July 1, 2018 – Just in time of the 4th of July New Jersey.com released a detailed examination of the importance of the exotic longhorned tick to NJ residents. The report also talks about native ticks and the pathogens they are known to carry and strategies residents can use to avoid becoming a “statistic”. Importantly, Andrea made her debut as the “Science gal” explaining the intricacies of DNA extraction and amplification to a general audience and the power of population genetics to give us some very needed answers. Go Andrea!!
Three nymphs of blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis, also three nymphs of lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum, and eight nymphs of the exotic longhorned tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis, all found during surveillance of the Rutgers Cook campus. We are developing strategies for Integrated Pest Management for ticks on campus working with Animal Science, Rutgers Vets and maybe one day, Facilities (maybe they’ll finally listen to us and replace the black garbage bags across campus with perforated ones…).
21 April 2018 – NJ Department of Agriculture formally announced the re-emergence of the invasive tick (aka exotick) – click on the date for the press-release. A few news outlets have responded: NJ.com; wrnjradio.com; Philadelphia Inquirer; CBS New York; People Magazine. There was also a piece on National Public Radio. Reaction overall seems muted, sometimes fatalistic and often humorous (check out the comments on NJ.com’s website 🙂 )
13 April 2018 – It was Friday the 13th but also one of the first warm days of this Spring and Jim decided to go check up on the ticks in the Hunterdon farm where an invasive tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis, was confirmed in 2017. Andrea went with him – the “buddy system” is an important tool of surveillance. They were also supported by Tadhgh Rainey from the Hunterdon Department of Health and Adam Randall from F&W. Jim brought along CO2 traps, which turned out to be a great decision. They swept the grassland and got nothing, but found several nymphs and a few larvae and adults were attracted to the dry ice. They caught them with tweezers as they climbed onto the white cardboard surrounding the dry ice cooler.
22 February 2018 – Dina is giving a talk on invasive ticks (aka Exoticks) at the 2018 Tick Summit (VII) at the National Wildlife Visitor Center at Patuxent Research Refuge (10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop, Laurel, MD 20708). She’ll give an overview of invasive ticks in the US (and also worldwide) and summarize the detection last summer of Haemaphysalis longicornis by Rainey, Occi, Robbins and Egizi in Hunterdon, NJ.
22 November 2017 – We had to wait until an official joint press release was issued by the NJ Dept. of Agriculture and NJ Dept. of Health yesterday, but on November 9 Andrea, using the barcode mtDNA sequence, identified an unknown tick that had been found in Hunterdon county, NJ back in August. The tick was brought to our attention by Jim Occi, who was contacted by the Hunterdon Department of Health that shrewdly had figured out the tick was “something different”. Shortly after, Andrea’s tick ID was confirmed by USDA-APHIS. It is Haemaphysalis longicornis, the “longhorned tick” or “bush tick”. This species is native to northeast Asia (China, Russia, Japan) but expanded into Australasia (Australia, New Zealand, Pacific islands) in the 1800’s or early 1900’s. While H. longicornis had been intercepted several times in United States ports of entry, there are no known established populations in the New World. This tick is decidedly an agricultural (livestock) pest and disease vector and it has been associated with human pathogen transmission, particularly in farmers and those handling livestock. The question in everyone’s mind is: will it survive the NJ winter? That will likely depend on where it came from.