Are Western Black-Legged Ticks In San Diego Dangerous?

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There are obviously dangerous creatures, and then there are not so obviously dangerous creatures. For instance, you know not to approach a wild grizzly bear or a lion. There is nothing about these apex predators that suggest they won’t cause you great harm. Unfortunately, the same fear does not arise when you see a tick latched onto your skin. Why? Because people do not know ticks are dangerous or underestimate how harmful these tiny pests can be. One of the most dangerous ticks in our area is the western black-legged tick. Here is everything you need to know about this pest.

What Is The Western Black-Legged Tick?

The western black-legged tick is found all along the Pacific coast and is most common in Northern California. This blood-feeding pest spends the majority of its time looking for a host to feed on. Due to their extreme lack of mobility, a tick must get creative to catch a meal. Common methods of getting onto a host involve climbing up tall grass and waiting for an animal or human to walk by, or perching on a tree branch or leaf and dropping on an unsuspecting victim below.

Western black-legged ticks are very similar in appearance to Ixodes scapularis, also known as deer ticks. The best way to identify this pest is its reddish color, eight legs, protruding mouthparts, and the darker spot right behind its head.

The Dangers Of Western Black-Legged Ticks

Ticks, in general, are known for spreading blood-borne diseases. Western black-legged ticks spread one of the worst blood-borne diseases there is: Lyme disease. This dangerous illness is most often harmless, but can be life-changing.

Here are some of the most common symptoms associated with Lyme disease:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Joint aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Erythema migrans (EM): Spreading rash that starts 3 to 30 days after the initial bite

If you are ever unfortunate enough to contract Lyme disease, we hope you only develop minor symptoms. Here are some less common but more severe symptoms of Lyme disease:

  • Severe headaches and neck stiffness
  • More EM rashes in other parts of your body
  • Irregular heartbeat or strong heart palpitations
  • Nerve pain
  • Shooting pain, tingling, or numbness in your hands and feet
  • Episodes of shortness of breath and dizziness
  • Facial palsy
  • Arthritis, typically in larger joints such as knees and elbows
  • Inflammation of the brain and or spinal cord

As Lyme disease is often incurable, many symptoms last for life, which for most people, is a scary thought. The good news is, Lyme disease is much easier to cure when doctors have a vector to study. For this reason, if you are ever bitten by a tick, after you safely remove it from your skin, store it inside a plastic bag in the freezer. If you show any signs of Lyme disease, bring the tick to your doctor to help them identify which strain of the disease you have and to find a fast and effective treatment.

The Best Way To Keep Ticks Out Of Your Yard

Now that you know how dangerous ticks are, let’s talk about one simple way to keep these pests off your property. At Allswell Here, we take tick problems seriously, which is why we only use advanced pest control products and industry leading-equipment when treating for ticks around local properties. With our help, you won’t ever have to worry again about walking out into your yard and coming back inside with a tick, or worse, a tick carrying Lyme disease.

Give our team a call or reach out to us through our website today to schedule your San Diego, CA property for a detailed tick control treatment. Learn about our home pest control programs and other pest control services in San Diego.