Natural Ways to Prevent & Remove Ticks
As pests, ticks are almost as notorious as mosquitoes. These tiny bugs are actually arachnids, not insects. In fact, depending on its stage in the life cycle, a tick may have 6 or 8 legs and resemble a spider if you look closely enough. Hopefully, you will never have to see one up close, but if you do, here are some tips to follow:
Ticks are active year-round, as long as temperatures are above freezing, but they are most often found on humans during the summer months, the tick’s mating season. Ticks like to hide out in tall foliage and grasses, usually around the edge of a wooded area. They perch and wait for animals or humans to walk by.1 Contrary to popular belief, ticks don’t jump, they crawl up their victims to their preferred feeding spot. Ticks generally aim for the head and neck regions of their host, where they will feed for usually 2–3 days. (2)
Serious tick-borne illnesses such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and the bacterium that causes Lyme are commonly found in some species of ticks. Two of the ticks that carry these diseases, the American dog tick, which can carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and the deer tick or black-legged tick, which may carry Lyme-causing bacteria, are widespread across much of the US. While not all ticks carry these diseases and not all ticks will transmit them to you,1 it’s very important to take common-sense precautions when spending time outdoors.
If you spend the day outside hiking or walking in a grassy or wooded area, you should always check yourself for ticks. Experts recommend checking every 2–3 hours. In general it takes a tick 24 hours to start transmitting diseases, and it is thought that the Lyme-causing bacteria aren’t passed until a tick spends 36–48 hours on its host.2
But ticks aren’t limited to wooded areas and tall grasses. If deer or rodents such as chipmunks or squirrels visit your backyard, be sure to check yourself for ticks even if you’re just gardening outside. Check your pets as well to ensure ticks don’t hitch a ride into your home.
If a tick is on you, it will look like a small brownish-black bump. The tick buries its head into the skin when feeding, and it can’t be easily flicked off. If you see one, don’t panic. Keep a cool head and proceed with care when removing. The CDC provides great information on tick removal.
Many articles have been written about using different items to suffocate and remove the tick. The CDC cautions against these methods and suggests sticking to the tried-and-true method of removing the tick with tweezers. Using pointed tweezers to pull the tick up and off will permanently stop the tick from feeding on you. Sometimes the tick’s head will stay lodged in the skin with the tweezer method, but this is okay. The tick can’t do any further damage once it’s been ripped in two, and your skin will naturally push out whatever part of the tick remains.2
If you are able to remove the entire tick with tweezers, flush it down the toilet, put it in alcohol, or wrap it in tape and secure it in a bag for disposal. Never crush a tick. Clean the tick bite area of skin thoroughly.3
To avoid tick bites, always cover up completely when walking in wooded and tall-grass areas. Tucking your pant legs into your socks is also a good practice, even if it looks silly.2 Some sporting goods stores even sell tick-repellent clothing, and many bug sprays have tick repellents. Always follow your vet’s advice on tick medication for your pets to ensure they don’t become prey too.
Ticks really hate the scent of lemongrass and rosemary, so much so that the CDC published studies on these essentials oils and their effects.4 These same natural oils are in our Mosquito Bands and Mosquito Repelling Incense Sticks.
Our Mosquito Bands are the perfect accompaniment for a day hiking the woods or working in the yard. The bands will not only keep off the mosquitoes, they also repel ticks, two of the most dangerous yard pests around.
Tick-related diseases are entirely preventable when you take sensible precautions. It just rests on you to do your part!
- Masters, M. (2018, March 27). 15 Important Facts You Must Know About Ticks. Retrieved March 11, 2019, from https://www.health.com/mind-body/tick-borne-illness-facts
- University of Rhode Island. (n.d.). TickEncounter Resource Center. Retrieved March 11, 2019, from https://tickencounter.org/
- Tick Removal | Ticks | CDC. (n.d.). Retrieved March 11, 2019, from https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/removing_a_tick.html
- Natural Tick Repellents and Pesticides | Lyme Disease | CDC. (n.d.). Retrieved March 11, 2019, from https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/prev/natural-repellents.html