NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — There’s a type of tick researchers in Connecticut are keeping a close eye on. The Asian Longhorned tick was recently found in New Haven County, which is now believed to be the northern-most established population for this species.
“We discovered another established population of this tick species in New Haven County in a coastal region,” explained Dr. Goudarz Molaei, a research scientist who directs the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station’s Passive Tick Surveillance and Testing Program.
This tick species was first found in New Jersey in 2017 and it has since been discovered in 15 other states, including Connecticut.
When one researcher went looking for them, he came back with his clothes covered in about 200 of them.
Dr. Molaei said it’s something he and his team are watching closely.
Once a few of these bugs get to an area, they can quickly make more because of an interesting quirk in their biology.
“It has the capability to establish population very quickly because females do not need mates to reproduce,” said Dr. Molaei.
He added these ticks can transmit viral, bacterial and parasitic diseases, which can make both people and animals seriously ill. Research shows dogs are a frequent, identified host in the United States, which is why pet owners are being urged to be careful.
“Heavy infestation could be stressful to dogs and they could experience severe blood loss,” Dr. Molaei told News 8.
The CDC recommends talking to your vet and doing what you can to better protect your furry family members, which includes checking them for ticks and reducing tick habitat in your yard.
“I do check her whenever I pet her. I comb her with tick and flea comb,” said Rose Chatterton of New Haven.
Chatterton said this is something she’ll look out for with her dog Ginger.
“I think I’ll be a little more vigilant with her,” Chatterton said.
Human biting by this tick has been documented in the infested states, including at least four instances in Connecticut. To keep yourself safe, wear protective clothing, use bug spray and do a tick check once you come inside after spending time outdoors.