Asian longhorned tick


The Asian longhorned tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) is an invasive pest that was first found in west central Illinois in April 2024. These small ticks can be found on people, pets, livestock, and wildlife in large quantities, and bites from these ticks can make people and animals ill. It is a pest of concern for livestock because severe infestations can be fatal.

Asian Longhorned Tick Factsheet     Asian longhorned ticks and livestock

This tick can infest a variety of mammals. So far Asian longhorned ticks have been found on numerous domesticated and wildlife species hosts including sheep, goats, dogs, cats, horses, cattle, chickens, black bears, grey squirrels, red and grey foxes, groundhogs, striped skunks, white-tailed deer, elk, opossums, raccoons, Canada geese, barred owls, great horned owls, brown boobies, mice, blue jays, and red-tailed hawks

Heavy infestations have been reported on cattle and white-tailed deer, and livestock and deer are thought to be their primary hosts. In its native range, it vectors several diseases for animals and humans. This tick in the U.S. does not currently carry or vector any pathogens. It has been shown to carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever under laboratory conditions, but this has not been found in the field.

Asian longhorned ticks are unique among many other ticks because they can reproduce without a male. A female tick can lay up to 2,000 eggs without a male, meaning that one female can create a new population,


Asian longhorned tick is a recent invader of the U.S. It was confirmed in the U.S. in 2017 but has likely been here since 2010. It was first found in west central Illinois in April 2024. It has also been found in Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, and Tennessee.

A very small tick
A group of small ticks gather at the edge of a leaf
Credit: Jim Occi, Rutgers Center for Vector Biology

Asian longhorned tick regulation

There are currently no regulations in place.

How to identify the Asian longhorned tick 

Asian longhorned is a very small light brown tick. The adults are about the size of a sesame seed before feeding and about the size of a pea after a blood meal. They are difficult to detect because they are so small.  Female ticks lay eggs in spring and early summer, and when the larvae hatch, they climb plants and wait for a suitable host. They are host-seeking through their larval and nymphal stages throughout the summer.

Asian longhorned ticks favor low-lying swampy areas, wooded areas, and taller grasses. Large numbers of ticks can be found in areas with established populations where these areas converge.

How to Manage Asian longhorned Tick

For both livestock and humans, tick checks are crucial for prevention of tick infestations and possible disease spread. There are pasture and lawn control measures that can reduce tick-bite risk. 

Weed control, low grass height, and general sanitation are good cultural control practices to prevent tick-bite risk. There are labeled insecticides for ALHT control in the environment as well as personal protective clothing that can be used to prevent tick bites on humans.

Asian longhorned tick appears to be susceptible to most of the chemical products commonly used to treat other species of ticks on cattle. If cattle continue to graze pastures that are heavily infested, they may become reinfected as drug levels provided by treatment drop off. The length of time that any of these products will keep cattle from becoming reinfected is not currently known but will likely vary based on the product and the number of ticks in the pasture. Consult your herd veterinarian to develop a plan for ectoparasite prevention.

  • Mow pastures: Mowing pastures will help keep tick numbers lower than not mowing. Preliminary data suggests that the combination of mowing and chemical products can lessen tick burden on livestock.
  • Wooded areas: If Asian longhorned tick is found in wooded areas, livestock should not roam the area until late fall when temperatures have fallen and ticks become inactive.
How to Collect and Submit Ticks for Research

University of Illinois Extension is working to survey the area where invasive Asian longhorned ticks were first identified to get a better understanding of the population size, risks, and to help prevent further spread. Residents in Morgan County and the surrounding west central Illinois area are encouraged to collect and submit ticks by mail or at their local county Extension office

Tick Removal

  • Pets and Livestock: Pull ticks gently and place them in a collection container.
  • Human skin: Use a tweezer to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Then apply gentle pulling pressure to remove the tick. After removing the tick, wash your hands with soap and water and the site of the tick attachment with isopropyl alcohol.

Containers, Labeling, and Storage

A variety of containers that seal can be used to store collected ticks such as a sealed plastic bag, an empty condiment jar, or a pill bottle. The ticks should be placed in isopropyl or rubbing alcohol in the sealable container. Containers of ticks and alcohol can be left on the counter out of sunlight. Periodically check the level of alcohol to prevent drying out. If not using alcohol, place the container in the freezer until submission. 

Label each container with the date and location of collection. If the ticks are removed from pets, please indicate whether the pets are treated with flea/tick products and the specific product. Be sure to note if travel out of state had occurred in the previous three weeks and destination(s). 

In situations where there are many small ticks called nymphs, sometimes referred to as turkey mites, use a lint roller to remove the ticks from clothing. Remove the sheet and place it on a flat surface with the sticky side up. Pull off another sheet and put the smooth side down on the first sheet. Do not put both sticky sides together. Then pull off a third sheet and lay the sticky side against the sticky side of the second sheet. Place the sheets in a sealable bag and label them appropriately. Do not collect ticks with packing or transparent tape

How to Submit Ticks

Take collection containers of ticks with rubbing alcohol to your local county Extension office. Find your local office at Offices will have a submission form that can be filled out to gather information for researchers. If you want to know the tick species you submitted, please provide contact information. 

Ticks in sealable plastic bags without alcohol can be mailed to:
   Teresa Steckler
   354 State HWY 145 N
   Simpson, IL 62985