to livestock by the USDA, heavy infestations of these ticks can lead to issues such as stunted growth, reduced production, and even animal fatalities. In various countries, the longhorned tick has been associated with human diseases, including severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome.

Similar to deer ticks, the nymphs of the longhorned tick are minute, resembling tiny spiders, making them easily overlooked on both animals and humans. This tick species is known to infest a diverse range of hosts, posing a potential threat to North American wildlife species, as well as humans, dogs, cats, and livestock. Vigilant monitoring and further research are imperative to understand and address the implications of the longhorned tick's presence in Arkansas.

Longhorned Ticks -underside - CDC
Longhorned Ticks -underside - CDC

According to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, these are the "need to know" items about the Asian Longhorned Tick:

  • The longhorned tick doesn't present any new risks or challenges to humans or animals that don't already exist in the state's current tick population.
  • It is unknown at this time how this tick got to Arkansas.
  • Normal tick prevention and control measures for humans and animals are the best way to avoid exposure.
  • Residents can send tick specimens to local Cooperative Extension offices or area health units, both of which have tick kits.
  • Residents may also submit ticks to the Oklahoma State University research project here.
  • Livestock producers should contact the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission if they notice large numbers of ticks, or strange behavior of livestock herds. Call 501-225-1598.
  • If you find an attached tick, remove it immediately.

Submit A Tick!

Not even joking here, they want to see your ticks. If you find ticks on yourself or on your animals, these mad scientists want to see them. There are specific ways to submit your tick, click below to learn how.

The following videos have great information about the Asian Longhorned Tick but they are both about four years old, this tick is now in 19 states. They are:

Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Want to learn all there is to know about the Asian Longhorned Tick? Check out the CDC Site.

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