Asian Longhorned Tick

What To Know About Asian Longhorned Ticks Haemaphysalis longicornis

Asian Longhorned ticks are not normally found in the Western hemisphere, these invasive exotic ticks were reported in the United States for the first time in 2017.

Populations in the US reproduce asexually and can build up quickly. Its primary host seems to be sheep and cattle and are a major concern with livestock producers.

They are active in all four seasons and have been identified in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

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Asian Longhorned Tick Understanding

Physical Characteristics

Asian Longhorned ticks are small in size approximately 2.5mm to 3.5mm and reddish-brown in color without any type of colored markings.  H. longicornis become grey in color when fully engorged approximately 10mm. They have long legs and a long body, which gives them a distinctly spider-like appearance.

They have a high tolerance to arid conditions and do not require high humidity levels like other hard ticks. H. longicornis are parthenogenetic meaning that they reproduce both sexually an asexually, no male Asian Longhorned ticks have been found in the United States.

Habitat & Range

Asian Longhorned ticks are found in open sunny areas like pastures, meadows, wood edge, lawns, parks and golf courses.

The do not require protected high-humidity forested type of cover, and are found east of the Mississippi river.

Life Cycle & Hosts

Asian Longhorned ticks are three-host ticks, feeding on different hosts during the larval, nymphal and adult stages.  H. longicornis go through four stages in their life cycle: egg, larvae, nymph and adult female.

H.longicornis has a large range of hosts including dogs, cats, livestock and cattle, horses, racoon, fox, white-tailed deer, bear, coyote, chicken, geese and birds of prey. Thankfully, the A.L.T. doesn’t feed on the mouse, it will feed on humans though.

Adults are active late May through September, lay eggs in summer then dies. 

The eggs hatch into six-legged larvae and are active late July through November.  They will feed and over-winter then molt into nymphs in the spring.

The nymph has eight legs and is active late February through mid-June. Nymphs will then feed before molting into an 8-legged adult female tick. Tick activity is dependent on geographic distribution and available hosts.  H. longicornis is active down to 40°F.

Medical & Veterinary Importance

The Asian Longhorned tick samples collected and studied in the United States so far, do not carry pathogens important to humans. In other countries, H. longicornis has been known to transmit Powassan virus, Anaplasma, Babesia and Ehrlichia.

H.longicornis is a vector of bovine theileriosis to cattle and babesiosis to several domestic livestock species. The sheer number of ticks found on some animals are causing anemia as well as causing severe distress for the animal.