I live in Washington State. Sometimes I visit relatives in Pennsylvania, where there are lots of ticks in the summer, but there’s never been any here. The past few years I did hear a few people say that they were moving farther west, but didn’t really worry about it. But just a few days ago, I found one on my cat! So what’s going on? Are they just here for good, and I’ll soon have to be extremely careful walking in the woods, or are there only a few that probably won’t become everywhere? I’d like to get more information from someone who knows about this.
If you Google something like ‘tick range expansion’ you’ll see a variety of articles on the subject
Time to get your cat a better flea and tick treatment. For the cat’s benefit, and also so it doesn’t bring them inside to you. Or you could keep the cat in so it can’t get ticks.
This is a question about tick migration, not an opportunity to argue about cat care (although I’d be quite willing to). I’m sure you think I’m some sort of horrible person, but I don’t intend to get my cat any kind of flea and tick “treatment”. I flea-comb him daily and sometimes bathe him, and I think having fleas is better than being smeared with chemicals. Keeping him inside is not an option for me, because a) he’s been allowed outside since he was 3 months old and suddenly telling him he’ll never get to experience that again would be mean, b) it would also lead to a lot of jumping on counters and meowing, c) staying inside 24/7 is unhealthy for any animal, and d) the reason I have cats in the first place is to hunt the rats that live in the woodshed. Any flea or tick I find on them will die.
It’s likely just coincidence that you haven’t seen them much on the West Coast.
I grew up out west and have gotten ticks in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Idaho, and Arizona. Ticks have been there forever.
The East Coast, especially the Pennsylvania area, has a lot of ticks, but those (with a few infrequent exceptions) aren’t making their way out to the West Coast.
The Western Black-legged Tick is the most common native tick in Washington State, but it’s not the only one. American Dog Ticks, Brown Dog Ticks, and Rocky Mountain Wood Ticks are all common in the state.
Keep an eye on your local fence lizards, you’ll often see ticks stuck on them right behind the jaw, in the[tympanic cavity, and sometimes on their necks.
I don’t know about the far west, but in the centre of NA, Manitoba specifically, ticks have been here forever. Ixodes scapularis and associated Lyme disease have migrated here over the past decade or so. So yes, ticks can and do extend their ranges.
It’s mostly cruel to myriads of animals killed by cats, you may consider building a catio, it’s not hard to build and much safer for everyone. Rats can be caught by traps.
It is similar in Poland. I used to work at the Institute of Parasitology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw and dealt with this topic, among other things. There will be more and more ticks in the world and in places where they were absent or there were very few. Climate warming is to blame, even if we humans do not fully feel it for ticks, it is a great time, they can expand the range and numbers. For example, in Europe, in city parks a few years ago there were few ticks, but since we have light winters and we build more space with housing estates, thus creating very warm places in the citys for ticks, there are a lot of ticks; this is, unfortunately, a very dangerous trend, tick-borne diseases are extremely dangerous and doctors are not good at dealing with them …
There is some information about Washington State here:
The Washington State Department of Health Wants Your Ticks
The CDC has distribution maps here:
Regions where ticks live
Plus this Wa Post article here:
The tick population is booming. Is climate change to blame? And will tick-borne diseases increase?
Wow, what an odd syndrome, had never heard of that before.
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