There, I said it. Ticks are the worst, and I hate them forever. I know this is a strong opening, but I’m not sorry. They’re not cute, they’re not helpful, and they don’t pollinate. They just creep, crawl, hide, bite, and transmit awful diseases. Every year, when spring and summer roll around, I have to talk myself out of pouring gasoline all over my yard and setting it on fire.
Drama aside, let’s talk about some practical approaches for avoiding tick bites, because even if you don’t hate them as much as I do, the diseases they can carry pose a very real risk. Lyme, Powassan, and Ehrlichiosis are just a few. I’m not saying this to scare you, but I am hoping to make you more aware of ticks and to help you develop some good habits to avoid tick bites.
This is the most obvious and easiest thing to do. Every day you’re outside, regardless of whether or not you’re out in a field, do a tick check. I found one the other day on my banister leading to my front door. It was just hanging out waiting to catch a ride. A tick check means clothes off in front of a mirror.
Light Colored Clothing:
If you have to be in the woods, or tall grass, wear light colored clothing. It makes ticks easier to spot. Granted, small ticks are still hard to spot, but darker clothes hide them well no matter the size. If you must wear darker clothing, throw your clothes in the dryer when you come back inside. Word on the street is ten minutes in the dryer will take care of any unwanted passengers.
Tick tubes are pretty awesome and I just found out about them this year. Tick tubes are cardboard rolls filled with lint or cotton balls that have been covered in permethrin. The general idea behind tick tubes is that when they are placed around your property, rodents will use the lint or cotton balls in tick tubes to build nests, and the permethrin will kill tick larvae, which like to hang out on rodents. You can read about tick tubes here.
There are all kinds of chemicals you can put on your lawn that supposedly get rid of ticks and pest insects. I haven’t used them personally, so I can’t speak to their effectiveness or their safety, but they are available at every hardware store.
If you’re interested in learning more about ticks, and how to prevent tick bites, I highly recommend this episode of The Exchange. Laura Knoy and her guests will hopefully help convince you that there are better ways of dealing with ticks than setting your lawn ablaze. If you have other effective solutions, sound off in the comments below!