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Deer Tick Question

 
Al Loria
Posts: 395
Location: New York
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I had originally posted this in Lawn Care.  Paul suggested posting it again here.

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In the part of New York where we live there is a particular problem with Deer Ticks carrying Lyme disease.  According to suggested mowing practices, to eliminate Deer ticks you are supposed to mow low.  As low as you can.  The theory was to dry out the ticks, as they do not drink water, but absorb it, and high grass is higher in water content and low grass and sun will dry the ticks out.  After finding this forum I am now using the highest setting on the mower and getting about 4" of height on the back lawn. The front lawn is filling in a bit now and will be mowed to the same height.  We have four small dogs who play on the lawn, besides the rest of our family. 

My question, is, does anyone know a way to lower the population, or keep away altogether, Deer Ticks, without using chemicals. 

We have used Frontline on the dogs, and after our family physician told us the other day it causes seizures in dogs, we don't want to use it anymore.  Yes, you read correctly, our family physician, not the Vet.  The Vet sells Frontline by the way.

I don't know if food grade DE would work in this instance because the tick would have plenty of time to attach itself before the DE did its job.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 
Mike Turner
Posts: 309
Location: Upstate SC
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I don't know your situation, but around here the easiest way to keep an area tick free is to let guinea hens or chickens roam the area at regular intervals where they will eat any ticks  and other bugs they find.
 
Al Loria
Posts: 395
Location: New York
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Unfortunately our town will not allow us to have either the Guinea hens or the chickens.  We would need at least 2 acres, and we only have a little over a quarter of an acre.  Wish we could have the chickens especially.  Fresh eggs...
 
Al Loria
Posts: 395
Location: New York
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Got an answer to my own question, at least as far as the dogs are concerned.  Our latest adopted puppy got his upcoming immunization reminder card from the Vet today.  It includes a Lyme disease vaccine.  I completely forgot they get that.  Now, only the two legged family members need to find a solution...
 
Larisa Walk
Posts: 134
Location: South of Winona, Minnesota
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Here in SE Minnesota we have loads of deer ticks. Maybe its our garlic every day diet that repels them but we don't pick up a lot. Luckily, after exposure to some bites, our immune systems have gone into overdrive on tick saliva. If they attach, our reactions to their saliva cause immediate swelling at the site which supposedly blocks their feeding. We try to get them off before 24 hours elapses, making disease transmission much less likely, but I've had a few on longer and they just seem to be inert when I remove them. No symptoms yet in the 25 years I've been bitten, knock on wood.

Bob Dahse
 
                                                                    
Posts: 114
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA
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Here is what I do:

1) Keep deer away or don't attract them.
2) Wear long light colored pants because you can see the ticks on you.  They do not show up on dark colored pants.
3) Eat lots of garlic
4) Shower right after you come in.
5) Keep your immune system strong by eating well, sleeping well, being emotionally and spiritually healthy
6) We don't use hazmat flee and tick chemicals.  We have children as well as pets exposed to this.
7) Brush pets and inspect them regularly.
I keep the grass long because it is best for our bees to have some flowers.
 
Al Loria
Posts: 395
Location: New York
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I almost forgot I started this thread.  The other day our son came down with symptoms of Lyme disease.  He had body aches and pain in his jaw.  He was bitten about 10 days ago by two ticks while in the woods, (one on the stomach, one on the back) that were on him less than 24hrs.  No bullseye rash developed either.  The doctor explained only 12% of Lime diseased tick bites express the rash anymore.  He immediately put him on Doxycycline pending the results from the blood test.  We should know in a few days. 
 
Larisa Walk
Posts: 134
Location: South of Winona, Minnesota
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I work for a doctor that is "Lyme literate".  There is no blood test that is 100% accurate for Lyme.  If you start the Doxy route, you need to do a full 3 weeks as they are finding that a shorter course is ineffective at getting rid of it.  It will knock it back some but it can come back and can become chronic.  There are also other tick infections that can be combined or separate from Lyme, such as erlichiosis and babesia.  They are all nasty infections that can be very hard to diagnose, and if left untreated, can cause major health problems (think Dr. House episodes).  If you continue to have problems with this, check out the book "Cure Unknown".  Also, if you've had it once, you may be susceptible  to future occurrences - maybe you're never entirely rid of the organism?  I have friends that get it over and over.

We do some of the preventative measures that Campy mentioned, but I prefer bare legs to pants as I can feel them on my skin before they get too far up my leg.  The nymph stage of the deer tick is smaller than the head of a pin, so you need to be aware of every little moving spot.  My neighbor uses a body brush on herself when coming in.  There had been studies done that show that hot water doesn't kill ticks, at least shower temps.  I also pulled some laundry from the washing machine and had a tick walking around on it, looking none the worse for the ordeal.

Mowing around here is more like haying, so that is not a control method for us either.  Mice are one of the hosts for the deer tick, so keeping the rodent population under control is helpful.  We have a cat that does a great job of mousing.  She ends up with lots of tick bites.  While it is possible for cats to get Lyme, our local vet thinks that they may have some degree of immunity as it seems to be quite uncommon in cats.  Our sheep have had Lyme, and many friends have had dogs get it.

Besides the deer ticks, the lone star tick is making its way northward, thanks to global climate change.  Our vet was originally from Oklahoma and he is now seeing some of the diseases he used to see there, carried by the lone star ticks, in dogs in Minnesota.  The MD I work for had a confirmed lone star tick case by the MN Dept. of Health as the patient brought in the specimen.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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i prefer the 6 to 7 mo flea and tick collars for pets, and draw in as many birds as you are able..i am in a high deer traffic area and have never had a tick bite and have never found one on an animal here.
 
Al Loria
Posts: 395
Location: New York
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Walk, yes, our son is on the 21 day program.  I attended a seminar some years back given by the state entomologist.  He told us Lyme can hide and be invisible to antibiotics then pop up again after a standard 1 week to 10 antibiotic course is over.  That is the main reason for the 21 day course.  Our son will stay on it whether or not the Titer test comes back negative or positive.

I know someone in their 30s who had it before it became popular and was misdiagnosed for 10 years.  All sorts of neurological damage and he became disabled from it. 

It has been hot and dry here and that spells bad news for ticks.  They can't drink so they need to rehydrate by staying somewhere moist.  Most likely, the woods. 

My father-in-law and cousin had erlichiosis a couple of years ago.  A very painful disease, but easily cured with antibiotics.

Brenda, we had put out a bird feeder this year and planted many edibles.  The birds are coming in droves.  We are going through 5 pounds of seed a day.  I like the idea of the flea and tick collars instead of the Frontline, which we have not used for a few months now.  I would hope the collars would be less toxic.  I have not found any natural product that can last for a month to put on the dogs.


Al
 
Al Loria
Posts: 395
Location: New York
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Decided to revisit this thread after receiving the food grade DE I ordered for the spring flea/tick season.  After reading and hearing enough about the benefits of DE over chemical flea and tick control we are giving it a try. Dusted the dogs and found it very easy to work with and disappears on the white dogs, but our black Dachshund looks like he had a dust bath.  It should work its way down and not be all that noticeable.  I figure every couple of days should do it. 

At over $35 for a one month treatment for the 4 dogs, with Frontline, this 3lb container of DE costing $13 should be a big bargain. I can see getting years out of one container if only used for the dogs.  If it works as well as many have said, then this will add up to thousands of dollars in coming years.

 
tel jetson
steward
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Location: woodland, washington
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found a tick on my shoulder on January 1 this year.  the hole it left still hasn't healed.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
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Location: zone 7
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we have a family of about 30 quail living on our property. they do most of the work in eating the ticks around here. compared to friends properties near by our tick numbers are FAR lower.
 
Al Loria
Posts: 395
Location: New York
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Tel, that hole is going to be there a while.  The mouth parts sometimes stay in like a splinter and create a longer healing process.  I have had the mark last for many months from a tick bite.

Soil, we took the plunge and got 6 pullets yesterday. Had to buy 6 because of some sort of law, but we are only allowed to have 2 hens in out town.  Even the internet companies won't sell us less than 4 in my zip code.  Hope this works out.

My wife was not too keen on the idea of chickens, until they came home.  Her eyes lit up and she was handling them like they were her children.  Got to figure out a coop next.
 
William Lewis
Posts: 9
Location: Willamette Valley
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On the question of lawn-mowing to only 4 inches and tick control, let's apply some reason here. Look, do you want to adhere to a principle like keeping your lawn longer, or take an effective measure to ensure you do not contract a serious illness that can leave you debilitated for life? Concerned about the flowers? Plant a few no-maintenance flowering shrubs or a perennials in the wilder places on your property. Keeping a perimeter of short grass is a no-brainer decision for your health. Just don't go feeding and weeding, and your lawn will naturalize into greater plant diversity on its own even if you mow shorter. The risk posed by deer ticks is nothing to downplay. Relying on luck is not using your powers of reason, either. I got it twice, and then moved to a part of the country without it. I was fortunate to catch it early, but being very sick and weak for 6 months was no fun.
 
Al Loria
Posts: 395
Location: New York
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Took two of our dogs to the Vet today and the new Dr. who we saw tried selling us on a new replacement for Frontline.  I can't remember the 3 letter name, but it is also a neurotoxin and she said it did not affect mammals. She also said the Frontline did not either.  I had told her we are using an essential oil spray and DE and asked her if the dogs had any fleas.  She said, none that she could see.  So I guess our way of treating works just fine without the chemicals.  And at about 1/5th the cost.  So why would we want to buy the stuff she was pushing? 

We're sticking to the essential oil spray.  It is made by a company called Natural Chemistry, and it even smells nice.

Thanks Jami McB. for recommending the essential oil treatment a while back.  The premixed spray is easier for us to use even though it may be more expensive this way.
 
Jared Gardener
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Al Loria wrote:
Walk, yes, our son is on the 21 day program.  I attended a seminar some years back given by the state entomologist.  He told us Lyme can hide and be invisible to antibiotics then pop up again after a standard 1 week to 10 antibiotic course is over.  That is the main reason for the 21 day course.  Our son will stay on it whether or not the Titer test comes back negative or positive.

I know someone in their 30s who had it before it became popular and was misdiagnosed for 10 years.  All sorts of neurological damage and he became disabled from it. 

It has been hot and dry here and that spells bad news for ticks.  They can't drink so they need to rehydrate by staying somewhere moist.  Most likely, the woods. 

My father-in-law and cousin had erlichiosis a couple of years ago.  A very painful disease, but easily cured with antibiotics.

Brenda, we had put out a bird feeder this year and planted many edibles.  The birds are coming in droves.  We are going through 5 pounds of seed a day.  I like the idea of the flea and tick collars instead of the Frontline, which we have not used for a few months now.  I would hope the collars would be less toxic.  I have not found any natural product that can last for a month to put on the dogs.


Al


I have chronic lyme. Please take it seriously because it can be a devastating illness. It may be a good idea to use the antibiotic for at least four weeks because that's the life cycle of the bacteria and you can only kill it as it is growing if I'm not mistaken. I would take a look at this: http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0oG7obzri1OZ1IAMpgPxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTExbTV0dDR1BHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMQRjb2xvA2FjMgR2dGlkAwRsA1dTMQ--/SIG=122fkuk0l/EXP=1311703155/**http%3A//www.ilads.org/files/burrascano_0905.pdf

And I would also make sure to supplement with a high quality probiotic supplement like Biokult or HMF Forte and also have your child eat a lot of probiotic foods like home-made yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut to replace the beneficial bacteria that antibiotics annihilate.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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