A population of lone star ticks was discovered in coastal Connecticut, according to state officials.
A "heavy population of the lone star tick" was detected on Manresa Island, which is the former Norwalk Harbor Station, in South Norwalk, according to Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. This population was "first known established reproducing population" in Connecticut.
The lone star ticks, which can make people allergic to red meat, have been moving northward and were on eastern Long Island, NY in the 1990s, DEEP officials said. Officials at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station said they have seen a "steady increase in submissions of lone star ticks," but the numbers have "remained small." There have been around 70-90 in recent years and only 2-3% of all tick submissions.
The population of lone star ticks was discovered after reports of a deer acting strangely in South Norwalk in June. A DEEP Environmental Conservation officer found the deer dead and said he "found the animal had suffered from a severe infestation of ticks, which still completely covered its eyes, ears, head, and neck."
"The number of ticks on and around the animal was incredible,” Dr. Kirby Stafford, who examined the dead deer, said in a statement on Wednesday. “A population of this size has been established, unreported for many years."
Stafford said, "high tick densities appear confined to the Manresa Island site." He added that "the site is not open to the public and poses little direct threat to residents."
With that being said, the number of ticks submitted to Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station has increased and the submissions suggested that ticks were being introduced to other areas in the town, DEEP officials said.
The lone star ticks, which are reddish brown in color and have a conspicuous spot on the back of females, are the "most common human-biting tick in the southeastern United States."
For repelling the lone star ticks, experts said use techniques similar to the black-legged tick. Residents should do the following items:
use of a repellent or pesticide correctly applied to clothing and on gear
wearing light colored clothing
inspecting clothing, gear, and pets
conducting a full body tick check
showering after being outdoors
For more information on the lone star ticks, click here.
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