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Tick Repellent Help

 
Jared Gardener
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Hello all,

As people who likely spend a lot of time outdoors, I was wondering if you have a recommendation for an effective and safe tick repellent. I begin an outdoor education position in the coming weeks and will be in the woods of Eastern Pennsylvania eight hours every day. I've been researching Permethrin for clothing but it seems that it could potentially be pretty toxic, as does DEET. Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus doesn't seem that effective, although it may be the most effective natural (but for a job, I admit it smells pretty bad).

I already have Chronic Lyme so I do not want to get reinfected by a new tick bite, but I am also concerned about daily exposure to pesticides/repellents. Do you have any recommendations?

Thank you for your time,
Jared
 
Nicholas Green
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I don't know, but I will ask another question for anyone who might...
Does diatomaceous earth work on ticks?
 
Saybian Morgan
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Japanese knot weed roots are. the most effective lime disease treatment and preventative I know, but I don't know what it might do as a repellent if made into a lotion. its always better to not get bitten than to run around applying the cure. sorry I don't know more about repellents, I do the rubbing alcohol wipe down to check for intrusions but it still requires the tweezers once its found half way into my leg.

I've herd of new non deet solutions but I haven't tried them
 
R Scott
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Nothing short of 100% hazmat barrier is effective

I do permethrin on my socks (CAREFULLY applied with real hazmat gear).

I do the mesh bug-proof clothing. It works as long as you aren't (it tears easily). Buy the ones with the permethrin already applied.

I use 3M ultrathon (time-release DEET) if I absolutely have to, but it doesn't seem to stop ticks anymore, either.

Having the socks treated and the mesh pants tucked into the socks is the best solution I have found that won't roast you.
 
George Lee
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My uncle is a forester, so he's out in the woods nearly everyday... An out southern tradition is to use sulfur in your pant leg (turn your pantleg up 1 fold) and/or peppermint tucked in your pants...
 
George Lee
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Before taking preventive measures, my uncle sat on a molten log years ago and was COVERED IN hundreds of ticks in a matter of minutes...He had them in his crotch, down his legs, around his ankles, and crawling north from the waist... Insane, I couldn't imagine. From then on, he took measures to deter them.
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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I can't use Off, Deet and other such pesticides. Been using Skin So Soft since 1980. It is oily so while that is great for my skin it is messy. I just read somewhere about someone using a particular scent of Calgon spray and I would like to try that since it is not an oil. Until then I am stuck with Skin So Soft (original scent).

I also used to put in on my horses underbellies and nether regions since that is where they seemed to pick up ticks during the tick season.
 
Deb Stephens
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I live in tick country too and after having to deal with medical complications from a couple of tick borne illnesses over the years I did some experimenting with safe repellants. The two things I have found that work the best -- and incidentally also repel mosquitoes and those irritating little black biting flies -- are AVON's Skin-So-Soft bath oil (original formula) rubbed directly on your exposed skin before going out; and my own mix of essential oils containing rose geranium, citronella, lemon grass and neem oils in an almond oil base. Some other oils that work well are cedar oil, vetiver, eucalyptus, tea tree (any highly aromatic oil, really). If I run out of one thing, I often substitute another without too much loss of effectiveness. I think the bugs simply don't like good smells! In fact, the all time best deterrent I ever found was pure rose oil, but at about $500 for an ounce, I can't afford that much protection! You will go around smelling like flowers, but that is better than smelling like pesticide!

I get all my oils from Mountain Rose herbs (a great company by the way, and no, I don't own stock in it) because they are organic and high quality, if a bit expensive. Here is a wonderful link to some recipes for anti-itch lotions, vinegars and oils plus tips for dealing with insects and other irritants like poison ivy, etc. http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/newsletter/06/nix_the_itch_of_summer.php


 
Deb Stephens
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R Scott wrote:Nothing short of 100% hazmat barrier is effective

I do permethrin on my socks (CAREFULLY applied with real hazmat gear).

I do the mesh bug-proof clothing. It works as long as you aren't (it tears easily). Buy the ones with the permethrin already applied.

I use 3M ultrathon (time-release DEET) if I absolutely have to, but it doesn't seem to stop ticks anymore, either.

Having the socks treated and the mesh pants tucked into the socks is the best solution I have found that won't roast you.


This is not a criticism, but an honest concern, so please don't get mad at me for saying this. I hope you will reconsider your tick repelling routine -- for your own health. I can't imagine any tick bite could do so much harm as all those pesticides on your body will. Those things will kill you (or at least screw up your genes or something). There are safe alternatives, really.
 
Austin Max
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I talked to a soap maker awhile back who claimed that their catnip soap was a mosquito/tick repellant, but haven't actually tried it. I wear tall rubber boots around in tall grass and such and it seems to work alright, chiggers still get in there somehow though....
 
R Scott
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Deb Stephens wrote:
R Scott wrote:Nothing short of 100% hazmat barrier is effective

I do permethrin on my socks (CAREFULLY applied with real hazmat gear).

I do the mesh bug-proof clothing. It works as long as you aren't (it tears easily). Buy the ones with the permethrin already applied.

I use 3M ultrathon (time-release DEET) if I absolutely have to, but it doesn't seem to stop ticks anymore, either.

Having the socks treated and the mesh pants tucked into the socks is the best solution I have found that won't roast you.


This is not a criticism, but an honest concern, so please don't get mad at me for saying this. I hope you will reconsider your tick repelling routine -- for your own health. I can't imagine any tick bite could do so much harm as all those pesticides on your body will. Those things will kill you (or at least screw up your genes or something). There are safe alternatives, really.


I was on antibiotics and holistic treatments for over seven years dealing with lyme disease. It darned near killed me, and my family--basically lost 10 years of my life. I do get (more than) a little anal about it. I would nuke them from orbit if I could, just to be safe.

 
Morgan Morrigan
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Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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like the sulpher idea !

would also suggest:

silver impregnated socks, Fox River used to make them.

Dr. Bonners peppermint castile soap, for everyday.

bug suit from "original bug shirt company" They make the best shirts out there. used to make zip off pants, but think those are gone.

citronella sprayed on your boots, permethrin on pant legs,Back of shirt collar, and hat, not the brim where you grab it tho. (that is a plant based repellent/ contact poison. Just dont lick it)

Sawyer companys controlled release DEET. It is encapsulated in a protein sac to keep it from absorbing into your skin, and thats how they get the time release rating on it.

and my new favorite, Skeeter Skeddaler from a guy up in Maine.

Is blends of essential oils too, he has tested it on blackflies, ticks, squitos , and no c ums.
Is my summer cologne!
So far the cinammon is working best out west, but he does one with more lemon oil too.
he also doesn't use estrogen mimicing oils, i sell it at the shop, and use it often when gardening in the evening.
makes a great deoderant too, if you are going to wash up soon.

Not much faith in Avon, seems like it works for gals, because it actually washes off the the lactic acid. Guys just sweat out more, and if you are super active, you are going to sweat out more too.
Should have just as good luck with Dr Bonners, as a rinse, and peppermint was said to help above.


edit. there was a test report from one of the OK universities on mosquito repellents, which included Avon, but never seen one for ticks.

 
paul wheaton
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When Sepp was here and talking about the bone sauce, he pointed out the bone sauce had many uses. One was that you could put a little on cattle to keep the flies off. And some people would put a little on their work hat to keep the flies off - apparently both worked really well. He mentioned doing this as kids. He was pretty clear that it would keep EVERYTHING away. Maybe it could keep ticks away?

I have to admit that I've only had eight or nine ticks on me ever - so it isn't something I've put a lot of consideration into.
 
chip sanft
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I've been bitten by many a tick and -- knock on wood -- so far been spared tick-borne diseases. But I live in an area with a high incidence of Lyme's disease and the stuff scares me. Used Skin So Soft quite a few times but it didn't work for me, though I wish it did.

I've read that most ticks hang out at or below 18", so I concentrate on the lower half:

1) I treat my pants and boots with permethrin -- exterior of pants all the way up with special attention to the cuffs, boots all over including laces.
2) I also use small amounts of DEET-based repellent, mostly on the tops of my socks and legs just above them. A little on the neck, too.

The result has been no ticks after hours in places where I used to get 5-10 from walking around for 30 minutes.

I totally understand the concerns about the toxicity of repellents, especially something like permethrin. But in places where Lyme's disease is widespread, it seems to me best to balance the two dangers. And permethrin applied to clothing is at least not directly on the skin.
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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I've only had one tick bite ever and luckily I pulled it off within minutes of it getting attached. I use Dr. Bonners when I shower but never thought that it would have a bug repellant effect. Looking back on it now, I do get a lot less bites than the wife and kids. I also tuck my pants into my boots, tuck my shirt into pants and that's it. During the height of black fly season I'll occasionally wear a bug baffler (head net) to keep from inhaling the little bastards. I've also found benefit in wearing light colored clothes. I have a lot of light khaki work pants and plain white tee shirts that contrast nicely with the ticks and other critters of the woods. I keep my hair cropped short to make spotting bugs easier as well. Always check the kids when they come in from playing and always comb through their hair while looking for ticks. You can even buy a tick/flea comb from a pet store or feed store.

 
Candis Murphy
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Hello, I have been doing a bit of research on what keeps ticks away. I used to make a spray that contained cinnamon, rosemary, peppermint and citronella essential oils mixed with apple cider vinegar. Ticks don't like apple cider vinegar. But the cinnamon was melting the plastic spray bottles. So I did a little more research and found this site and now I am making a geranium tick repelant, that seems to work pretty good. It smells a little flowery, but doesn't melt the plastic bottles. If you are interested you can get some from following the link, make your own, or contact me at 608-632-3235 I would be happy to sell you a bottle and my price would be the same. I recomend you make your own, because then you will have your bottle of essential oil and will be able to make more in the future. Also Japenese Knot Weed, Teasel Root, Burdock Root and Dandelion Root would all be beneficial to your health. I have had lymes disease twice myself and have thrown myself into research about this illness. Here is the link, good luck. http://www.ladybarbara.net/html/rose_geranium_tick_repellent.html
 
Brenda Groth
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I find this fascinating as I wear shorts and short sleeved t shirts outside and sometimes only flip flops or tennies, I never use any type of bug repellant and only if the bugs are horribly bad will I go inside . My husband found a tick on him one time but I have never had one on me that I have found. I use Oil of Olay in my shower and Pantene shampoo, don't know if those are repellant or not but I don't get bothered by much of anything and I am often outside from early morning until dark.

I also do lawnmow trails through our woods and keep the trails on the property mown shortish..so maybe that is helping
 
Jeremy Briggs
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I think the number one tick prevention technique is awareness. Check frequently, and get them off quickly, and disease is unlikely.

That said, there are some good suggestions here. Sulphur powder is the farmer's old standby.

Almond oil contains sulphur so I use it as the base for my tick "deterrent," along with essential oils of rose geranium, lemon eucalyptus (contains more citronel than citronella), and cedar (cuz i like it.)

Spilanthes (Acmella oleracea) is an amazing herb that has shown promise against Lyme's in vitro. I would use a course of this after being bitten. I like the knotweed idea, too, and though I haven't researched it, an herbalist I trust has. I don't know if Spilanthes would help with the chronic Lyme's or during attacks. It is fantastic for oral health and possibly useful for malaria. Plus it's friggin' cool. I would use 1-3 ml 3 times a day of the tincture, or chew a flower bud 2-3 times a day for say a week.

One way to reduce the tick problem is to reintroduce large predators. They are a sign of imbalance. Too many mice and deer. We reap what we sow. I bear no malice towards the little buggers and rarely kill them, unless they are in my home. They are just doing their thing. We are way more parasitic than they are, hah!
 
paul wheaton
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Paul Ely
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I've been doing the no soap and no shampoo for a month and haven't gotten any ticks while others around me have.

On bicycle tours I've go many days without showering and have had less bug issues when I'm not 'clean'. After soapy showers the bugs would attack.

Long pants have always been my best approach for ticks. Maybe apply Diatomaceous Earth to the outside of your pants?
 
Cris Bessette
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Morgan Morrigan wrote:

...... permethrin on pant legs,Back of shirt collar, and hat, not the brim where you grab it tho. (that is a plant based repellent/ contact poison. Just dont lick it)


Just a quibble: Pyrethrum is the plant based repellant, Permethrin is the lab synthesized version of Pyrethrum. They do have some differences, such as one can kill cats.



http://www.livingwithbugs.com/permethrin_pyrethrum.html
 
Walter Jeffries
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We're trying NemaSeek/NemaAttack right now.
 
Jared Gardener
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Thanks for everyone's replies. Do you think it would be possible to wear a thin long underwear in the summer under permethrin-treated clothing (to avoid skin contact) or is that just going to miserable? I presume sweating a ton could actually make the skin exposure worse...

Any thoughts?
 
Walter Jeffries
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Jared Gardener wrote:Thanks for everyone's replies. Do you think it would be possible to wear a thin long underwear in the summer under permethrin-treated clothing (to avoid skin contact) or is that just going to miserable? I presume sweating a ton could actually make the skin exposure worse...


We wear long clothing all summer to protect from UV since we are outdoors a lot. Just about all of our skin is covered. We also wear wide brimmed hats to protect our faces and don't work outdoors in the heat of the day. With all that we don't need the permethrin or other chemical protections from insects, ticks or UV. We don't use sunscreen because exposure to those chemicals could be just as bad as the sun in long term does. Covering up appropriately is simpler. Look at old time photos.
 
Morgan Morrigan
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going for liners, look for CoolMax extreme, or woven. Wovens are lighter, but usually only made by Italian specialty mills.


 
nancy sutton
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I know this is not regarding ticks, but latest MEN (June/July '12) has an article on natural mosquito repellants, including: "Nepetalactone, the essential oil that gives catnip (nepetaria cataria) its distinct smell, is more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes, according to laboratory research conducted by Chris Peterson, an entomologist with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Forest Service, and Joel R Coates, former chair of the Dept of Entomology at Iowa State Univ." Maybe it duplicates DEETs effectiveness against ticks. And Korean researchers found that thyme volatiles were as effective as DEET... re: mosquitoes. Also mentioned are lantana, monarda, lime- and sacred- basil.
 
wayne stephen
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The best tick defense I have found is rubber muck boots. They hang on grass leaves waiting for their host to walk by , but for some reason they don't climb up my boots. I can walk through an area with t-shoes and have them all over me. With boots none. Also chickens will clean up ticks - we have a large tick population and the chicken zones are devoid of them.
 
Matu Collins
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I wish I would not have to worry about this but tick borne diseases are nothing to scoff at. I am suffering a relapse of erlichiosis, one of my almost-three-year-old twins has Lyme and one has babesiosis. These diseases can make your brain swell, cause arthritis,paralysis, schizophrenia and death.

But I will not let the ticks keep me indoors! I use permethrin on my boots, I let the chickens forage in the areas where we walk, and check us all religiously. We have loads of predators here, I'm not sure imbalance is the problem. Ticks are part of the system that exists here.

I will use the "fragrant oil" idea. If it weren't for the noise of them I'd consider guinea fowl.

Had anyone used the tick tubes? Tubes with permethrin impregnated cotton for the mice to take into their nests? It makes me a bit queasy to introduce poison into my lovely thriving ecosystem but having experienced the brain swelling first hand I'm open to more ideas than I used to be, if they work
 
Steven Feil
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Interesting discussion. Looking forward to any new ideas that have come up.

We have lived in our home for a number of years and have not seen a tick at all until recently. Two within what we would consider a very short time span considering our lack of observing them.
 
Judith Browning
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Matu...if you remember my comment in the other 'tick' thread...you will see some irony here. I am going in for blood work on monday after finding the dreaded 'bulls eye' rash last week. Forty years of living around ticks and many many bites later. I suspect the number of deer browsing closer and closer to us during the drought last summer. We are in the habit of checking for ticks frequently...I prefer as much bare skin as possible rather than full body coverup...but we are pretty isolated and a lot of the work I do doesnt require long pants or even shoes sometimes. I hate putting on a pair of shoes that have yesterdays ticks just waiting for me. I dont use any repellents...and guineas are starting to sound like a really good idea...my hearing is going so maybe their noise wont bother me a bit.
 
Matu Collins
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Oh Judith! I wouldn't wait for treatment, nobody does the bullseye like Lyme. The sooner treated the better. Do be tested for babesiosis, as the doxycycline doesn't cover that.

(I'll do my best not to go into a Lyme treatment discussion, it is so controversial.)

I go without soap and shampoo plenty, I bathe infrequently as possible and my skin is prone to drying. I still get covered with ticks. I only soap the kids' hands and they get covered with ticks.

I think, in a place that has Lyme and its coinfections it is important to take the ticks seriously. I was casual about prevention and I'm paying the price. I've been more careful these last couple of weeks and am still getting bitten and pulling them off the kids. Argh.
 
Cortland Satsuma
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I am with those who are doing anything and everything to avoid ticks. Our place is crawling with several different types. The first summer, just walking out 2 feet on a full front porch had 5-6 crawling up me...every single time. Got chickens immediately. They have helped over time. That summer I stopped counting removing sunk ticks after 36 bites...there was dozens more. As for mere crawlers on me probably over 1000, flicking them off (and killing) all day. This year only 13 bites to date. Still a lot of crawlers, but much less. I have always shunned the chemicals...I have tried ever single mentioned natural remedy as well as some not listed; have been bit immediately after applying them! I have gotten so desperate, and am now soaking clothes in chemicals. I remove them and my rubber boots upon entering the house; and, kill all the ticks still crawling on them. We have all sorts of other biters too...The ticks are the ones not to be ignored. I had Long Term Lymes and co-infections and still suffer physically from the systemic damage. When I was being treated, I ended up with DVT of the right ventricular and Sepsis, Septic Shock and actually flat lined. I have had ongoing flairs since then and can no longer tolerate standard treatments due to medical complications. Lymes is not a minor annoyance to be taken lightly. I have been anti-chems my entire life...at this point...if bathing in deet was needed to prevent tick bits I would seriously consider it... that is how bad this disease and its co-infections are. For those of you not in tick country...do count your blessing!
 
Matu Collins
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I agree, Cortland, for those of you not in tick country, count your blessings. My farm is paradise for me, except for the ticks and one untrustworthy chemical loving farmer nearby. The weeds, the mosquitos, the hurricanes I can deal with with wonder and awe but I just can't embrace the deer ticks.

The chickens seem to help but they don't solve the problem, and when we let them free range, eventually they get eaten by predators. Maybe it is time to seriously look into guineas...

Still, I'm not on a faultline, I have no poisonous snakes or scorpions or slugs, wildfires are not a problem... no place is perfect. If I can just make to old age without tick-borne diseases making me crippled or crazy...
 
Pearl Sutton
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I'm dealing with ticks and chiggers, on a whim, I searched "pantyhose chiggers" and got lots of hits for hose keeping chiggers and ticks off of you. Not the best solution, but I'll try it while my control plans are getting going. Several threads on here gave me ideas, and I'm going to mix them, make the yeast stuff that attracts ticks with CO2, get chickens as soon as I can (next week I expect) and put up wires for perching birds to sit on and hunt ticks that have been attracted to my yeast.

It was very interesting the other day, three of us all working together, I saw no ticks on me, one of the guys saw one, the other one (who was within 10 feet of us all the time) took probably 30 off himself. He's a bulky weight lifter type, ticks are attracted to CO2, he must emit more of it than the others of us. Both of the guys are meat eaters, I'm veg, I take vit B and eat garlic, all of us were doing heavy labor and sweating profusely. That narrows down the differences to basic metabolism, and I think the weight lifter probably sweats more lactic acid and emits more CO2. Interesting thoughts. Bet he wouldn't even TRY pantyhose
 
Nancy Bush
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Are you taking turmeric for your lymes disease? I have a friend with lymes and she is doing quite well by taking turmeric every day. For repellant you can add garlic to your diet and it will help. If you are not taking turmeric I would suggest you begin NOW. It is an antibiotic, anitinflamatory and antidepressant ... If you can get fresh roots that is great....you can even grow them yourself...in a pot if need be. Powder is great too and is 2000x's more potent if taken with black pepper. The root makes a very tasty tea....slice or grate 3 or 4 finger pieces & boil in 3 cups of water. Let sit a bit & drink several times a day 1/2 cup ( keeps in the fridge)..... You can grate it on food or mix in a smoothie.
Great web site for more info. turmericforhealth.com
 
Mike Turner
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I've found eating raw garlic is effective at repelling tick (also mosquitoes, and chiggers). The ticks will crawl around, but not attach, the mosquitoes will land, then take off without biting. Also I've noticed that after a number of years of eating healthy food grown on the increasingly healthy soils here on the farm, I am much less attractive to the various blood sucking bugs than I was when I first moved here.
 
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