LTWCA Newsletter - April/May 2004
‘Tis the Season to Be Wary
This is a spectacular time of year to be out and about, hiking, biking, wildflower walks, bird watching, and just enjoying our lovely spring weather; however, keep in mind that there are a few hazards. The poison oak is starting to leaf out and can be quite oily, hence easily transmitted, at this time of year. Another smaller, yet no less hazardous, danger are ticks, since they feed on the blood of animals (us included). We have two predominant types of ticks up here in the Woods, the Dog Tick and the Western Black Legged Tick. The Dog Tick tends to be the larger of the two, about the size of an eraser on a pencil including its legs and body, 8 legged, a brown colored body, and flat body top to bottom unless engorged with blood. The Western Black Legged Tick is slightly smaller, has a black head and “shield” with a dark red-brown body color, 8 legged, and flat unless engorged with blood. Now that identification of the adult tick is the easy part. The hard part is identifying the tick if it is in the nymph or baby stage. They are about the size of a poppy seed with 8 legs and appear all black unless you look at them under a microscope.
Although ticks can be annoying if they attach to you or your pets, you can remove them fairly easily with a tick puller(Pro-Tick Remedy) purchased at R.E.I. in San Jose. I have had excellent luck removing adult ticks with this method. Without a tick puller use a pair of good tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible, and pull straight out without twisting. You want to get the whole body and head out, otherwise you risk a reaction to the parts left behind. The nymphal ticks are more tricky to remove since they are so small. To avoid tick bites, stay on trails, do not contact downed wood, wear light colored clothing, check for ticks.
Now comes the bad news. The Western Black Legged Tick is the carrier for four different kinds of infection, Lyme Disease (the most common), Ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis, and Bartonella. Alert: Lyme Disease was found in nymphal ticks last summer in Los Trancos Woods by the San Mateo County Mosquito Abatement District. Now is the time of year when people most frequently are infected with the diseases. A higher percentage of the nymphal ticks (about 5-7%) carry Lyme Disease than do the adults (about 3%), so we have to be extra vigilant to find these tiny buggers.
What should you do if you are bitten by a tick? First off remove it. If you suspect it is the Western Black Legged Tick and has been attached for more than 8 hours, then you can have the tick tested for Lyme Disease by the San Mateo County Health Lab, 225 West 37th Ave., Rm 113, San Mateo, 573-2500 for about $10. If it has been attached for less that 8 hours, it is unlikely the tick had time to pass on the infection. To properly store the tick for a test, put a tissue moistened with water in a zip-lock baggie, put the tick in the baggie, and zip it closed. Note on your calendar when you removed the tick for future reference in case you get sick.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease are just about everything except a runny nose and throwing up. However, there are some general signs to look for. Common in about half of the cases are bull’s eye rashes with a white center and a red ring. but other rashes are suspect too, especially if they spread. About 10-14 days after the bite you can come down with flu-like symptoms. After this the symptoms vary according to the person, and I have heard everything from extreme tiredness, to heart irregularities, to facial paralysis (temporary) to fevers, to sore joints, to headaches, to you-name-it. If you think you have Lyme Disease, get to a doctor in the beginning, do not wait. Call Linda Drey-Nightingale, 851-1787, or San Mateo County Mosquito Abatement District, 344-8592, with any questions.
Submitted by Linda Drey-Nightingale
We seem to have a few ongoing traffic safety issues of driving too fast, staying on the right side of the road, and going in the wrong direction on the one way sections of our roads. So in February I took two representatives from the San Mateo County Department of Public Works on a tour of our Woods to help address some of our traffic safety concerns. They agreed that we could use some improved traffic signage and have provided me with some suggestions. I have shared these materials with the LTWCA Board. If anyone wants to review the materials or wants to share their ideas, please feel free to contact me at 851-9152 or firstname.lastname@example.org or post their ideas on the Forum (www.lostrancoswoods.org).
Submitted by Peri Nielsen
Welcome to new owners, Vicky Sargent and Julian Lighton, who just purchased 1183 Los Trancos Rd. from the Gardiners. Going from renter to owner seems to suite you.
Our dearest and oldest resident in District IV has taken ill. Marguerite Thayer went to the hospital in mid-March with pneumonia. She was released to a care center after about 4 days and is now on the road to recovery. Marguerite and Louie will be moving to a Center in Sunnyvale when she is well enough. We will let you know their new address and phone number when they get settled in, so we can bombard them with visits. They would love it.
Submitted by Linda Drey-Nightingale
- Mosquitoes - West Nile virus is expected to reach northern California this year. West Nile Virus is spread by mosquitoes and mosquitoes breed in standing water. One cup of water that can persist for one week is sufficient for mosquitoes to successfully breed. To prevent mosquitoes it is critical to eliminate any source of standing water you can find: a forgotten bucket, the dish under a flower pot, an old tire, a casually tended birdbath. Look around.
- The next issue of the newsletter will deal with invasive weeds. In the mean time be sure to cut the ivy away from and off your trees to maintain their health, and pull the broom.
Submitted by June Bilisoly
- Visit www.portolavalley.net for updated information about what is happening in the Town and for Town contact information. The site is updated several times a week and is in lieu of the Town Center Newsletter which was published quarterly.
Next Meeting - 7:00 p.m., 12 May, 1074 Los Trancos Rd. Agenda includes discussion of future activities, road signage, and dues collection wrap-up. For minutes of the last meeting please see the LTWCA Web Site or your District Rep.
Los Trancos Woods (LTWCA) Web Site
The web site address is: The group e-mail list is:
Thanks to Jerry Jensen for maintaining this site. AND Thanks to Michael Glenn for copying our newsletter.