Fever Ticks & Pests

Fever Ticks

Cattle Fever Ticks, known scientifically as Rhipicephalus (formerly Boophilus) annulatus and R. microplus, are a significant threat to the United States cattle industry.

These ticks are capable of carrying the protozoa, or microscopic parasites, Babesia bovis or B. bigemina, commonly known as cattle fever. The Babesia organism attacks and destroys red blood cells, causing acute anemia, high fever, and enlargement of the spleen and liver, ultimately resulting in death for up to 90 percent of susceptible naive cattle.

The fever tick has been a threat to American agriculture for generations. The disease caused enormous economic losses to the U.S. cattle industry in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Since that time, the TAHC and the USDA - Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service - Veterinary Services works together to protect the state and nation from the pest and its repercussions.

Today, portions of eight South Texas counties have established fever tick quarantines. The counties include, Cameron, Kinney, Maverick, Starr, Webb, Willacy and Zapata.

There are three types of Fever Tick Quarantine Areas; The Permanent Fever Tick Quarantine "Buffer" Zone, a Control Purpose Quarantine Area, and a Temporary Preventative Quarantine Area. To learn more about the statewide fever tick response, please visit the TAHC Monthly Fever Tick Situation Report.

Within quarantine areas, all livestock (cattle and equine) and live or hunted wildlife (such as nilgai antelope and white-tailed deer) that are capable of hosting fever ticks, are subject to movement restrictions, inspections and treatment as prescribed by TAHC fever tick regulations.

Fever Ticks are reportable to the TAHC. To report a suspect or confirmed case you can call your private veterinarian or click here.

Fever Tick Quarantines

Current Fever Tick Quarantine Notices & Maps

Past Fever Tick Quarantine Notices & Maps

Longhorned Ticks

The longhorned tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) is native to to eastern China, Japan, the Russian Far East, and Korea. It is an introduced/established exotic species in Australia/New Zealand and several island nations in the western Pacific Region. It can be a serious pest of livestock in these areas.

In late 2017, the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NSVL) confirmed the presence of the longhorned tick in the United States. Longhorned ticks are light brown in color and the adult female grows to the size of a pea when it is full of blood. Males are rare. Other stages of the tick are very small, about the size of a sesame seed or even smaller.

The tick has been confirmed in the following states: Arkansas, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Tennessee. They have been found infesting a number of hosts including sheep, goats, dogs, cats, horses, cattle, white-tailed deer, Virginia opossums, raccoons, coyotes, red-tailed hawks, red foxes, grey foxes, striped skunks, eastern cottontail rabbits, elk, groundhogs, and humans.

New World Screwworms

New World screwworm disease is an infestation with the larvae of the New World screwworm fly (Cochliomyia hominivorax) that lives off the flesh of living mammals and, less commonly, birds. During the past century the presence of New World screwworm cost the U.S. livestock industry an average of $20 million annually.

In 2017, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced the successful eradication of the New World Screwworm (NWS) from Florida.

New World Screwworms are reportable to the TAHC. To report a suspect or confirmed case you can call your private veterinarian or click here.