May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month: Get the Facts and Apply the Knowledge

Release date: 
May 10

Cotati, CA - The Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District (District) cautions individuals who spend time outdoors to be aware that they may come in contact with ticks, including those that can transmit Lyme disease.


Ticks are small blood-sucking arthropods that can transmit diseases, and are most often found in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, especially along sides of trails. Ticks do not fly, jump, or fall out of trees. Adult ticks wait on the tips of vegetation for a host to pass by, while the much smaller nymphs are commonly found in leaf litter or on logs and branches. After a tick grasps onto a host, it will crawl in search of a suitable location to attach to the skin and begin feeding.


Several different types of ticks are found in Marin and Sonoma counties, but only the western black-legged tick (Ixodes pacificus) can transmit Lyme disease. Symptoms of Lyme disease may include (but are not limited to) an expanding "bulls-eye" rash usually accompanied by flu-like symptoms, such as body aches and fever. If you become ill after being bitten by a tick, consult your physician.


"Protection from ticks and tick bites begins with applying basic personal protection measures before entering tick habitat," stated Nizza Sequeira, Public Relations Director for the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District. "Equally important is promptly removing ticks that may have attached themselves to you," said Sequeira.

Before entering tick habitat, take the following precautions:

  • Consider applying an effective tick repellent to exposed skin. Click here to use the EPA's repellent search tool. 
  • Consider treating clothes/personal outdoor equipment with permethrin.
  • Wear light-colored clothing (this makes it easier to spot ticks).
  • Wear long pants, long sleeves, and long socks whenever possible (this makes it more difficult for the tick to get to your skin).

While in tick habitat:

  • Stay on trails (adult ticks are typically more abundant on the uphill sides of trails).
  • Avoid contact with nymph habitat (leaf litter, logs, tree trunks, etc.).
  • Periodically check for ticks on people and animals.

After exiting tick habitat:

  • Wash all clothes in hot water and dry on high heat.
  • Shower after coming indoors and carefully check for ticks.
  • Properly remove any attached ticks immediately (please see our tick brochure for proper removal technique).
Example of correct way to remove tick.