Research Focus Area 6: Risk and Ecological Assessment for the Management of the Asian Longhorned Tick in the Northeastern US

This research area involves broad collaboration across multiple academic and public health institutions in the Northeast to address the invasive Asian longhorned tick. In addition to the specific lead institutions listed below, these applied research projects are conducted in partnership with many state and local vector control and public health agencies, including but not limited to: Monmouth County Tick-borne Disease Laboratory, New Jersey Department of Public Health, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York State Integrated Pest Management, Suffolk County Department of Health Services, Suffolk County Department of Public Works, and others.

PROJECT AREA: Optimization of Surveillance for H. longicornis and Determining the Current Distribution of the Species in the US

Work in this area will focus on determining which surveillance approaches are most effective for environmental sampling of the Asian longhorned tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis). We will gather data on what type of drags/flags/sweeps work best for collecting these ticks, and will sample across the Northeast to assess the regional distribution of this species. We are also investigating the design and optimization of passive traps to collect this tick.


Lead Institutions: Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, Cornell University, Fordham University, New York State Department of Health, Rutgers University

Project Investigators:

  • Richard Falco, PhD, Louis Calder Center, Fordham University, New York State Department of Health
  • Dina Fonseca, PhD, Rutgers University Center for Vector Biology
  • Laura Harrington, PhD, Cornell University
  • James Occi, MS, Rutgers University Center for Vector Biology
  • Nicholas Piedmonte, MS, Louis Calder Center, Fordham University, New York State Department of Health
  • Phurchhoki Sherpa, MS, Cornell University
  • Kirby Stafford III, PhD, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
  • Alvaro Toledo, PhD, Rutgers University Center for Vector Biology

Project-Related Publications:

  • Beard CB, Occi J, Bonilla DL, et al. 2018. Multistate infestation with the exotic disease-vector tick Haemaphysalis longicornis - United States, August 2017 - September 2018. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly 67:1310-13. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6747a3

PROJECT AREA: Habitat, Host, and Pathogen Associations of H. longicornis

Project Overview: The recent arrival of the Asian longhorned tick has raised many questions about the habitat, host, and pathogen associations of US populations. This information is critical to determine pathogen transmission dynamics, public health risk and management strategies. Work in this area will focus on understanding the ecology and behavior of this invasive tick species in the Northeastern US. We will develop transects across grass, edge habitat, and interior woods to understand which life stages of the Asian longhorned tick can be found in these environments, and will conduct surveys in backyards and neighborhoods to assess risk around residences. We will also assess the relative frequency of Asian longhorned ticks feeding on small and medium-sized mammals. Collected ticks will be tested for human and veterinary pathogens.


Lead Institutions: Columbia University, Cornell University, Fordham University, New York State Department of Health, Rutgers University

Project Investigators:

  • Bryon Backenson, MS, New York State Department of Health
  • Maria Diuk-Wasser, PhD, Columbia University
  • Andrea Egizi, PhD, Monmouth County Division of Mosquito Control, Tick-Borne Disease Laboratory, Rutgers University Center for Vector Biology
  • Maria del Pilar Fernandez, PhD, Columbia University
  • Richard Falco, PhD, Louis Calder Center, Fordham University, New York State Department of Health
  • Dina Fonseca, PhD, Rutgers University Center for Vector Biology
  • Julia Gonzalez, PhD, Rutgers University Center for Vector Biology
  • Laura Goodman, PhD, Cornell University Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory
  • Laura Kramer, PhD, Wadsworth Center Arbovirus Laboratory, New York State Department of Health
  • Laura Harrington, PhD, Cornell University
  • James Occi, MS, Rutgers University Center for Vector Biology
  • Nicholas Piedmonte, MS, Louis Calder Center, Fordham University, New York State Department of Health
  • Dana Price, PhD, Rutgers University Center for Vector Biology
  • Melissa Prusinski, MS, New York State Department of Health
  • Danielle Tufts, PhD, Columbia University
  • Meredith VanAcker, Columbia University

Project-Related Publications:

  • Burtis J, Egizi A, Occi J, Mader E, Lejeune M, Stafford III K, Harrington L. Intruder alert: Asian longhorned tick - what you need to know about the invasive tick Haemaphysalis longicornis 2018 Fact Sheet. Northeast Regional Center for Excellence in Vector-Borne Diseases. Available at: ecommons.cornell.edu/handle/1813/60516.2
  • Burtis, Harrington. An Invasive Passenger Comes Knocking: The Longhorned Tick. Summer 2018 Edition, Rural Futures. NYS Legislative Commission on Rural Resources. Available at: www.nysenate.gov/newsroom/articles/pamela-helming/summer-2018-edition-rural-futures
  • Ronai I, Tufts DM, Diuk-Wasser MA. 2020. Aversion of the invasive Asian longhorned tick to the white‐footed mouse, the dominant reservoir of tick‐borne pathogens in the U.S.A. Medical and Veterinary Entomology. doi:10.1111/mve.12441
  • Tufts AM, VanAcker MC, Fernandez MP, DeNicola A, Egizi A, Diuk-Wasser MA. 2019. Distribution, host-seeking phenology, and host and habitat associations of Haemaphysalis longicornis ticks, Staten Island, New York, USA. Emerging Infectious Diseases 25(4):792-6. doi:10.3201/eid2504.181541
  • Wormser GP, McKenna D, Piedmonte N, Vinci V, Egizi AM, Backenson B, Falco RC. 2020. First recognized human bite in the United States by the Asian longhorned tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis. Clinical Infectious Diseases 70(2):314–316. doi:10.1093/cid/ciz449

PROJECT AREA: Phenology Field Studies of H. longicornis in the Northeast

Project Overview: Using optimized surveillance techniques determined through complementary NEVBD studies, work in this area will focus on data collection on the animal phenology of the Asian longhorned tick in several specific field locations. We will also gather data on overwintering triggers and overwintering biology of this tick.


Lead Institutions: Columbia University, Fordham University, New York State Department of Health, Rutgers University

Project Investigators:

  • Stephanie Aponte, Rutgers University Center for Vector Biology
  • Maria Diuk-Wasser, PhD, Columbia University
  • Maria del Pilar Fernandez, PhD, Columbia University
  • Richard Falco, PhD, Louis Calder Center, Fordham University, New York State Department of Health
  • Dina Fonseca, PhD, Rutgers University Center for Vector Biology
  • Julia Gonzalez, PhD, Rutgers University Center for Vector Biology
  • Nicholas Piedmonte, MS, Louis Calder Center, Fordham University, New York State Department of Health
  • Danielle Tufts, PhD, Columbia University
  • Meredith VanAcker, Columbia University

PROJECT AREA: Understanding Optimal Control Strategies for the Management of H. longicornis

Project Overview: UWork in this area will focus on assessing the susceptibility of the Asian longhorned tick to standard acaricides. We will also focus on resistance monitoring for this species, and test integrated tick management strategies under lab and field conditions, as time and resources allow.


Lead Institutions: Cornell University, Rutgers University

Project Investigators:

  • Matthew Bickerton, Rutgers University Center for Vector Biology
  • James Burtis, PhD, Cornell University
  • Dina Fonseca, PhD, Rutgers University Center for Vector Biology
  • Julia Gonzalez, PhD, Rutgers University Center for Vector Biology
  • Laura Harrington, PhD, Cornell University
  • Alvaro Toledo, PhD, Rutgers University Center for Vector Biology