Tuesday, January 29, 2013

And so it begins...

Sedgwick Reserve, Santa Barbara County, CA
Tick dragging at Coal Oil Point Reserve, Goleta, CA
While "dragging for ticks" today at Sedgwick Reserve (pictured above), I collected the first Ixodes pacificus ticks (the primary Lyme vector in the western US) of the season. The adults are just beginning to emerge and start "questing" for hosts (read a little more about the life cycle of ixodid, or "hard" ticks here). So the Lyme vector is certainly present in the central coast of California, as are hosts (there were plenty of deer, ground squirrels, and small rodents out and about at the reserve today as well). I will be excited to find out how abundant the ticks are and how prevalent the Lyme-causing bacteria is. Stay tuned!