VIDEO: Tick population explodes after wet winter, warm spring; could carry Lyme Disease

SAN BRUNO (KRON) — Spring is well underway in the Bay Area with our warmer weather and green grass, but there’s also a surge of insects, including ticks.

Experts are warning that because of the wet winter, there could be a larger-than-usual number of ticks.

Ticks are known to feed on people and pets, and they can also carry very serious diseases, including Lyme Disease.

Following a wet winter, the Bay Area’s parks and trails are covered in tall lush grass but there are also ticks lurking nearby. Waiting to hitch a ride on pets or people, ticks also love moisture, and they are thriving in the damp conditions.

“We have a lot of ticks out this year,” Vice President of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation Bonnie Crater said. “Ticks love moisture, and we had a very wet winter. Everybody knows that.”

Ticks are known carriers of Lyme Disease, which if left untreated, can result in serious health problems.

Just a few years ago, Lyme Disease was almost unheard of in the Bay Area but ticks carrying the disease are now widespread.

“We’ve done tick studies all around and every park around the Bay Area, and in every park we found, Lyme Disease in ticks in every single park,” Crater said.

For anyone worried about ticks, there are a few simple steps people can take to protect themselves. Avoid walking in brush, tall grass or on leaf litter, use insect repellant and if possible, and take a shower when you return home. There are also medications that can be given to pets to help them avoid tick bites.

If you are bitten by a tick, experts recommend using tweezers to firmly grab the head of the insect and gently pull it out.

Once the tick is removed, be on the lookout for symptoms of Lyme Disease

“About half the people get a rash around their tick bite,” Crater said. “That’s something to take a look at. If you get a rash, get a fever, be sure you go to the doctor and get that checked out.”

Finally, not all ticks carry Lyme Disease and the Lyme Foundation encourages people to enjoy the outdoors but to also be careful.

“Just make sure you do a nice tick check when you’re finished,” Crater said.

Finally, if you have a dog, there are medications you can give them that will help prevent tick bites.

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