Pick up know-how for tackling diseases, pests and weeds.
Farm bill, farm marketing, agribusiness webinars, & farm policy.
Find tactics for healthy livestock and sound forages.
Scheduling and methods of irrigation.
Explore our Extension locations around the state.
Commercial row crop production in Arkansas.
Agriculture weed management resources.
Use virtual and real tools to improve critical calculations for farms and ranches.
Learn to ID forages and more.
Explore our research locations around the state.
Get the latest research results from our county agents.
Our programs include aquaculture, diagnostics, and energy conservation.
Keep our food, fiber and fuel supplies safe from disaster.
Private, Commercial & Non-commercial training and education.
Specialty crops including turfgrass, vegetables, fruits, and ornamentals.
Find educational resources and get youth engaged in agriculture.
Gaining garden smarts and sharing skills.
Timely tips for the Arkansas home gardener.
Creating beauty in and around the home.
Maintenance calendar, and best practices.
Coaxing the best produce from asparagus to zucchini.
What’s wrong with my plants? The clinic can help.
Featured trees, vines, shrubs and flowers.
Ask our experts plant, animal, or insect questions.
Enjoying the sweet fruits of your labor.
Herbs, native plants, & reference desk QA.
Growing together from youth to maturity.
Crapemyrtles, hydrangeas, hort glossary, and weed ID databases.
Get beekeeping, honey production, and class information.
Grow a pollinator-friendly garden.
Schedule these timely events on your gardening calendar.
Equipping individuals to lead organizations, communities, and regions.
Home to the Center for Rural Resilience and Workforce Development.
Guiding entrepreneurs from concept to profit.
Position your business to compete for government contracts.
Find trends, opportunities and impacts.
Providing unbiased information to enable educated votes on critical issues.
Increase your knowledge of public issues & get involved.
Research-based connection to government and policy issues.
Support Arkansas local food initiatives.
Read about our efforts.
Preparing for and recovering from disasters.
Licensing for forestry and wildlife professionals.
Preserving water quality and quantity.
Cleaner air for healthier living.
Firewood & bioenergy resources.
Managing a complex forest ecosystem.
Read about nature across Arkansas and the U.S.
Learn to manage wildlife on your land.
Soil quality and its use here in Arkansas.
Learn to ID unwanted plant and animal visitors.
Timely updates from our specialists.
Eating right and staying healthy.
Ensuring safe meals.
Take charge of your well-being.
Cooking with Arkansas foods.
Making the most of your money.
Making sound choices for families and ourselves.
Nurturing our future.
Get tips for food, fitness, finance, and more!
Understanding aging and its effects.
Giving back to the community.
Managing safely when disaster strikes.
Listen to our latest episode!
By Ryan McGeeney U of A System Division of AgricultureMarch 22, 2019
(783 words)(Download this story in MS Word format here.)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Researchers with the University of Arkansas System Division of
Agriculture plan to expand a state-wide tick collection effort that began in 2017.
Ashley Dowling, an associate professor of entomology and researcher with the Arkansas
Agricultural Experiment Station, is the primary investigator on that study. He said
three to five years’ worth of data is required to provide an accurate picture of the
prevalence of tickborn pathogens throughout Arkansas.
“We have about a year-and-a-half’s worth of data right now,” Dowling said. “And that’s
really just a snapshot, a moment in time. The more data you have, the less likely
you are to be fooled by an anomaly.”
Dowling said he hoped to deliver a new batch of several thousand tick collection kits
to extension offices this spring.
The study was constructed to use a “citizen-scientist” model, in which Arkansans of
all walks of life were encouraged to participate in the study by collecting ticks
“We thought that if we could get people actively collecting and submitting those ticks,
that in itself would raise a lot of public awareness,” Dowling said. “That was a goal
in and of itself.”
Ticks were collected throughout the state, with kits supplied through the Cooperative
Extension Service. Dowling said the research team initially sent about 40-50 collection
kits to each of the more that 75 Cooperative Extension Service offices throughout
“Some counties were immediately requesting more kits,” Dowling said, while other counties
returned few if any of the kits.
Dowling said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers Arkansas
and its neighboring states are a “hot spot” for tickborn illness, including spotted
fever, ehrlichiosis, tularemia and others.
“We’re typically No. 1 in any given year,” Dowling said.
Kelly Loftin, extension entomologist for the Division of Agriculture, said he and
the study’s research team has identified about 10,000 ticks that were collected throughout
the state in 2017-2018. The research team is in the process of producing maps that
illustrate what, if any, tickborn pathogens have been detected in a given geographical
area, although both Dowling and Loftin caution that no one should assume a given pathogen
came from “their tick.”
“We don’t want dots on the map that can be linked to a specific tick — that’s a common
thing that happens,” Dowling said. “But this study isn’t intended as a diagnostic
“We want to report the prevalence of pathogens within each census block in each county,”
he said. “We had some spots where 90-100 percent of the ticks tested positive for
An online map that maps where various species of ticks have been collected and identified in Arkansas
can be accessed at http://bit.ly/2Uz7jjd. As the research team processes the ticks for various bacterial pathogens, additional
layers will be added to the online map to reflect those findings. A static map displaying
the prevalence of rickettsia can be seen at https://flic.kr/p/2dTsdj6.
Currently, the study is only scanning the collected ticks for bacterial pathogens,
although both the Arkansas Department of Health and the CDC, Dowling said, have expressed
interest in seeing the Division of Agriculture team expand the research to include
viral pathogens as well.
“If we do that, it would add a whole new dimension to this project,” Dowling said.
“It would be like looking for a needle in a haystack to go after the viruses — they’re
far less common than bacterial pathogens. But that’s where we could be headed.”
In 2018, researchers confirmed the presence of the Longhorned tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) in Benton County, Arkansas. The tick, which is known to carry and transmit both
viral and bacterial tickborne diseases, is native to East Asia and was first detected
in the United States in 2017. To date, however, only one Longhorned tick nymph has
been confirmed in Arkansas, Loftin said this week.
Despite the new arrival, Loftin said that residents should simply continue to exercise
the same precautions they would with the state’s existing tick population. Recommended
preventive measures include wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, tucking pants
into socks, and applying insect repellent to both skin and clothes. Individuals should
inspect themselves for ticks thoroughly as soon as possible after potential exposure.
Additionally, residents should maintain an effective tick control program on pets
that are allowed outdoors. Keep piles of wood or rubbish should be kept far away from
animals and homes, as they tend to serve as shelter or habitats for rodents, which
can carry ticks, insects and disease.
To learn more about research being conducted by the Arkansas Agricultural Research
Station, visit https://aaes.uark.edu/.
To learn about ticks and other insects in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative
Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu. Follow us on Twitter at @UAEX_edu.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen
agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption
of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative
Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work
within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas
System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension
and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex,
gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital
or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and
is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
# # #
Media Contact: Ryan McGeeneyCommunication ServicesU of A System Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service(501) email@example.com