University of Wisconsin–Madison

Amblyomma americanum (Lone star tick)

The Lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum) is rarely found in Wisconsin but there are submissions every year, especially in the southern half of the state.   WE WELCOME SUBMISSIONS  OR DIGITAL IMAGES OF LONESTAR TICKS  COLLECTED FROM ANIMALS OR HUMANS WITHOUT A RECENT OCCURRENCE OF OUT -OF-STATE TRAVEL.  Dead lone star ticks can be placed in plastic bags or small containers for shipping.  If you have live adults, please contact us for information about shipping as we may want to preserve them differently.

Lone star ticks, in general, are aggressive pests in all three life stages (larva, nymph and adult).  This means the lone star tick will often actively pursue a meal and does not tend to be picky about what species of animal it gets a blood meal from.  Nymphs and larvae of the lone star tick will often feed on humans, and can sometimes be present in large numbers.  These are sometimes called “seed ticks” in the southern USA.  It is not uncommon for a person to pick up 20 to several hundred seed ticks at a time.

  • Disease and lone star ticks

    The lone star tick is an important vector of both human and animal tick-borne diseases but transmission of Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterial agent which causes Lyme disease, has not been confirmed.

    The lone star tick is the primary vector of Ehrlichia chaffeensis and Ehrlichia ewingii which cause ehrlichiosis in humans and domestic dogs.  There is evidence of human infection with E. chaffeensis in Wisconsin residents without travel history (contact the Department of Health Services for further information).  This tick may also be involved in transmission of spotted fever group rickettsia.

     

  • Red meat allergy

    Recent work suggests that some people may become allergic to red meat following the bite of a lone star tick.  Symptoms range from hives to severe shock resulting in a trip to the emergency room.  For many people, the allergy begins to wear off within a few months.