The weather is getting warmer, meaning we can finally get outside and start exploring again. Everyone loves relaxing by the local pond or lake, doing a bit of fishing, swimming, hiking, or sunbathing.
However, one of the things that tend to put a dampener on our time in the wilderness is one icky reality: ticks! Not only are these bugs extremely disgusting to look at, but they can also be very dangerous – they can spread Lyme disease.
According to a report published in LymeDisease.org, it seems that a new variety of tick has made its way into the United States. It’s called the longhorned or bush tick and is said to have come from East Asian countries such as China and Japan. These ticks look a little different to what we have become accustomed to seeing – they’re relatively small in size and resemble more of a small spider than a tick.
What makes the appearance of this tick more alarming is the fact they might be introducing diseases that aren’t normally on our radar, like STFS, an illness that is known for inducing a hemorrhagic fever. This dangerous condition can lead to a low white blood cell count, fever, and even multi-organ failure.
Now, it’s very important to note that scientists, environmental officials, and doctors are just beginning to understand how this newly-introduced tick might affect the population. This is because these ticks were only first identified last year when a farmer found hundreds of them all over his sheep.
What made this situation especially strange is that the sheep had never traveled out of the U.S. or even locally, which led scientists to believe that it wasn’t an isolated incident. Officials have now informed New Jersey residents, especially those residing and working in Hunderton County, to be especially careful as these tiny ticks might attach themselves to deer, rabbits, and even domestic animals.
So, how do you ensure that you and your family stay safe from these invading ticks? Well, you should do your best to stay out of tall grass, wear high socks and closed shoes in wooded areas, and always check your full body for these bugs before entering your home or car.
Furthermore, if you feel that you might have found evidence of the bush tick, be sure to get in contact with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife Management by calling (908) 637-4173, extension 120. If you happen to live outside of New Jersey, call your local wildlife management program. Let’s keep everyone safe from these bugs this summer!