New Jersey has an undesirable new resident who seems to make his stay permanent.
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture said in a press release on Friday that the Haemaphysalis longicornis, a tick from countries such as China, Korea, and Japan, also known as the longhorned tick or bush tick, has survived the winter and "possibly established in the state".
The mysterious pest was first discovered last summer when a farmer visited health services in Hunterdon County in thousands of ticks after shearing a 12-year-old Icelandic sheep named Hannah, according to NJ.com
James L. Occi, Research Microbiologist and PhD student at Rutgers University's Vector Biology Center, PEOPLE explains that researchers are not sure how the ticks ̵
"We have no idea how it got here ", says Occi PEOPLE. "Maybe someone who travels internationally with a pet or pets."
Andrea Egizi from the Monmouth County Mosquito Control Lab did the preliminary identification of the foreign tick, while Tadhgh Rainey from the Hunterdon County Health Department collected samples from Farmer Occi
although the samples were negative for "typical tick-borne pathogens in New Jersey Occi says it's unclear what residents can expect from the infestation.
And while they pose no danger to humans, the tick species could harm livestock and wildlife.
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture said: "Longhorned tick nymphs are very small (resembling tiny spiders) and may easily go unnoticed in animals and humans, and are known to affect stags and a variety of other hosts. Therefore, it has the potential to infect several North American wildlife species. "
The Department will continue to monitor animals for the tick throughout the year.
Health and wildlife officials are working to remove this pest from the index spaces, making sure it does not spread to other areas.