CREEPY: U.S. Invaded by Armies of Eastern Asian Tick that Spawns Without Mating
By Heather Callaghan, Editor
The Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. has witnessed a new explosion of a foreign species of tick.
Somehow, the tick landed here from Eastern Asia and, to listen to the media, one would think it should be called The Terminator for its horrifying description.
So far, there are no reports of disease, but the potentially dangerous critters have been described as “savage” for their insatiable appetites, i.e. ability to literally drain an animal dry of its life’s blood.
Stranger still, this tiny terror reproduces asexually.
The tick, the Asian longhorned tick (or Haemaphysalis longicornis), has the potential to transmit an assortment of nasty diseases to humans, including an emerging virus that kills up to 30 percent of victims. So far, the tick hasn’t been found carrying any diseases in the US. It currently poses the largest threat to livestock, pets, and wild animals; the ticks can attack en masse and drain young animals of blood so quickly that they die—an execution method called exsanguination.
Key to the tick’s explosive spread and bloody blitzes is that its invasive populations tend to reproduce asexually—that is, without mating. Females drop up to 2,000 eggs over the course of two or three weeks, quickly giving rise to a ravenous army of clones. In one US population studied so far, experts encountered a massive swarm of the ticks in a single paddock, totaling well into the thousands. They speculated that the population might have a ratio of about one male to 400 females.
Yesterday, August 7, Maryland became the eighth state to report the presence of the tick. It followed a similar announcement last Friday, August 3, from Pennsylvania. Other affected states include New York, Arkansas, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Although the tick’s home is on the other side of the Earth in China, Japan, Korea, and parts of Russia, it became established in New Jersey in just the last few years. A 12-year-old sheep on a New Jersey farm was completely covered in them. It was doused in permethrin pesticide but it is unclear if that is what took care of the infestation or if it was the early winter frost. Investigators were swarmed in the ticks when they arrived and found only one male tick out of 1,058 ticks collected.
Come that spring, the ticks had “overwintered,” i.e., were still settling in New Jersey, suggesting that they had become officially established there.
Finally, the report from ars TECHNICA concludes with this positive little gem:
Additionally, H. longicornis may harbor a newly emerging virus that causes SFTS, which is short for severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome. SFTS was first identified in China in 2009 and is marked by fever, vomiting, hemorrhaging, and organ failure. Reported fatality rates fall between 6 percent and 30 percent. Several studies have pointed to the longhorned tick as being a reservoir and source for the virus.
I’m positive that our readers know how to prevent ticks but feel free to leave your tips in the comments below!
===>> FACT: The U.S. Government and Canada’s Government experimented with biological warfare using vectors such as fleas and ticks. Canada allied with other countries to drop disease-ridden vectors in Asia.
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