Ticks may be small, but they can pose a big threat to your health. In fact, the U.S. CDC estimates that approximately 476,000 people may get Lyme disease in the United States every year.
With summer on the horizon, and people are participating in such outdoor activities as hiking, camping, and creating the backyard of their dreams, the chance they might encounter a tick are increasing.
Tick activity has been on a slow rise in California, according to a study conducted by researchers from Colorado State University. The research showed that ticks are found from the coastal counties of Mendocino to Monterey, but also that areas further south, including Malibu and Manhattan Beach in Los Angeles County and Newport Beach in Orange County, have logged tick populations.
To keep outdoor enthusiasts safe, Clark, your friendly termite, mosquito, lawn care, and pest control expert, would like to share some helpful information about ticks and tick prevention during national Tick Awareness Week.
The tick health threat
A bite from a tick can be serious. This pest can transmit such disease pathogens as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, and others to humans. To reduce exposure to ticks and tick bites, it is important to wear insect repellent with at least 20 percent DEET and avoid grassy habitats where ticks are known to live. You can also keep yourself protected by wearing long sleeves and pants.
What should you do if you suspect you were bitten by a tick? Clark recommends following these simple steps:
- Gently pull back any hair from around the tick, exposing the skin near the tick or its bite.
- Locate the head of the tick, grasp it as close to the skin as possible, using fine-tipped tweezers, and gently squeeze. Do not grab the tick’s body, as this can increase the chance of injecting the tick’s bodily fluids into the skin.
- Pull outward in a straight motion until the pressure pulls out the head of the tick. Do not twist or wiggle the tick, as that may tear the head off, leaving it lodged in the skin.
- Once removed, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with soap and water. You can also use rubbing alcohol or an iodine scrub.
- Ticks should then be flushed down a toilet or wrapped tightly in tissue before disposing in a closed receptacle. Do not try and crush them.
After removing a tick, monitor symptoms and seek medical help immediately if you develop a rash or a fever.
- The western blacklegged tick has been found in 56 of California’s 58 counties.
- It is common in the humid north coastal areas and on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada range.
- Ticks prefer cool, moist areas and can be found on wild grasses and low vegetation in both urban and rural areas.
- Adult ticks climb to the tip of vegetation along trails and wait for a host to brush against them.
- Nymphs are found in low, moist vegetation, such as leaf litter and on logs.
- Adults are most active from fall through early spring, and tick nymphs are active primarily in spring and early summer months.
If you have questions about ticks or other pests, call or text (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, the pest management professionals at Clark Pest Control thank you for helping us keep unwanted pests out of your home and yard.