Bat tick found for the first time in New Jersey
The hits just keep on coming in 2020 for New Jersey: pandemics, earthquakes, hurricanes, lantern flies, being named one of the least friendly states in America, having the least sexy accent, and now, researchers at Rutgers have identified a bat-borne tick that hadn’t been spotted in New Jersey before. And guess what? They can bite humans!
According to the school’s press release:
“All ticks feed on blood and may transmit pathogens (disease-causing microbes) during feeding,” said lead author James L. Occi, a doctoral student in the Rutgers Center for Vector Biology at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. “We need to be aware that if you remove bats from your belfry, attic or elsewhere indoors, ticks that fed on those bats may stay behind and come looking for a new source of blood. There are records of C. kelleyi biting humans.”
This tick is a “soft” tick as opposed to the “hard” ticks that are commonly found on deer that can transmit Lyme disease. According to Rutgers, this soft tick species, a parasite of bats, is known to be in 29 of the 48 contiguous U.S. states, and was confirmed in New Jersey as larvae collected from big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) in Mercer and Sussex counties. This is a new addition to the list of New Jersey ticks.
As if bats aren’t skeevy enough to begin with, now they’re transporting ticks to suck on our blood.