TICKS OF THE PACIFIC SOUTHWEST

There are 48 tick species in the Pacific Southwest with a number of tick species that commonly carry and spread pathogens through biting. Ticks are divided into two main families: hard ticks (Ixodidae) and soft ticks (Argasidae). The tick species identified below pose health risks for both humans and animals in the Pacific Southwest.

WESTERN BLACKLEGGED TICK
Ixodes pacificus

AMERICAN DOG TICK
Dermacentor variabilis

ROCKY MOUNTAIN WOOD TICK
Dermacentor andersoni

BROWN DOG TICK
Rhipicephalus sanguineus

PACIFIC COAST TICK
Dermacentor occidentalis

SOFT TICK
Ornithodoros spp.

PAJAHUELLO TICK
Ornithodoros coriaceus

Lyme Disease Awareness Month: Lunch & Learn Series from PacVec

Learn more about ticks in the Pacific Southwest and tick-borne disease activities at PacVec in our Lunch and Learn presentation. The resources provided in this video are available in “Tick Resources” . 

Click on the items below to explore the resources they provide:

    California Department of Public Health (CDPH)

    Arizona Department of Health Services  (AZDHS)

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

    Pacific Southwest Center of Excellence in Vector-Borne Diseases (PacVec)

    Tick exposure can occur year-round. Before you go outdoors, it is important that you:

    Know Where to Expect Ticks:

    • Ticks can be found in areas with grass, shrubs, logs, large rocks, or fallen leaves.

    Use Repellents:

    • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-unecanone.
    • Follow directions and reapply as needed.
    • Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth. Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old.

    Wear Protective Clothing: 

    • Wear long sleeves and pants when possible.
    • Treat clothes and shoes with permethrin that kills ticks. This remains protective through several washings.
    • Pre-treated clothing is available and may be protective longer.

    When you’re spending time outdoors…

    Take Precautions: 

    • Avoid logs and areas with high grass or fallen leaves.
    • Walk in the center of trails.

    After you come indoors, make sure you:

    • Check your clothing for ticks and tumble unwashed clothes in the dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill remaining ticks
    • Examine gear and pets.
    • Shower within two hours or as soon as possible, to wash off ticks.
    • Do a full body check. Ticks are usually found in the areas indicated in the graphic.

    It is recommended that you do a second tick check 1-2 hours after coming indoors.

      If you find a tick crawling on you, brush it off.
      If you find a tick attached to your skin, remove it quickly.


      • Use a fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.

      • Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
      • After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.

      Ways to Dispose of a Live Tick:

      • Submerse it in alcohol
      • Place it in a sealed bag/container
      • Wrap it tightly in tape
      • Flush it down the toilet

      Never crush a tick with your fingers!