Department of Agriculture | Exotic Tick Fact Sheet skip to main content skip to main navigation

Image: Haemophysalis longicornis, from left to right is an adult female, an engorged nymph and larvae. Both males and females can be found on a host. Photo courtesy of Jim Occi, Rutgers University.

  • On August 1st, 2017, a Hunterdon county resident brought in several ticks that had been removed from their pet sheep.
  • The one sheep is the only animal on the property and has not left the property for many years.
  • The sheep was tested for various livestock specific diseases, including Piroplasmosis, Anaplasmosis, Q fever, Heartwater and various blood parasites at the NVSL, and all tests were negative.
  • Initial identification of the haemaphysalis longicorniswas tick species was made by the Center for Vector Biology at Rutgers University and confirmation was made at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) on November 9, 2017.
  • This tick, known as the Bush Tick or longhorned tick, has never been in the USA, but has been intercepted on several occasions on animals entering the country, particularly horses.
  • The tick is found in East Asia, New Zealand and Australia and is the most widespread tick species on wild and domestic animals in Japan.
  • The tick is a serious pest to livestock including cattle, horses, farmed deer, sheep and goats in its native range and in other parts of the world where it has been introduced, as well as wildlife, pets and humans.
  • They tend to be found in tall grasses, such as meadows and paddocks, and are known to survive harsh winters.
  • Ongoing surveillance continued during the winter and on April 17, 2018 the NVSL confirmed the Longhorned tick successfully overwintered in New Jersey.
  • The property is being treated and follow up wildlife surveillance is ongoing.
  • The tick is a non-descript, brown colored tick with both males and females able to feed (see image below), however, the invasive form is when females show the ability to produce eggs without the use of a male, as found in this case.
  • Adult females can lay between 800-2000 eggs in the soil in mid-summer with larvae being found in late summer-early Fall.
  • Please contact the state veterinarian at (609) 671-6400 if unusual ticks are detected in livestock animals or with any questions regarding livestock.
  • Unusual ticks detected in wildlife should be immediately reported to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, Bureau of Wildlife Management at (908) 637-4173 ext. 120.
  • Persons with questions about tickborne illness in humans can contact their local health department at http://localhealth.nj.gov or the New Jersey Department of Health at 609-826-5964.