Ticks had become a significant problem in the United States. Some ticks might be found in the forest areas where you could come into contact with them during your outdoor activities. Some of them might be prevalent in your home ambiance. Many ticks are prevalent in Northern California, but only some are disease-causing. This blog is all about the ticks in northern California, their disease-transmitting capability, and precautionary steps to avoid tick bites in California.
Are Ticks in Northern California Dangerous?
Ticks are one of the most concerning pests in Northern California as they could spread diseases such as Lyme disease to individuals. Many types of ticks are present in the California region, but only some cause diseases. You can find ticks mainly in California counties, Klamath mountain ranges, and the western slopes of Sierra Nevada. The black-legged ticks are considered dangerous, causing Lyme disease, but others like reddish-brown ticks are not much dangerous.
Different Types of Ticks in Northern California
You can find the Blacklegged ticks in the western slope of the Sierra Nevada ranges. During May, ticks are likely to lay eggs. Their larval stage is likely to be active during the months of July to September, while nymphs are active during May to August. Adult blacklegged ticks start to search for a host from October to May.
Hosts of Blacklegged ticks:
Blacklegged nymphs prefer mice, rats, rodents, squirrels, rabbits, etc. At the same time, adult ticks prefer large mammals such as Humans, dogs, cats.
The winter tick is also known as the moose tick. Scientifically it is called the Dermacentor albipictus. These ticks are ¼ inch, but the females tend to grow larger after feeding. The females are reddish-brown have cream-colored scutum on their backs.
Host of Winter Ticks
The most preferred host is moose. In the absence of moose as hosts, they may also feed on dogs, coyotes, black bears, and beavers.
Veterinary And medical importance:
These ticks rarely bite humans and animals, so they do not transmit any diseases to humans. But you may get transmitted by the ticks through their hosts – Moose and coyotes.
Pacific Coast Ticks :
The Pacific coast ticks, also known as Dermacentor Occidentalis, can be found through Baja California and Mexico. These ticks are transmitters of some severe diseases like the Rocky Mountain spotted fever (Rickettsia rickettsii), Bovine Anaplasmosis, 364D rickettsiosis (Rickettsia Philippi), Tularemia (Francisella tularensis). These ticks are known to be active from April to May. Females feed for 6 to 10 days before laying eggs. They also digest the blood for three weeks.
The Pacific Coast ticks prefer cattle, horses, humans, deer, and dogs.
American Dog Ticks:
American dog tick or Dermacentor variabilis are found throughout California. You can find them along the state’s coastal regions, especially in higher amounts in the central valley and eastern sierra range regions. They transmit diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia.
Common Tick Diseases in Northern California
● Borrelia mayonii infection by the blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis)
● Lyme disease by Borrelia mayonii
● Borrelia miyamotoi is transmitted by the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis)
● Bourbon virus
● Anaplasmosis is caused by the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) the western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus) along the Pacific coast.
● Ehrlichiosis- prime transmitter is the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum)
● Colorado tick fever is by a virus carrier is Rocky Mountain wood tick
● Heartland virus
● Powassan disease
● Babesia microti – the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) is the agent’s carrier, which is the cause of this disease.
● Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis
● 364D rickettsiosis
● Tick-Borne relapsing fever (TBRF) soft ticks are most likely to transmit these diseases.
● Tularemia -The dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum), and the wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni) are the transmitters of this disease.
Where are ticks most likely to bite?
Ticks can be found biting behind the ears, anus region, neck region, underarms, scalp, etc. You cannot feel the bite as it would hardly cause any pain. Ticks transmit disease through their bite. The Longer they have left on the skin, the chances of contracting diseases increase. The saliva and other enzymes which are released into the blood of the host while feeding may contain the disease-causing agent.
Precautionary Steps To Avoid Ticks:
- Stay away from areas where ticks thrive.
- Make sure to apply insect repellent creams with 20 percent DEET for keeping away ticks.
- Take a bath after coming back from the tick-infested area.
- Make sure to wear clothes and shoes which are Permethrin treated.
- Spray insecticides to areas where the ticks are infected.
- Petting animals that eat ticks could be useful.
What If Any Symptoms Arise?
If any symptoms arise, it is crucial to seek the advice of a medical practitioner. Also, make sure to get tested immediately. The doctors may provide doxycycline for bacterial infections, while for a viral disease, they may try to suppress the symptoms that arise from the disease.
What if you spot a tick?
If you spot a tick, it is important to remove it as soon as possible.
Make sure to have the following items for removing ticks
- Latex gloves
- Rubbing alcohol
- Ziplock cover.
Step 1: Using the tweezers hold and remove the ticks. Make sure not to break it. If any part of the ticks is still intact on the tick, make sure to remove it.
Step 2: Place it in the container and then the ziplock cover.
To kill it, put it into the rubbing alcohol.
Step 3: Apply rubbing alcohol on the skin and the tweezers.
Step 4: The locations and the time of the removal of the tick are to be mentioned. It takes 36 to 48 hours of feeding before transmitting the disease.
Ticks are found throughout the United States, especially in Northern California. Some ticks might transmit diseases directly to humans while some of them transmit through their hosts. So, it is essential to prevent tick bites and keep your environment tick-free to lead a healthy life.