Ticks and Lyme Disease

In honor of Lyme Disease Awareness Month and in response to some misinformation about ticks on social media recently, we'd like to share some tick and Lyme disease facts.

  • Ticks can spread several diseases to humans and pets, but Lyme disease is the most common. In California, Lyme disease is carried by the western blacklegged tick which occurs throughout the state.
  • Lyme disease has been reported in most California counties, but some areas pose higher risks than others.
  • You can protect yourself from ticks and the diseases they transmit by wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts outdoors, using an EPA registered repellent with 20-30% DEET, or applying permethrin to clothing. 
  • Check yourself often after being outside in areas that are prone to ticks (forests, woodlands, and grasslands).
  • Shower within 2 hours of exposure to ticks and place clothing in a hot dryer for an hour to kill any ticks that may be on them.
  • Safely remove ticks with tweezers by grabbing the tick as close to the skin as possible and slowly pulling it out.
  • The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) says to control ticks around your home, remove leaf and grass litter from your yard and create a 3-foot barrier of mulch or gravel between your lawn and unmanaged or forested areas.

For more information, see the UC IPM Pest Notes: Lyme Disease in California or visit the California Department of Public Health's website to learn more about:

By Lauren Fordyce
Author - Urban and Community IPM Educator