Ticks in the PNW?

I grew up in the Seattle area, spending weekends and school vacations, including summers, at my grandparents farm just 20 miles north in Stanwood. The neighborhood I grew up in had a ton of kids, and we ran around in the woods and pastures, especially in the spring and summer, barefoot and wearing minimal clothing. I have been stung by bees and hornets, stung by nettles, bitten by mosquitoes, horseflies and other biting bugs, I have a scar on my foot from a blackberry thorn, but I have never heard of ticks in Washington.

I moved out of state for a couple of decades, but I have moved back to my home area, and I am hearing on the news all the information on how to avoid ticks, what to do if you find one on yourself or children and pets and I am frankly confused. We have ticks now? When did this happen? Also, if we do have ticks, is my yard safe for myself and the pets? I did not swim in the lakes on Kodiak because there are leeches shudder and I am rather horrified to think that I could potentially have a freaking BUG embedding it’s head into my flesh!

So . . . ticks in the PNW? Really?

Ticks is western Washington are relatively rare (east of Cascades and Oregon another story…), but are there, and always have been. Stay off deer trails and quit watching the news. People in the East have to deal with millions of the things.

Thanks Fishtar and lol, I was watching the weather and suddenly they were giving tick warnings! Okay, I shall summer on with much less worry.

No worries. Good that you are back. Being from Washington/New Mexico myself, I am also a bit horrified of tick. But after doing forestry work…they no longer seem like totally evil Sci-Fi creatures…(just somewhat malevolent Sci-Fi creatures).

 I am planning on calling my father later today.   Shall inquire about any horrid 1950s, Lynnwood Washington,  Stand By Me, type of tick stories.    Probably he has one.

Last May I drove past a lone lady in Gig Harbor sitting in a chair by the side of the road with a hand-lettered sign that said “Lyme Disease Awareness”. My first thought was that she was showing support for an out-of-state friend or relative. Washington sure isn’t the tick-infested horror I experienced when I lived in Texas. :eek:

We’ve done a lot of hiking in the Cascades and in the heavily-forested Columbia River Gorge over the last four years and never had one of the beasties latch onto us. Coming here from Alaska, it’s hard to keep in mind that such critters even exist.

Back in elementary school in WA, a few times each year there’d be some kid found with ticks meanign we’d all have to be checked. Once I hit junior high, it was almost unheard of.

There are deer ticks in the PNW but you are not going to run into them very often.

When I was bow hunting I would sometimes find that the deer I harvested would have a fair number of ticks crawling on them. But they won’t live very long off of the warm body of the animal. Our environment is not really suited for them.

You see on TV people with nets or even a piece of white cloth walking through a tick infested area in other areas of the country and collecting ticks but I have been an active outdoorsman here for most of my life and have never picked up a tick.

July, August, September, I would keep aware of the possibility of picking one up on your clothing as you walk through the woods. Just change clothes, take a shower, things your are normally going to do after a hike or hunt anyway, and you will be fine.

Ticks like to crawl out onto the end of a branch or blade of grass and sit there waiting for some warm body to walk by that they can hitchhike on.

It is still quite rare for even a dog to pick up a tick here in NW Oregon.