Last year, during routine bat monitoring, a team in New Jersey discovered big brown bats that had engorged ticks on them. This unusual occurrence prompted them to collect the ticks and send their findings to the NJ Dept of Health and Rutgers University to ID them. The ticks were identified as the species Carios Kelleyi, and it was the first time that they had been documented in New Jersey.
What do we know about Carios Kelleyi?
They are soft-bodied ectoparasites that feed off their hosts, normally bats. Soft ticks do not look like hard ticks, which means that most of us would not recognize them as ticks.
They are common in other states like Iowa and are found in buildings with bat infestations. Once they have fed they can hide out in crevices in the roost, whether that be a tree, attic, or barn. These ticks usually do not wander far from their hosts. However, if the bats abandon or are removed from their roost, the ticks will become hungry and start to wander, searching for something to feed on. If bats are not available, their preferred host, they will feed on other animals or on humans.
While this new discovery may sound concerning, it’s important to note that you are more likely to encounter dog or deer ticks than you are bat ticks in New Jersey. Soft ticks are not believed to transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, the health risk connected to these bat ticks is still unknown.
What needs to be done if you discover you have bat ticks in your home?
Once the bats have been removed and your building has been sealed to ensure that no bats can return to roost, you can turn your attention to the ticks. Insecticides such as those commonly used for cockroaches can be applied to the cracks and crevices in the bat roosting area. It is important that the bats are excluded before dealing with the ticks otherwise spraying insecticides will only provide a temporary solution and won’t completely eliminate them. These ticks have been known to survive months without feeding, so just waiting for them to starve to death is not an option. In addition, this could cause them to start to spread through the property looking for a way to feed.
How common or widespread these ticks are in New Jersey is yet to be determined, however, it is yet another reason to deal with any bat issues you may have in your home as promptly as possible. If you have a bat issue in your property don’t let it get out of hand. Call the professionals who can help you figure out your next step. Bat Removal specialists will be able to pinpoint the places where bats are likely getting in, then remove them and seal vulnerable entry points to keep them from coming back. We can help you fix this issue once and for all. Call our customer service to set up an inspection at 877-264-2287.
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