While ticks are either buried under snow, frozen into the ground , or just taking a rest over much of the northern tier of the USA this month, the winter "green up" in much of California is just what it takes to really "heat up" TickEncounter risk .... from Mendocino to Calabasas, as well as points further south and points in between. "In both northern and southern California, tick activity typically begins after Thanksgiving, but starting from now, we'll expect to see peak tick encounters through May and June." That's what Dr. Bob Lane, West Coast tick guru and distinguished (and active) emeritus professor of entomology from UC-Berkeley told TickEncounter in an interview recently. "It starts with the adult western blacklegged tick, and those ticks are joined by the Pacific Coast tick and American dog tick a little later towards spring". Nymphal western blacklegged ticks, the principle vector stage of Lyme disease out west become most active in April and May.
"In both northern and southern California, tick activity typically begins after Thanksgiving, but starting from now, we'll expect to see peak tick encounters through May and June".Dr. Bob Lane, Professor of Entomology from UC-Berkeley
Pet owners and hikers, especially, notice when tick season starts out west. During a visit last Spring to the Malibu/Calabasas area, TickEncounter found large numbers of dog owners and recreational hikers with plenty to say about ticks. Be sure to check out our newest videos, "Cal-Tick Habitats!" and "Tick-y Dogs, California Style!".
While there, we spent lots of time in fence-enclosed dog parks. They were well groomed and maintained and didn't appear to be places with much tick risk. The park regulars reported often finding ticks ... on their dogs and themselves after a visit to the dog park. How come?
We looked for ticks on the ground, under (sparse) trees, in wood chips - NO TICKS!! But, you'll likely be shocked at what we found :