An aggressive Asian tick species has invaded South Carolina, and is showing up in higher numbers in North Carolina, according to the S..C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).
Officials recently found a “large population” of Asian longhorned ticks on commercial cattle in York County, S.C. This is the first time they have been seen in the state in large numbers, but in 2020 some were found on shelter dogs in Pickens and Lancaster counties.
South Carolina officials are concerned because they can lay 1,000 to 2,000 eggs at a time – and can reproduce without mating.
“This tick could overwhelm dogs or livestock or people,” a panelist at the DHEC briefing said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Asian longhorned ticks are small but very aggressive feeders. Asian ticks swarm in large numbers and are in the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, and have been seen as far north as Virginia. Animals that become covered in them experience blood loss, shock, and even death.
Hikers are encouraged to wear insect repellent with Deet.
Pet and livestock owners should consult with their veterinarian about tick prevention treatment. DHEC said regular tick prevention is effective against the Asian longhorned tick.