Ohio Farmer

Asian longhorned tick found again in Ohio

Beef Brief: Last year, populations of the pest became so high that some cows died.

August 15, 2022

3 Min Read
Asian longhorned tick
ASIAN LONGHORNED TICK: The invasive Asian longhorned tick was first detected in the U.S. in 2017. It has again been found in Ohio. Pictured is an adult female.Courtesy of AFPMB

I recently became disheartened after sending a bunch of ticks to a lab to get identified, and they confirmed what I feared: We have the Asian longhorned tick in Ohio’s Morgan County.

If I am correct, that makes five types of ticks we likely have present in the county and many parts of Ohio. Ticks can give us Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and a disease that makes us allergic to red meat.

The Asian longhorned tick, not to be confused with the Asian longhorned beetle, was found last year in a couple of Ohio counties, and the populations of ALT became so high on some cows that they died.

The good news is that there is a team of professionals from Ohio State University, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Ohio Department of Health and USDA that is on top of this and has been responsive.

What do we know? The ticks are asexual, meaning they do not need a mate to reproduce. Each tick can lay up to 2,000 eggs. They move slowly, so the spread is very slow unless they “hitch a ride” on humans, animals or equipment. In fact, farms next to an infested field or another field on the same farm over the past year have not seen much spread.

This is a new invasive species and treatment options are still evolving, but there are a few things to be aware of. First, it appears most insecticides are effective. However, most do not have a residual, and animals can get reinfested in as few as 10 days if they stay in the same infested field.

Spraying the field is also an option if there is a bad infestation. Keeping the field clipped will make a less favorable environment for the ticks. These ticks should go dormant in the fall until spring. These ticks can get on most types of livestock, wildlife and pets, so keep a close eye on your animals. Keep your pets on a preventative insect medicine.

For humans, the best way to protect people from this tick is to wear clothing treated with a 0.5% permethrin — a common brand is Sawyer, and the application can last several washings. When out in a suspected tick-infested areas, always tuck pants into boots, and tuck shirts into pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin. Do a thorough tick check daily, and shower as soon as possible after returning from an infested area.

As more is learned, we should get better options on how to deal with this tick, especially on livestock. For example, does ivermectin have longer residual than other products? Will fly tags help? Maybe back rubbers by mineral tubs will help. Keep a sharp eye out for this tick.

If you see multiple ticks on an animal, this should be a cause for concern, and you should call your veterinarian or give your local Extension person a call. We have a fact sheet that does a great job explaining these ticks. Search “Asian longhorned tick Ohio State University Extension,” and it will be right there.

Hopefully, this tick does not become too big of an issue, but we need to be prepared, just in case.

Penrose is the OSU Extension educator for AgNR in Morgan County and also is a member of the OSU Extension Beef Team that publishes the weekly Ohio BEEF Cattle letter, which can be found at beef.osu.edu.

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