Lyme Disease is a caused by bacteria – a pathogen – that lives in the saliva of the black legged tick. As of 2016 there have been only eight confirmed cases of Lyme disease reported by officials in Brazos County. That number might seem small, but it is a red flag warning for many reasons.
The Presence of Lyme Disease
The presence of Lyme disease is concerning, but the untold story behind it is even more so. The problem is this – black legged ticks are endemic to Texas – that are native. So why now, is Lyme Disease an issue? The answer to that question has to do with the pathogen of the tick – the bacteria. It is the bacteria that are spreading and currently about 40 percent of black legged ticks in Texas are positive for the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease. Each year, the percentage of infected ticks grows and as it does so do the changes of contracting the disease if bitten.
Not so Fun Facts About Ticks and Lyme Disease
- It’s the Nymphs of the Tick that Spread the Disease Most Often – The adult ticks are most active in the late summer and fall months and they are very capable of transmitting Lyme Disease. However, according to the CDC – Centers for Disease Control – it is the nymph stage of the deer tick’s development that most often spread the disease. This is because they nymph must have a bloodmeal to survive.
- Deer Tick have an incomplete lifecycle – they do not pupate. They begin as an egg that hatches into a larva and then the larva molt and the tick become a nymph – an immature adult. Then the nymph molts again and they become an adult. Deer tick that are infected with the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease can infect you at any stage of their lifecycle except – obviously – the egg stage.
- Your Pets Cannot Give You Lyme Disease – Lyme Disease is not just a human disease, ticks can and do transmit the disease to other animals including cats and dog. There is no scientific evidence that you can catch Lyme Disease from your pets. However, your pets can be a carrier of the ticks and if they bring them into your home the tick might bite you and transmit the disease.
What Can You Do?
Understanding the tick and its behavior is the best thing to do. Ticks in Nymph form are most active in late spring and early summer and the adults are more active. Be sure to check your pets often for ticks and if you are outside, wear light colored clothing so that the dark bodied ticks show up easier. The female is a reddish brown while the male is a dark brown.
Do not sit in the grass or on the ground. Ticks in grass will happily climb on any animal or human who lies or sits in the grass. Also, avoid bushy areas in your landscape as ticks will climb up on limbs of shrubs to gain access to deer and other animals.
There are pest control measures for ticks. To learn more about those, please reach out to our team of pest professionals.