Got Ticks?

LAST SUNDAY, while attempting to put a dent in my lengthy list of garden chores, I went on a weeding-, feeding-, planting-, edging- and mulching-frenzy. My reward for all that work? Well, later that day I discovered a blood-sucking, and possibly Lyme-disease-transmitting deer tick had attached itself to my side. What to do should you find this dreaded Ixodes scapularis embedded in your own skin:

If a tick attaches itself to you, the first step is to remove it. I used common tweezers for the job. The idea is to grasp the tick’s mouthpart as close as possible to the skin, and then pull gently but firmly. Next, disinfect the site. And last but by no means least, call your doctor.

Because I found the insect on a Sunday night, I had to wait until Monday morning to seek treatment. The physician’s assistant saw me immediately. He prescribed two pills of the antibiotic Doxycycline. Research has shown that a double dose of Doxycycline (200 MGs), when administered within 72 hours of the tick entering the skin, can thwart the spread of lyme. Otherwise, a full course of antibiotics will become necessary.

Lyme disease is nothing to sneeze at, folks. Left unchecked it can lead to all kinds of long-term physical ailments. As you might recall, my beloved beagle, Lily, nearly died from the disease. Since then I’ve treated her monthly with “Frontline.” The treatment seems to be working.

You can read more about the deer tick and the bacteria it can carry in this on-line pamphlet from the New York Department of Health. The Department of Health  recommends that gardeners (especially those who work in overgrown areas) wear light colored clothing. Then the black tick can be more easily spotted. They also recommend showering immediately after gardening, or after hiking in tick-infested woods.

If you  live in deer-tick territory, mind telling me which precautions — if any —  you take to protect yourself?

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Related Posts:
The Fall Webworm
When NOT to Kill a Tomato Hornworm
Who’s Eating My Apple Tree?


  1. Kevin, I’m so glad you found that tick quickly! Here in NH we seem to be having a banner year for ticks…after a hike last weekend we did a tick check of ourselves and our two dogs before getting in the car. My husband had 8 on him, we found 3 on me, and each dog had in excess of 10 ticks. None yet attached, fortunately, but I did have the creepy crawlies all day. We regularly do a tick check after a hike, a trail run, or working in the garden at this time of year…when he’s looking through my hair my husband invariably points out that he feels like a chimpanzee grooming his companion!

  2. Donna B. says:

    I’m such a weirdo for things like this. I’ll cradle a spider outside to safety, hold millipedes and watch them unfurl, and even collect earwigs and other creepy crawlies to throw into my compost pile.
    A tick? I scream and cry like a child.
    I made the mistake of going on a walk through an unkempt prarie-like area with my boyfriend and his father, we took our pack – five dogs total. My two dogs are lighter in color [the girl is a beige/tan-brindle, my baby boy has large areas of white but mostly chocolate brown] and the very SECOND I saw ticks on my girl I started to freak out. The walk lasted an hour, I wasn’t having fun… and I don’t want to exaggerate, but I think between the eight of us there were hundreds of ticks.

    I’ve never so quickly threw myself and my clothes to the wash.
    I think I took duct tape to my dogs to get the surface ticks off. I wouldn’t cuddle with them for days.
    So my solution for the problem? I walk on pavement. I’m terrified of ticks.

  3. Our property backs onto a woods that houses deer, so ticks are always an issue. However, I’m unable to differentiate between deer ticks and dog ticks, even with the help of the Internet! I seem to get several ticks each spring, and one thing that helps is to wear a hat while gardening. I’ve read that ticks leap from trees if they sense heat below, and my theory is that wearing a hat blocks the ticks from sensing my body heat.

  4. Kevin – I’m surprised that your doctor thought that only 2 pills of Doxycycline would be adequate. My step-son has chronic lime disease, so we’ve done a ton of research. It would seem that the overwhelming concensus would be a course of 10 days. If you haven’t watched the documentary “Under Our Skin” , I would highly recommend it. It’s an amazing, and overwhelming disease.

  5. jbofsbny says:

    I was just reading up on deer ticks because we live near woods and the beach where deer are often grazing on the bluffs. From what I gather, you will never see a deer tick on your pet until it has engorged. Before they attach themselves, they are as small as pepper flakes. The ticks you may be finding on yourself and your pet are more than likely not deer ticks.

  6. Tammy and Donna – There is nothing so creepy as ticks, especially the teeny deer-type. Hate ’em!

    Ruth – I’d heard that ticks could jump from trees. But, according to the NY Dept. of Health, ticks can’t jump — they can only crawl. They wait for host animals from the tips of grasses and shrubs, but, apparently, not trees. When brushed by a moving animal ticks lets go of the foliage and climb onto the host. And that’s icky enough.

    Janice – When I asked the physician’s assistant about a full course of antibiotics, he said: “If everyone in Columbia County received a full course of antibiotics after being bitten by a tick, everyone in Columbia County would be immune to antibiotics.” He did tell me to call him if the bull’s-eye from the attack increases in size. Fortunately the wound has all but disappeared. Thanks for the link to “Under Our Skin” — Lyme is indeed a scary disease.

    jbofsbny – You are right about deer ticks being tiny. Mine was slightly engorged, which is the only reason I noticed it.

  7. Colleen says:

    We have a farm and if I called the Dr every time I found a tick on me I’d be on antibiotics weekly spring, summer & fall and in the Drs office weekly. We have guineas, chickens and peacocks so they help some, especially the guineas who do a great job on ticks and grasshoppers but they can’t find them all! I check myself for ticks nightly. So far I’ve found 5 on me this spring. ;-( Just part of farm life. Wish I could find a natural insect repellant that would be sure to keep ticks off me.

  8. Kevin, I SOOOO HATE TICKS!!! After all my gardening and yard work this weekend I had a tick attached to my neck that has left a welt. I had a battery operated bug repellant on my waist band, but this creepy crawler must have come off a shrub when I was cleaning up the yard. Last weekend I got a spider bite that was rather nasty, I was so happy after 4 days not to have brown recluse symptoms, but it sure was ugly, black center surrounded by bright red. One of my dogs who is on year round flea and tick/liquid, just got diagnosed with Lyme. They are everywhere!

  9. Dennis R says:

    Kevin, you know how somethings are just “cosmic”?? reading this article is cosmic… this morning after showering i noticed a tick on the left side of my chest. fortunately, i was already scheduled to see my doctor for another reason today. he pulled the tick out & told me he’d write a script for two 100 mg doxycycline. when i told him this was the 4th tick i had in 3 months, (i just finished taking doxy 4 weeks ago)he wrote it for 30 pills to have “for the next tick just in case” & he gave me his tick puller kit.. he also told me about the documentary “under our skin”.
    that’s what i get for raking up dead leaves for my compost piles. i guess i’m gonna have to start wearing light clothes, tuck my pants into my socks & slather myself w/ deet from now on…. Gardening is such fun, but ticks suck (figuratively & literally)…LOL

  10. Kristina says:

    Other than bug spray and precaution I’m not sure there are other ways to protect yourself. Last year working around the brush pile I made sure to have pants tucked into my socks, long sleeves, hat and gloves. Still, one of the little buggers got into my glove and bit my hand. I applied plaintain ( a miracle healing “weed”) to the bullseye bite and the swelling went down. Of course, it was 4th of July weekend, so no office was open and I had to wait several days to see a doctor. I got a 3 week course of amoxycillin b/c I was told that doxy can cause reactions to the sun. (I’m pleased to say I’ve not seen any long term symptoms of Lyme.) I’d later discovered that upward of 5 of my neighbors had been diagnosed with Lyme last year. Also, I’ve heard this year b/c of the decrease in acorn production and therefore decreased food source for mice (a tick’s common meal) we humans are more likely to be bitten. Please, protect yourselves and do watch “Under Our Skin”, it is an eye-opener in many ways.

  11. I was talking about ticks with my Mom a couple of days and ago, as she had a swollen place from a tick she’d removed. She told me that the very same night that she found the tick, there was an MD on the local news who explained that a tick has to be attached for 48 hours for the lyme disease to be transmitted. She’d found and removed the tick as soon as it bit, b/c she felt the bite. That, at least, could offer some comfort to those who notice immediately that they’ve been bitten. It’s when you don’t know how long they’ve been attached that is a real concern.

    Mom lives just two houses away from me…thru the woods. I refuse to walk thru the woods to go to her house, because of my fear of ticks!

  12. I have had lyme several times, the last bout had me down and out for months and to this day, I still suffer. I now test positive all of the time. We are intending on treating the yard this year, I have already encountered a few this spring in my flower beds, I love in the woods, virtually impossible to avoid the darned things. I don’t like chemicals, but I am afraid I will be using them, probably sevin dust, haven’t thoroughly looked into it yet. But be careful and observant. I think it may be a bad year for them, things got started pretty early this year.

  13. Liz J – Ah, the brown recluse spider! A friend received such a bite a few years ago, and I can still recall the swelling on her leg, which later lead to infection and a trip to the E.R. Be careful out there…

    Dennis R. – Cosmic, indeed. And I think I’ll ask my MD for a surplus of Doxy — as insurance.

    Kristina – Thanks for the plantain tip. You are right about Doxy and sunlight. When I filled my prescription, the pharmacist told me to stay out of the sun, as I’d be even more prone to sunburn than I usually am.

    D’Ann – Can’t say I blame you for refusing to walk through the woods

    Eileen Cooper – As Dennis R. said in comment #9, ticks suck! And so does Lyme disease. I’m sending positive energy your way.


  14. I used to wear gardening clothes several times before laundering them, but now as soon as I come in from gardening those clothes go into a special laundry pile for ASAP cleaning, and I completely change everything while I check for ticks. I don’t wait until “later” any more. The worst is trying to keep tabs on Wizard, our long-haired Cavalier King Charles spaniel. Ticks are impossible to find on him until they are engorged. Frontline helps, but nothing is perfect….

  15. Marc Plainguet says:

    My wife grooms dogs for a living and often has to remove ticks. A groomer she knows had to remove about 300 ticks from a poor dog. She tells me that instead of pulling with tweezers, they soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and put it on the tick. The tick cannot breathe and is irritated and pulls out of the skin to escape. This way there’s less chance of leaving any part of the tick behind in the skin. I hope that helps some here.

  16. Elaine says:

    We have a flock of 13 guineas who roam our property freely, and we rarely if ever have any ticks. We make sure they have a water source, but other than that they spend every waking moment looking for their favorite food – ticks!! They don’t scratch and get into the gardens the way our chickens (poor things….they are locked up) do.

    They roost in the trees at night, and they are very good watchdogs!! Anyone who is concerned about ticks in their yard/garden/property needs a flock of guineas!!

  17. I love what Elaine says about Guinea fowl. They are the best tick-control. There was a wild flock of two dozen at our last home, and we never had a tick on human or dogs there. Here we have only a 1/3 acre, but the back part does get overgrown and I’ve picked up many ticks when clearing underbrush. I’m highly chemical-sensitive, so had to find a natural repellant. I’ve been very pleased to find a good chemical-free, bioegredable anti-insect spray with Dr. Mercola’s “Bug Off” which includes citronella, lemongrass, peppermint oil for natural deterrent, and vanillin (only for scent). I also plant citronella sporadically through the garden and near the back porch. For the past 2 years using the spray, I’ve not picked up a mosquito, flea or tick. I used to be quite the blood-buffet for pests! And the “Bug Off” smells like lemon cupcake. It’s not repelling-smelling repellant! 3rd year, same bottle; so goes far.

  18. Vicki – I’m with you on clothes-washing soon (even better, immediately) after gardening in tick-infested areas. Give Wizard the Cavalier King Charles spaniel a little pat from me.

    Marc Plainguet – Thanks for the alcohol-on-a-cotton-ball tip. I can’t imagine having to remove 300 ticks from a dog. Yoinks!

    Elaine – The world would be a better place if everyone had Guinea fowls on their property. One question for you: Have your guineas ever been victimized by stray cats?

    Laurel – Thanks for the tip on Dr. Mercola’s “Bug Off.” Lemon cupcake scented? Yum.

  19. We have never lost a guinea to a predator of any sort. If you know guineas, you know that they have a wild nature and are not easily caught! The only time they are susceptible at all to predators is if a female is on a nest. They really are the easiest fowl to keep. They also love Japanese Beetles! Although, their favorite food is ticks and any insect they can get their beaks on!

  20. Susan Traynor says:

    This is the *worst* year for ticks!!! Started in March here in south west MI. I don’t use a spot-on for my dogs, just spray them with an essential oil spray that I make myself. I use it too since I can’t use DEET. Have to share what most long time dog owners know about ticks and tick born diseases. When removing ticks, Kevin is correct, you pull them straight up with a slow, steady pressure. Once it’s off, KILL it. Don’t just flush it or throw it away! They can be killed in a small bottle of alcohol (rubbing variety works well) or do as I do: toast them. Yep, when I find them I wrap them in a corner of kleenex and toast them with a Bic lighter which I find a fitting end to their existence. The sooner you get the buggers off the better. Threat of any TBD is very minimal to non-existent if they do not regurgitate to disengage when they’ve gorged to their fill.
    Even if the head is left, wipe the bite spot with alcohol and it will fall out in a day or so.

  21. Kristina says:

    Yes, plantain is an amazing healer. I just pick a few leaves, rinse it, chew it a bit (to release the healing goodness), slap it on a burn, bite, or small cut and cover with a band-aid. When it gets dried out I replace it if needed. It’s the best (free) first aid!
    PS – Now I really want to get guinea fowl!

    I hate ticks, but also hate to poison my animals with Frontline and similar products. On the recommendation of an organic farmer who has used the product, I bought some “Triple Sure” by Natural Wonder products. It has a strong ceder smell. In addition to cedarwood oil, it contains peppermint oil and filtered water. It seems to be working — I’ve only found one tick on one of the cats since we began using it.

    I can’t guarantee this, since it is our first season using it, but you might want to check it out – or perhaps get the essential oils and experiment with your own mix!


  23. Vicki W says:

    Just coming out of a terrible 2-year bout with Lyme disease (also Bartonella and Babesia, which are also tick borne). Don’t take ANY chances. Take Doxycycline for 30 days even if you do catch the tick quickly. You do not want to fool around with this disease. We also now have a flock of guinea fowl. LOVE them! We did lose over half our flock to coyote and foxes, but will get more each year. Our nine barn cats leave the guineas alone. They are good to the gardens–they don’t dig or scratch. And they eat stink bugs, too!

  24. Colleen Peck says:

    To remove them from the skin, dogs or human, we use a bit of hydrogen peroxide on a q-tip and soak the area where the head is inbedded. This seems to get the tick to loosen his grip. I was contracted it last summer and my symptoms are mild but non the less annoying. Tiredness, achy joints and what I call memory befuddlement. I know others that are much worse off. You are correct in saying that Lyme Disease is nothing to take lightly. Thanks for the article.

  25. pamela james says:

    We were out at my dad’s sawmill and upon leaving my 15yr old daughter found a tick in her hair. We went to the emergency room and the Doctor told us that we got all the tick out. He said there was no treatment-that a tick has to be attached for 48hrs and that the type of ticks that carry lyme are the wood ticks(the teeny tiny pinpoint ones). No treatment, no antibiotics, nothing

    As for brown recluse, both my sons were bitten. It was horrible. One had a bite on his hip, it was the size of a basketball, he still has severe scarring from it. The other one got several bites on his calf-the were considering amputation. They got bitten from going over to my sons girlfriends house. They had just bought an old farmhouse out in the country that hadn’t been lived in for some time. The girls room was in the basement. Bad move.
    We generally don’t have brown recluse here-so the doctors had little experience with the nasty things. It was a nightmare!

    So now I call my children “The adventures of Spider Boys and Tick Girl” what joy!!!

  26. Guinea hens can each eat 2 acres of ticks and while they are VERY noisy and tend to wander, ( I keep my females enclosed and this helps) they are great bug eaters.

  27. Hi all I am not plugging a product but Avon’s skin-so-soft does really work at prevention. i have found ticks walking on me frequently when I wasn’t wearing any as opposed to never finding any while wearing some. The oil is the most concentrated but of course messy, the lotion must be re-applied more often. I also like the gel oil. I make sure my legs, ankles socks and pant legs get some of the lotion to make sure they can’t find me from the ground up. Just a theory but I believe the strong smell masks the CO2 we exhale

  28. I can’t spray our yard, I don’t think I could sleep at night thinking of all the insects and lizards and frogs and such it would kill. We also still hike in the woods as often as possible and the best thing my husband and I have found for ticks is to not wear long pants but instead wear shorts and check the back and front of your legs very often and catch the little devils as they crawl up your legs. This method works pretty well for us. Someone mentioned that ticks are on plants and weeds waiting for a living thing to brush by, that is true and I’ve had the opportunity to see them doing it, they actually hold on to the tip of the weed with their hind legs and wave their little front legs around just waiting for the perfect moment. It’s really cute even though I do hate the disease they carry. When I find a tick I like to use the stove burner, I have a ceramic top and I like to turn the burner on and cook the tick, it’s fast and easy to see so you know you got the job done. What a shame Lyme’s is, just when people should be getting out more and using less pesticides. We also have Doxi on hand to take two tabs. if we find a tick already feasting on us.

  29. I’m a beekeeper and am constantly picking up ticks in the fields where my hives are. I wear a white overall with the legs tucked into boots, as well as my hat and veil, so I can usually spot the ticks quickly.

    When gardening, I spray myself with Equinature BugGone, which is non-toxic and formulated for horses and dogs as well as people. But as others have noted, unless you stay inside or on pavement, you’re going to get ticks and bites. My routine is to put my outdoor clothes in the dryer on high for at least 20 minutes as soon as I come in; it dehydrates any ticks and kills them, which putting them through the washer doesn’t, always (there’s some question as to how long they need to be in the dryer). I then do a visual check before taking a shower. I’ve caught many ticks this way and haven’t had any attached for longer than a few hours. I had Lyme disease several years ago, before starting this routine. Did not get the bull’s eye rash, but got flu-like symptoms about 9 days after being bitten, was treated with a month of antibiotics, and haven’t had any lingering effects, fortunately.

    I was told that getting the ticks off with alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or a lit match isn’t a good idea, as it tends to make them regurgitate before they let go. I got several “tick spoons” from my vet – small plastic spoons with a slit in them. They’re even easier to use than tweezers.

  30. Dont encounter them now ,but when I was girl scout camp I had one on me and they took a match, blew it out and put it on the tick..He took his head out and they disinfected it..Worked great..

  31. Wonderful comments from all, a joy to read. If one’s body is assimilating Vitamin B their pores will put out a chemical, (undetected by the human sense of smell), that will repel ticks, fleas, mosquitos, even spiders. Being a delectable dish for these is a good indication to to include more vitamin B foods in your diet. I wish I could tolerate the racket made by the G. hens but the neighbors already put me close to distraction. Some products that are unbeatable are Neem oil, (a light coat on the body works wonders at keeping all those creepy crawlers at bay). Plant Sweetgrass in containers about the yard or make a strong tea of it and spray all over you and it does wonders for repelling all that. Hierochloe Odorata, (sweetgrass), was what the Natives used in their dwellings to keep the insects at bay. As a Sweetgrass farmer I can attest to the fact that even though I have wetlands on my property I still am not bother by those insects. I know there are all kinds of sprays, but I am a firm believer of “Natural is better”

  32. Mineral oil chokes and kills ticks. I mix lavender, citronella, and peppermint oils with mineral oil, then put it in a spray bottle with half water. Shake it up and spray it all over me and my clothes, then go pick wild berries in the woods. Hubby says even he doesn’t want to bite me with this stuff on!

    When I see a tick on the dog, I soak a cotton ball with mineral oil and push it onto the tick, knowing it will pull out and die. He is an outside only dog.

  33. Tina M Comroe says:

    I tend to keep the grass mowed to under 3 inches, wear long sleeved shirts and long length slacks/jeans with the socks up over the cuffs.. I then spray myself down with a flea and tick repellant, especially around the ankles where they usually attach themselves from the grass.. I might be smelly and sticky for a bit, but so far I have not had any ticks. That and I live in an area that has so far (knock on wood) been tick free, but then it is only spring/early summer and they have not made an appearance just yet.

  34. And as long as antibiotics continue to be abused in the careless way that they now are globally, the situation will only worsen over time until eventually even the most minor infections and injuries become fatal.

    Learn more:

  35. We live in the country, and we definitely have ticks all around. We use tick drops to treat our two labs every month regularly. I’ve read that the danger of contracting Lyme is after the tick has been attached for 24 hours. My husband and I shower together every night, which is a fun way to make sure that doesn’t happen.

  36. Carole – Great way to check for ticks. And think of the water you’re saving!

  37. Judy Pennington says:

    For some reason it doesn’t work on everyone, but Avon’s Skin So Soft in the original form has always been a Godsend to my family. You can even spray it on your pooches to keep fleas and mosquito’s off them. Not for cats though, they lick too much and it might make them sick.

  38. When birding, I pull my socks over my pant legs to help keep ticks out. If you wear a long-sleeved gardening shirt to keep the sun off, you could pull your gardening gloves up over the cuffs. Not stylish, but neither are ticks.

  39. i have heard if you get them off within 48 hours of bite, your chances of getting lyme are slim to none. Therefore I either get my shower at night or at least do a good check before going to bed and letting them snack on me all night. Speed is your friend with this one.

  40. I found a tick on my five year old son this week and a couple on myself just now. I applied tea tree oil- straight- and they crawled right out. I believe that it is better to convince them to crawl out themselves, as pulling them out risks that they will leave parts of themselves behind. I have read in Whole Health magazine ( August 2011) that ticks are repelled by geranium oil and lavender oil – strangely not so much by citronella. Other repellents that help with ticks are 2-undecanone ( an extract of a wild tomato) which is found in BioUD and is more effective than a solution of 98 percent DEET. It shields you from ticks for two hours and from mosquitoes for four and a half. So for a long gardening stint, you will need to re-apply.. I am just about to see where I can get some as I don’t want to take any more anti-biotics if I can help it ! haven’t checked the link yet, but the article lists as one place one can find BioUD.

  41. spot on pesticides such as frontline,zodiac,defend,biospot, adams and advantage could trigger adverse reactions in dogs and cats, shorten life spans, cause terminal illness and premature death says Dave Glassel, presidaent of cedarcide industries inc.

    send any ?? you have to http:[email protected]

    Cedarcide is a natural repellant , new bio-solution formulated with cedar oil and developed to replace all those deadly flea and tic control products. The name of the product is PCO Choice and it is made and manufactured in USA by po box 549 Spring,TX 77383 1-800- 842-1464 it controls mosquitoes,fleas,ticks, flies, chiggers no see ums,mites, moths, apanese beetles carpet beetles ants, mole crickets, termites, box elder bugs silver fish roaches aphids palmettobugs and numerous other non beneficial insects . PCO Choice will not harm beneficial sight driven insects, birds fish or amphibians yet it will repel and deter venomous snakes, rats and scorpions. PCO Choice will resolve many other issues such as scale on plants apowdery mildew and all of the norrmal lawn fungal problems grassy areas experience. since PCO Choice is a non toxic 100% biological pesticide you can not overtreat…

    ok I am writing all this as I read it from the paper work and I have not sprayed yet but was turned on to this product from friends that did use it and they love it. I just bought 1 qt for $75 dollars free shipping. it is a concentrate and you only use 4 oz to a 26oz container that you either need to purchase from them or have available and then you attach this to a water hose to initiate spraying. We will do this the first time we get a chance and it is not RAINING… I’ll let you know how it goes…

  42. we live in western MA. i use copious amounts of bug spray (i tend to be a magnet for mosquitoes). after the day’s work is done, husband & i do a visual “tick check”. like someone stated above, Lyme Disease is more likely after the 24 hour period. and that tell-tale bull’s eye mark of Lyme may appear up to 2 weeks *after* a bite. it’s also important to note that one should remove the tick swiftly and with as little disturbance as possible to it. it is when a tick is agitated or disturbed that it will regurgitate potentially-contaminated blood back into the host thereby transmitting the disease.

  43. Cynthia says:

    Glad you were able to catch it, Kevin. They creep me out! I’m not plugging the product either, but have been told by a friend who works outside that tick tubes work. They are environmentally friendly as well. If you’re interested, check out “”. Having just been bitten myself, I plan to try them. Will keep you posted!

  44. Lyme is no joke in MD, has been around and aggressively spread for years. It is really important to check for ticks or bites when you come inside, and to get treatment as soon as possible. I have watched several people i know and love battle the disease over the past 20 years – it’s not something you want.

    I hope your treatment will head off any further need!

  45. Kathy Winkkler says:

    Hi! …..
    …. I actually have Lymne Disease…. I got infected when we moved “back home” to retire!! …. what a joke, hu? …lol
    …We bought forested, property on a mountain~side in Southern Oregon… my dogs have free run of the place and surrounding forest. Which helps keep the local, tick carrying, wild~life away from my property….. All 6 of my dogs wear “frontline” year round, that right there is a big help, as it decimates the flea and tick population in my area. And my sons and husband are clearing the brush, and removing all the lower dead limbs from the trees…. also a big help!! … and ofcourse, I wear light colored long~sleaved shirts and long pants when working up in the trees.

  46. Thank you for this article! I’ve had Lyme’s (still have Lyme’s?), and it was one of the worst experiences in my life.

    We keep our grass short anywhere on our property where people walk or the dogs play, and we’ve learned to keep the dogs off our furniture so they don’t drop ticks where we will be sitting. We also vacuum often!

    For removal, they do make a device (flat piece of metal with holes cut in it) for popping the little beasties out of dogs easily. In my experience, it works just as easily and quickly on people.

  47. Riversana says:

    Just saw a FB post today from a favorite site, DIYnatural. They recommend 1 part tea tree oil + 2 parts water. Mix in a spray bottle and apply. Definitely good for humans, possibly good for dogs as well (according to commentary on the post), probably not for cats as essential oils are harmful to them. I might try this one!!

  48. I don’t use any of those chemicals and you have to be careful with man made antibiotics! I make my own oils and sprays from natural essential oils with kill any infection or disease in seconds!

  49. Janelle says:

    Elaine (or anyone), I’ve been wanting to get guinea fowl for a long time, but just didn’t want to add another “house” to our property. I find it very interesting that they roost in trees all the time. Does this work year round for you. I live in Wisconsin with some pretty cold spells at times during the winter. Wouldn’t they need housing then? And food? Thanks for any tips. Also, how did you get them to consider you home, but then live outdoors? I’m assuming that you would have to raise them through infancy with heat lamp and home and the full care bit, but then they would go back to that home when you let them free. Or do you just take that “house” away and let them fend for themselves?

  50. I don’t know if it applies to humans, but i don’t know why it wouldn’t: we add Brewer’s Yeast (ie: nutritional yeast) to our horse’s and dog’s feed to ward off fleas and ticks. I always take alot of B Vitamins (which Brewer’s is chock full of) and I am seldom ever bit by fleas, spiders, or ticks of any sort. I’m a gardener and our property is situated right up against deep woods with wildlife of all sorts, so…i think i’m onto something! Good luck!

  51. i’m not sold on those tick tubes. i read the data sheet ( and they hardly seem environmentally friendly! and i don’t want my cat eating a mouse that has nested in a contaminated cotton ball!

  52. What a great blog !! My dog was just diagnosed with a parasite from a tick bite. I take extra Vitamin B and will be giving brewer’s yeast to my dogs during the tick season. I already use the topical treatment for ticks, but this year I think they need a little extra protection. The company ( sound like a great natural product too. Another bonus….it is a local North Carolina company. I will be giving it a try.

  53. Deborah says:

    Growing up on a farm in Iowa, our trick to getting ticks off was to light a match, blow it out, and quickly hit the head of the tick with the heated match. The heat makes the tick draw back so it just falls right off. Later I learned how to use nail polish remover as it makes the tick draw back as well. These two tips make sure the head is never left in the skin.

  54. Hello All,

    I live in the woods. My home is totally encircled by woods exept for the single lane driveway entance to my home. We have moose, deer, coyotees and the usual host of woodland life.
    I slowly built gardens around my home, pushing the woods further and further away, to provide some sunlight for my vegetable and flower gardens. I have learned to stay out of the woods until the frost comes. The poster who wrote on the benefits of the essential oild geranium and lavender, I can attest to. When I garden and do yard chores always bringing me into contact with the woods and leaves and grass, and tall weeds, I always wear a hat long pants and long sleaves. Then I put either lavender oil, or penny royal oil ot geranimum oil arouns my ankles , on my neck and chest, around my waist and on my hands and wrists. It needs to be reapplied after two hours but it appears to be quite affective. I read that lavender replels ticks so I am hoping to develop a borde of lavender plants between my garden and the woods. I am also going to look into the sweetgrass. Ticks are such a serious issue it was good to read how other gardeners approach the issue. Herbs are wonderful not just for cooking, perhaps there are herbalist out there who can share their opinion of what to grow around teh barrier of our gardens to repel ticks otehr than lavender, I for one would be very interested to hear what an herbalist has to say on this issue. Enjoy your day.


  55. Wow! I am so surprised and even reassured at the carefree attitudes on some of the posts regarding tick bites! I am a city girl living in LA and wouldn’t really know about ticks. The one time I went into the woods was in the Netherlands visiting in laws and got bit! I caught the darn thing within a three ho

  56. Wow! I am so surprised and even reassured at the carefree attitudes on some of the posts regarding tick bites! I am a city girl living in LA and wouldn’t really know about ticks. The one time I went into the woods was in the Netherlands visiting in laws and got bit! I caught the darn thing within a three hoUr window and remOved it. This was 3 weeks ago. I went to a dr three days later because the bite was red and itchy. The dr said I had mouthparts still stuck and gave me 10 days in 200 mg if doxycycline. But I went to see a llmd here in LA yesterday just to make sure and she scared the crap out of me. She spent 90 mins insisting that there is no way I don’t have Lyme and coinfections. And the info about ticks needing to feed for 24 hours is BS and it only takes 10 mins to transmit disease to neurological system! She said its incurable, u can go into remission at best, and should test every 6 months for the next few yrs ($1400 igenex tests)! She immediately wanted to put me in 2 different antibiotics for the next 6 weeks even without symptoms other than a headache upon returning from my 14 hour flight with no sleep for 36 hrs and a site throat caused by yeast buildup from my doxy ( I was taking a type that I had to dissolve into water and drink). Both those resolved without issue. I cant believe that one single poppyseed sized bug in me for 3 hrs could damage me for the rest if my life! U know Lyme is no joke, but I had hoped I was lucky to have caught it early and got in the doxy quickly. I expressed not wanting to do antibiotics if at all possible. So she gave me 3 herbal solutions from Byron white labs. One for Lyme, one for babesia and one for bartonella! I gotta take these for the next three months. Any advice? Am I crazy not to do the 6 weeks on antibiotics or would I be crazier to listen to her?

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