DIY





Tick Prevention and Management

Given their capacity to carry Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tick prevention is a must if you're spending time in wooded areas. Here are 10 tips we recommend.

| June/July 2010

If you live near or often spend time in a wooded area, blood-sucking ticks are part of your world. When tick populations rise in July and August, you’ll again feel those familiar tickling sensations on your legs and neck, and again drag the dog into the sunlight so you can spot and remove those darn ticks. During this process, you may be wondering whether there are better ways to survive tick season, especially if you don’t want to use DEET (a chemical insecticide that may cause eye irritation, rash, or other side effects) on yourself or veterinarian-grade pesticides on your pets. Even if you do use chemicals in your tick management plan, it’s still a good idea to back them up with natural tick prevention strategies.

The stakes can be high. First described in 1977 as “Lyme arthritis,” tick-vectored (transmitted) Lyme disease is now the most common critter-vectored disease in North America. More than 30,000 cases were reported in 2008, including many in towns and cities where no previous infections had been recorded. Like an invasive weed, Lyme disease is slowly spreading inland from its stronghold along the northern Atlantic coast. 

Caused by the bacterium Borrelia brugdorferi, Lyme disease is carried by deer ticks (also known as black-legged ticks). White-footed mice frequently serve as reservoirs for the bacteria, as do deer and many other mammals. Ticks are most likely to transmit Lyme disease to humans when they are tiny nymphs (juvenile ticks), only slightly bigger than the period at the end of this sentence. Other tick species transmit diseases as well, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever. So no matter where you live, preventing ticks from finding you and your pets is always a good idea. To help you stay ahead of these pests, here are the top 10 natural ways to make tick season easier to take.

1. Dress Defensively. When you venture into areas where ticks might be waiting, dress for the occasion. Wear a hat and light-colored clothing (to help you see ticks before they find skin), and tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks. You may look goofy, but it’s better than becoming a tick’s dinner.



2. Get Sticky. Keep a sticky tape-type lint roller handy if you’re finding ticks regularly. This little gizmo will pick up unattached ticks from clothing or pets, which bring hitchhiking ticks into the house. Use any type of sticky tape to cleanly capture ticks crawling in your home.

3. Clean Up Your Act. When you come indoors after outside activities, give your clothes a 10-minute spin in a hot clothes dryer to kill any ticks that might be hiding in the folds or seams. Then take a hot, soapy bath or shower. Unattached ticks will be flushed away, but you will still need to do a tick check of your body.

cate
6/11/2014 3:14:27 AM

Hi! Living in the southern part of Sweden we are also beeing attacked by ticks! Having had Borrelia a few times I started to sweep my garden with a big white terry cloth towel from the beginning of March to the end of September. The ticks caught are easily attached to a piece of scotch tape and then packed in a heavy brown tape for transfer to the holy hunting grounds. We are no longer feeding the birds during winter, which is sad but necessary, cause we have enough of them bugs already. ( I catch about 80 every week).


AC246
5/29/2014 10:24:18 AM

This is a great article. I would add that Permethrin is toxic to bees if applied to weeds/flowers they visit. There is some research showing it can be cancerous. Be cautious and apply as directed: http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/REDs/factsheets/permethrin_fs.htm


Symonds
8/18/2013 4:00:00 AM

These spiders pose a serious threat to the lives and health of http://www.wolfsbanek9.com/. Pesticides cannot be used on them since they also hurt dog health. Will you please try to explain what is the way out in this situation?







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