A new study has discovered that Lyme-carrying ticks usually found in woodlands are now also in Northern California beaches. Researchers found a heavy infestation of the ticks in the brush near the beaches that people tend to walk through to reach the sand.
An unlikely place to find ticks
According to the study’s lead and researcher from Colorado State University, Daniel Salkeld, they looked at oak woodlands and red forests. There, they found the ticks almost everywhere. Finding the ticks in this area was particularly surprising since the western grey squirrels that are often associated with tick infections are not common in such places. This brought out the little information there is on how pervasive these creatures are.
Lyme disease is a known infection associated with ticks and is a result of a black-legged tick bite. Although it is pretty difficult to diagnose, the CDC estimates that over 480,000 people are infected with the disease annually.
The study was published in the Applied and Environmental Microbiology journal. Although it went into details on Lyme disease and the ticks, it did not establish what animal was causing this large infestation of the ticks in such an unlikely area. There is, therefore, a need for ecologists to research more on the possible causes.
In a report, USA TODAY acknowledged that the ticks are a threat to people who venture outdoors. The report further said that apart from being a nuisance, ticks spread diseases. This is no news in Pennsylvania, where most Lyme disease cases are reported every year since 2011.
Leah Lind, a Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease coordinator at the Pennsylvania Bureau of Epidemiology, says that tick bites are common this time of year. She, however, adds that not all tick bites require medical attention, and one should only consult a doctor when the skin appears red, swollen, or infected.
Ideal conditions for ticks
According to Nicole Chinnici, director at the Dr. Jane Huffman Wildlife Genetics Institute at East Stroudsburg University, ticks prefer cool, moist conditions, especially when they are widespread on tall grasses. She added that they are more active in the morning, the day’s wetter and cooler part. When it gets hot, they hide under leaf litters in pursuit of moisture.