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According to Popular Science (This article and its images were originally posted on Popular Science November 30, 2018 at 12:28PM.)
When officials from the Centers for Disease Control first encountered longhorned ticks, there were so many crawling in the grass that the investigators found the bugs crawling all over their pants within a few minutes. Thousands of them filled the sheep paddock inspectors were there to examine, where a single ewe lived along with thousands of tiny roommates.
Longhorned ticks weren’t previously known to live in the U.S., much less to live on a solitary sheep in Hunterdon, New Jersey that had never traveled outside of the country. She hadn’t even left the property in years. Yet here was a bug that wasn’t supposed to exist on this continent—in droves.
After the sheep’s owner brought some tick samples to the CDC back in August 2017, the agency started digging a little deeper. Asian longhorned ticks (so called because they’re native to East Asia), or Haemaphysalis longicornis, are on the list of prohibited critters that border inspections are supposed to catch. Over the years, U.S. ports of entry have intercepted the bugs at least 15 times. But once the CDC started looking for the ticks, they found evidence that the critters have spread to at least eight states—New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Maryland—and are popping up on a variety of hosts, from people to pets to livestock. It’s the first invasive tick to enter the U.S. in 80 years.
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