The following is based on information found in Preventative Measures for Hunters To Help Reduce the Spread Of the Exotic Longhorned Tick in NJ (pdf, 160kb)
Several species of ticks are found in New Jersey. In addition to being an unwelcome parasite on people, pets and wildlife, ticks can also transmit certain diseases such as Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Those enjoying the outdoors, including hunters, anglers, birders and others, should take precautions to avoid ticks and tick-borne diseases, and to prevent the transfer of ticks to new sites.
In late 2017, the Asian Longhorned Tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis), was found on a sheep in Hunterdon County. As of June 2018, the Longhorned Tick has been found in five NJ counties (Hunterdon, Union, Middlesex, Mercer, and Bergen)and in several other states, including Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Arkansas. The tick is known to occur in humans and a wide range of animals, being documented in deer, sheep, goats, cattle, horses, dogs, raccoons, and opossums in North America. If animals become heavily infested with these ticks, the loss of blood can kill the animal. Ticks can also spread a variety of diseases.
These exotic ticks are being collected to document their range and to test them for disease. Tick-borne diseases, including those from ticks native to the region, pose a hazard to both hunters and their dogs, as well as other outdoors enthusiasts. In addition to the risk of having the tick attach, human traffic can move the tick from one location to another. This may include hunters, birders and others who often walk through wooded areas, grasses, and shrubs. Transport of hunter-killed animals can pose risks to increasing the range of this tick from one region to another.
If you find a suspected Longhorned Tick on you, your pets, horses, livestock, or hunter-harvested deer, please collect the tick for animal health officials to identify:
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR HUNTERS AND OUTDOOR ENTHUSIASTS
The following guidelines* are recommended to avoid tick-borne diseases and to prevent the transfer of ticks to new sites:
Use Tick Repellent
|Click images to enlarge.
Enlarged image of Deer Ticks (top) and the Longhorned Ticks (bottom) compared to poppy seeds (middle).
Removing Attached Ticks Safely
- Remove attached ticks by using fine-tipped tweezers. If tweezers are not readily available, you can improvise by shielding your fingers with tissue paper, a foil-covered gum wrapper, or plastic sandwich bag and grasping the tick as close to the skin as possible, pulling upward with steady, even pressure.
- Do not twist the tick as you remove it - this may cause the tick's mouthparts to remain in the skin, increasing the risk of infection.
- Do not attempt to suffocate the tick with alcohol-soaked cotton - this will cause the tick to regurgitate while its mouthparts are still in the skin, and can increase the risk of infection.
- Wash the affected area with soap and water, and disinfect the bite site.
Protecting Hunting Dogs
Consult a veterinarian, but basic guidelines* include:
- Apply topical or systemic tick-control treatments. Consult your veterinarian about the appropriate product for your dog.
- Treat kennels as needed to kill ticks. Consult your veterinarian and/or a pest-control company about the safest and most appropriate alternative.
- Any ticks attached to dogs should be promptly and carefully removed, using the same guidelines as posted above for tick removal from human skin.
Avoid Spreading Ticks By Movement of Hunter-killed Deer
- This tick is most active in warm weather, thus the highest risk of moving this tick is during warmer temperatures in September and October of the hunting season.
- After shooting a deer within or near an area known to contain this exotic tick, if you suspect that the deer has this tick present, contact Dr. Jan Lovy at 908-637-4173 ext. 120 or Jan.Lovy@dep.nj.gov) to coordinate collection of these ticks.
- After moving the deer, do not let it lay in your yard as ticks may detach and leave the deer.
- Have the deer butchered promptly OR if processing the deer yourself, remove the hide and store it to prevent ticks from getting into the environment. If saving the skin, freeze for a minimum of 2 days; if not, double bag it and dispose of it with your municipal waste.
* Source: American Veterinary Medical Association
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
New Jersey Department of Health:
How to Avoid Tick Bites
How to Remove a Tick
Rutgers Center for Vector Biology
Fonseca Lab: The tick that binds us all: Review of the biology and ecology of Haemaphysalis longicornis
Rhode Island Tick Encounter