NC Commissioner Steve Troxler: Watch out for Ticks and other Pests

The state has seen five cases of EEE already this year, easily doubling the total number of cases for all of 2019. Recently, new information was released that the Asian longhorned tick has now been found in 10 North Carolina counties, up from four in 2019. Horse owners and livestock farmers need to be extra vigilant in watching for these harmful pests.

  • We know 2020 has been a challenging year. It is difficult to think anyone would have ever envisioned a year with a global pandemic, murder hornets, canceled fairs and other large events, plus an overactive hurricane season.
  • Asian longhorned ticks

    Well, now we can add Asian longhorned ticks to the list.

  • We recently received a report that the Asian longhorned tick has now been found in 10 counties in the state, primarily in the Western part of the state. That is up from four counties in 2019.
  • The Asian longhorned tick was first found in North Carolina in 2018. The tick can reproduce without a mate, with the female laying between 2,000 and 4,000 eggs a year, meaning its numbers increase very quickly.
  • Some people refer to this tick as a vampire tick because it can kill an animal by draining its blood. Five cows were killed last year in North Carolina by this tick. The animals were found with thousands of ticks on them. It was a pretty shocking sight to see.
  • I would encourage farmers to monitor your livestock closely and be on the lookout for this tick.
  • If you look at the map of states with active Asian longhorn tick populations, we are mostly surrounded. Virginia has 31 counties with reports of the tick, West Virginia has 21 counties and Pennsylvania has a dozen. Tennessee also has 10 counties where the tick has been found. So far there are no reports in South Carolina.
  • With the Labor Day holiday coming up in a few weeks, people may be outdoors hiking or camping. I would encourage people to mindful of ticks in general.
  • I’ve had a couple of bouts with Lyme disease, which is spread by a tick bite, and I developed an allergy to red meat because of a tick bite as well. I believe they were from the deer tick
  • Check yourself if you are working outdoors or outside in green and woody areas.
  • And while we are talking about pests, I’ll mention again about being proactive in removing potential breeding areas for mosquitoes.
  • We have already seen five cases of EEE in horses this year, which easily doubles the two cases we had in all of 2019.
  • We anticipated that this could be a very active mosquito season because of a relatively mild winter and a rainy spring, and that seems to be proving true.
  • If you are an equine owner, I urge you to consider vaccinating your horses and be proactive around your farm and stables to remove standing water that can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes.