Asian Longhorned Tick Spotted in Morgan County

By Benjamin Cox on May 6, 2024 at 1:20pm

Illinois has become the 20th state to discover the Asian longhorned tick, and it was first spotted here in Morgan County.

The tick, considered an invasive species, was found on April 12 during routine active tick surveillance in Morgan County as part of an Illinois Department of Public Health surveillance program. Additional surveillance in the area on April 24 discovered two additional Asian longhorned ticks. Identification was confirmed by entomologists at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory.

According to IDPH, the tick was first introduced to the U.S. In 2017 but this is the first known sighting in Illinois. Asian longhorned ticks are light brown in color and are very small, often smaller than a sesame seed. The tick is capable of carrying tick borne diseases that affect cattle. In addition, a female can reproduce without a mate and lay up to 2,000 eggs at a time. Therefore, numbers may expand rapidly.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture, IDPH and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources are monitoring the situation in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture. Livestock farmers are asked to pay close attention to their herds and continue working with their veterinarian to maintain an appropriate management plan.

Take all normal precautions for ticks including using DEET repellent, permethrin, as well as showering and doing body checks for ticks when coming in from outdoors.

If anyone believes they have identified H. longicornis on an animal, the tick should be placed in a jar with isopropyl alcohol, and the Department of Agriculture should be contacted at 217-782-4944.