In 2010 and 2011, field collections were undertaken to determine the geographic range of the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum (L.), in Nebraska. In addition, tick identifications from submissions by the general public dating to 1911 were examined. Consistent lone star tick identifications from extreme southeast Nebraska began in 1987. Specimens have been identified from 27 counties, making lone star ticks the second most frequently and second most widely reported tick in the state after Dermacentor variabilis (Say). Surveys conducted in 70 sites in 43 counties yielded 2,169 ticks of which 1,035 were lone star ticks. Lone star ticks were more frequent in the southeast portion of the state and ticks were found in nine counties from which there were no known submissions. Life stage peaks observed during the surveys corresponded with those observed from submissions. Other ticks, incidental to the study, were also collected. Woody plant expansion into the tallgrass prairie, white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virgianianus L.) and wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo L.) population growth, and the increased frequency of milder winters may be facilitating lone star tick occurrence in the region. Further studies will assess lone star tick establishment and disease pathogen prevalence in the state.
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Vol. 50 • No. 2