Missouri Nature February 14, 2023
by Beth Price-Williams Be On The Lookout, A New Type Of Tick Has Been Spotted In Missouri
So much goodness, from warm golden sunshine to longer days, awaits during the warmer months, especially after muddling through a long, cold Missouri winter. However, that warm weather also tends to bring with it a few downsides – like an upsurge of insects. There’s also a relatively new tick in Missouri for which we need to keep an eye out.
Since it was first spotted in the United States in 2017, the Asian longhorned tick has slowly been making its way across the country. It’s now said to be, as of August 2022, in 18 states, including Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Maryland.
The Asian longhorned tick, however, has not been spotted in the western part of the U.S. yet. Missouri and Arkansas, in fact, are the farthest west it’s been found to date.
Usually not found in the Western Hemisphere, the tick’s arrival in Missouri was confirmed in 2021. The tick is tiny, measuring no more than four millimeters in length, and is asexual, with the ability to lay up to 3,000 eggs.
Adult Asian longhorned ticks are typically most active from June through August while the ticks are most commonly spotted throughout spring, summer, and fall.
Not a whole lot is known about this invasive tick, although the CDC believes the Asian longhorned tick doesn’t appear to be “attracted to human skin” like other well-known ticks, including the American dog tick.
That doesn’t mean, however, that illness or bad effects cannot occur as the result of a bite. In some instances, serious illness has resulted in both animals and humans, who have been bitten, in other parts of the world.
Ongoing research aims to determine what impact an Asian longhorned tick bite can have on humans and animals. Researchers also want to learn where the tick prefers to live – in enclosed, wooded areas or open spaces.
Some of that information can be gleaned from everyday Missourians. If you find a tick on you or your pet, make sure you remove it immediately. The CDC recommends collecting it in a plastic bag or a jar with rubbing alcohol and then contacting your local department of health.
In addition to collecting the Asian longhorned tick, contact your doctor if you have found one on you. If you found one on your dog, get in touch with their veterinarian.
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