The Lone Star Tick- a new tick lands in Wisconsin


"Female (left) and male lone star ticks. Named for the white splotch on the back of the female, they haven’t been considered Wisconsin residents but have appeared in at least half a dozen counties this year." Photo: Darby Murphy and Heriberto Verdugo/UW-Madison

“Female (left) and male lone star ticks. Named for the white splotch on the back of the female, they haven’t been considered Wisconsin residents but have appeared in at least half a dozen counties this year.”
Photo: Darby Murphy and Heriberto Verdugo/UW-Madison

Susan Paskewitz, Professor
Department of Entomology
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences






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Susan Paskewitz describes the new tick that has landed in Wisconsin, and what to look out for.

3:03 – Total Time
0:16 – About the Lone Star Tick
0:34 – How to identify a Lone Star Tick
1:04 – Disease vector
1:51 – Where the tick is now found
2:08 – Precautions in the field
2:29 – How to send in a sample
2:54 – Lead out




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Sevie Kenyon: Susan, tell us a little bit about his new tick you’ve found.

Susan Paskewitz: So we have found a tick that’s called the Lone Star Tick, which is not a tick that Wisconsinites have ever had to worry about before. We think it’s not resident in the state, so that’s why I’m kind of eliciting support from the community out there; if you find them we really want to know about them.

Sevie Kenyon: What should people look for?

Susan Paskewitz: What you want to look for is a kind of rounded tick that has a white spot in the middle of the back. But, if people should also stumble across what I’m going to call a tick swarm, where all of a sudden they might have twenty to one hundred little tiny ticks crawling all over legs or pants, that might also be a Lone Star Tick just in immature stage, the larval stage. So if they’ve found those, I’d also like to receive some specimens of that if I could get them.

Sevie Kenyon: Are there other things people should be concerned with, with the Lone Start Tick?

Susan Paskewitz: The Lone Star Tick is a vector of some diseases that we haven’t had to worry about in Wisconsin before. One of those is a disease called Ehrlichiosis; this is human monocytic Ehrlichiosis, which is unfortunately distinct from other forms of ehrlichia that are transmitted by the Deer Tick in the state. Another thing that we want people to be thinking about is the very strange association between Lone Star Tick bites and meat allergy. Who would think it, but when people are bitten by a Lone Star, a little while later develop an allergy when they eat red meat. As far as I know we haven’t had cases of this yet in Wisconsin, but it is known to be associated with the Lone Star Tick bite in other parts of the country.

Sevie Kenyon: Well Susan, maybe you can give us a little detail about what you have found here in Wisconsin.

Susan Paskewitz: We have Lone Stars collected from Waukesha, from Dane County, and I myself have actually have picked one up out in the middle of nowhere in Price County, and there must be thousands if not probably hundreds of thousands of Lone Stars throughout the state.

Sevie Kenyon: And Susan, are there precautions people should take?Susan Paskewitz: We always recommend you tuck your pants into your socks when you’re out in these wooded areas, and if you wanted to apply a repellant like a product that contains deet to your pants that can help. And then there are some new products that contain a compound called Permethrin. The ticks get on your pants, it’ll kill them.

Sevie Kenyon: How do people collect a sample and get it to you?

Susan Paskewitz: Most efficiently for us, in case we want to look for the pathogens that maybe associated with the adult stages in particular, need the ticks to come in good shape. I will guide you through the process, if you want to contact me, one way you can do that is through the Department of Entomology website, or I now have a webpage that’s called Wisconsin Ticks, and it’ll give you everything and more that you want to know about the situation in Wisconsin.

Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting with Susan Paskewitz, Department of Entomology, University of Wisconsin in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Madison, Wisconsin, and I am Sevie Kenyon.






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