Asian longhorned tick confirmed in Illinois

Asian longhorned ticks have been detected in Illinois; it is the 20th state to discover the pest. The tick was discovered in Morgan County during a routine tick surveillance.

University of Illinois Extension educator Teresa Steckler says the invasive species can carry diseases that affect cattle. “All livestock producers need to be much more vigilant,” she says. “They need to get with their herd veterinarian and develop protocols using external parasite treatments to hopefully keep these ticks at a minimum.”   She says use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD) or 2-undecanone. Producers need to always follow product instructions.

She tells Brownfield producers need to develop farm and pasture plans. “Mow their pastures so that there is a break between the woods and the pastures,” she says. “It will not prevent the ticks completely from getting on your cattle, but it definitely will help.”  Steckler says the ticks are very difficult to find. “These ticks are very small,” she says. “They’re going to be brown. The females, once they’re engorged, they’re going to be the size of a pea.”

She says tick populations can expand rapidly as females can reproduce without a mate and can lay up to 2,000 eggs at a time.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Illinois Department of National Resources continue to monitor the situation, along with the USDA. 

Steckler is if livestock producers find ticks on themselves or their livestock, they are encouraged to put it in a sealed Ziploc bag and take it to their local extension office so it can be sent off to be identified. 

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