Kenwood Press

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News: 07/01/2019

Keep your eyes open – it’s tick season

 Western blacklegged tick
A Western blacklegged tick as a nymph (top left), adult female (bottom left), and adult male (right).
School isn’t the only thing out this summer – so are ticks. The Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District is urging residents to take personal precautions against ticks when engaging in outdoor activities.

“Ticks are active all year in Marin and Sonoma counties, but most people spend more time outdoors in the warmer and dryer months, wearing less clothing and thus increasing their risk of coming into contact with ticks and the diseases they carry,” said Kelly Liebman, scientific programs manager for the district. “Taking personal precautions such as wearing an effective insect repellent, conducting routine tick checks, and removing ticks properly can greatly reduce the risk of disease transmission.”

Humans aren’t the only ones that are susceptible to tick-borne illnesses. Pet owners should contact their veterinarian to discuss the use of tick prevention products for their animals. Dogs in particular are very susceptible, as they tend to venture into tick habitat regularly. Be sure to check your dog for ticks before allowing him or her indoors.

The Ixodes pacificus tick (Western blacklegged tick) is active in the nymphal life stage this time of year, and about four percent of them harbor the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Nymphal ticks can be difficult to detect, as they are the size of a poppy seed.

Follow these three simple steps to help minimize exposure to ticks and tick-borne diseases:

• Repel – Apply an EPA-registered insect repellent such as DEET (at least 25 percent), IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (PMD), or Picaridin. Treat clothing and equipment with permethrin. Wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

• Inspect – Periodically conduct tick checks on yourself, your children, and your pets during and after being in tick habitat.

• Remove – Remove attached ticks promptly and correctly. Using a fine-tipped tweezer, grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible, and pull straight out. Remove clothing and place in the dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks before washing. Showering after being outdoors will help reveal attached ticks and wash off those that have not yet attached themselves.

For more information about staying tick-free and protecting your family from other potentially harmful vectors, visit

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