On May 14, the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa confirmed the finding of the Haemaphysalis longicornis tick (otherwise known as the East Asian or Longhorned tick) in Virginia. The tick appeared on an orphaned calf on a beef farm in Albemarle County.
In late 2017 H. longicornis was found in New Jersey, but previously was not known to exist in the United States. No known direct link exists from the Virginia farm to the area in New Jersey where the first ticks appeared on a sheep farm. The tick is normally found in Asia, Australia and New Zealand, where it is known to transmit both livestock and human disease. Virginia state veterinary officials will continue to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other federal and industry partners to determine the extent and significance of this finding.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) is asking citizens to be alert for the presence of H. longicornis on livestock and pets. The adult Longhorned tick is dark brown in color and grows to the size of a pea when engorged. The other life stages are very small and difficult to see with the naked eye. This tick may be found in large numbers on a single animal. If you find suspected Longhorned ticks, please contact your local extension office, who can direct you on how to collect the ticks for identification. Please work with your veterinarian on a tick prevention plan
Below is a description of ticks commonly found in Virginia.
The image below features a blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis, on top (from left to right, nymph, male and female), and the Longhorned tick, H. longicornis, on the bottom (from left to right, nymph, and female). Poppy seeds are in the middle for size reference.