Most people don’t realize it, but tick season is pretty much every season. Even though fall has arrived, you still need to be on the lookout for these potentially dangerous pests. Whether you’re hiking or finishing up some of that summer yard work you never got around to doing, they’re out there.
In the fall, ticks hide under leaf litter until the sun warms them enough to come out. Ticks are active as long as the temperature is above freezing and there is no snow on the ground. They are waiting for the perfect host to latch onto. And that could just be you, your family, or your pet!
Didn’t know that ticks were active year round? Well, now you do! Let’s take a look at some of the most common ticks on the west coast and what you can do to protect yourself.
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Most common types of ticks on the West Coast
Ticks are active year round. Even when you think you may not run into a tick, you should always protect yourself just in case. Let’s take a look at four of the most common types of ticks on the West Coast of the United States.
The brown dog tick can be found throughout the United States around houses and dog kennels. They say that this tick feels most at home when it’s inside your home, especially if your dog hasn’t had its flea and tick medicine! Dogs are the host of choice for this type of tick, but they can also bite humans and other mammals. The brown dog tick can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever to dogs, which can be fatal to them without proper treatment. It rarely transmits the disease to humans.
Active from January through November, the Rocky Mountain wood tick is found in Rocky Mountain states. This tick will hide in shrubs, lightly wooded areas, open grasslands, and along trails in higher elevations. The Rocky Mountain Wood tick primarily feeds on large mammals, but will bite humans. It can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Colorado tick fever, and tularemia, all of which can be life-threatening without proper treatment.
The Pacific Coast tick is the most common tick found throughout California. It is also found along trails from Oregon to northern Baja California and Mexico. The Pacific Coast tick is active year round with peak activity in the cooler months, especially in April and May. Adults prefer large mammals like cattle, horses, and deer, but they will latch onto dogs and people as well. This type of tick can transmit potentially fatal diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and 364D rickettsiosis.
The western blacklegged tick is very prevalent along northern coastal habitats and the western Sierra Nevada range. This type of tick can be found in forests, scrub-shrub habitats, and near water. Adult females and nymphs are the most common stages to bite humans. The western blacklegged tick is the principal vector of Lyme disease in the west and it can also transmit anaplasmosis.
It’s important to note that the American dog tick is also active in parts of the western region, particularly in California. Take a look at this interactive map to learn more about the types of ticks that are active during every month in your area.
Can I get Lyme disease in the fall?
Short answer: Yes. You can get Lyme disease year round. The western blacklegged tick, the primary vector for spreading Lyme disease on the West Coast, is active in the fall. Ticks attach to any part of your body, but they must stay attached for at least 36 hours before the Lyme disease bacterium can be transmitted. If you are outdoors in tick-prone areas, always make sure to check your body and clothing for any ticks before you come back inside.
A bullseye rash, fever, and body aches are all common symptoms of Lyme disease. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately. Most people who contract Lyme disease recover quickly and completely with a course of antibiotics. However, if left untreated, some experience other symptoms such as loss of muscle tone in the face (Bell’s palsy), shooting pains, swelling of joints, and arthritis.
How to prevent ticks
There are several things you can do to prevent ticks. Prevention is key in protecting yourself from many tick-borne illnesses. Follow the tips below for proper tick protection:
- Use an EPA-approved insect repellant. An effective bug spray can prevent bites from both ticks and mosquitoes.
- Cover up. If you plan on heading outdoors, wear long sleeves, long pants, closed-toed shoes, and tuck your pants into your shoes or socks.
- Wear light-colored clothing. The lighter colored your clothes are, the better chance of being able to spot a tick and remove it.
- Eliminate vegetation in your yard. Ticks love long grass, so practice good landscaping maintenance and avoid ornamental grasses that may hide them.
Let Western get rid of ticks for you!
The potential transmission of Lyme disease is the number one reason why tick control and prevention is a necessity for homeowners. Ticks can be hiding in leaves in your yard, mulch, and landscaping. It’s important to get them controlled.
The best way to control ticks is to contact us. Our tick specialists will determine if you have a tick infestation, implement a method to stop it, and provide you with ways to prevent ticks from returning. Save yourself from worrying if ticks will be latching onto you and your family, and schedule a free inspection for tick control today!