Lone star tick population increasing, expanding in Connecticut

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NEW HAVEN, Conn, (WTNH) — The lone star tick has been spotted in Norwalk and Fairfield in previous years, but this year, researchers noticed an increasing population in New Haven County.

Goudarz Molaei, a research scientist and the Director of Environmental Sciences with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, told News 8 a resident in Milford reported seeing a lone star tick.

“We went and investigated,” he said. “In a single day, in a matter of an hour, we collected 200 specimens of this tick in that region.”

The population of the lone star tick is increasing and expanding throughout the state of Connecticut and even throughout the northeast.

It is known to be more aggressive than a black-legged tick because of it’s aggressive biting behavior.

Molaei told News 8 that when a host passes a black-legged tick it attaches and bites the host. Unlike the lone star tick, which aggressively follows the host.

The tick also carries multiple diseases and viruses, some known to be deadly, including tularemia, ehrlichiosis, rickettsiosis, heartland virus disease, and southern tick-associated rash illness.

Aside from diseases and viruses, Molaei said, “It is also believed this tick is responsible for causing red meat allergy.”

While many may think they’re safe from tick bites in cooler seasons, that’s no longer the case. Molaei said, “this is unprecedented because we used to get 50 maximum during these four winter months.”

Molaei said in November 2019, they’ve already received 500 ticks from residents around Connecticut.

They often receive tick submissions from residents to help with their continuing research at their tick testing lab in New Haven.

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