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Zone 6b Ticks are out and active! — The Grow Network Community
When in doubt, throw doubt out and have a little faith…

- E.A. Bucchianeri

Zone 6b Ticks are out and active!

VickiPVickiP Posts: 513 ✭✭✭✭

I was doing some yard work yesterday and picked one up. My husband got one two days ago. So it's time to start taking precautions. I am in the Ozarks and ticks are horrible here. I use Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent. It is not a perfect solution but is better than spraying Zeet or other repellents directly onto your skin. I spray one complete "outside" outfit including socks and then I don't wash those cloths for as long as I can stand them. It lasts up to 6 weeks or 6 washings before you have to spray again. The dogs are my outside companions and they don't mind Ha! I can make one bottle of it last most of the summer that way. I also use a citronella spray or wipes for exposed skin. Any other tips for tick protection?



  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,028 admin

    You are making me so very glad that we still have snow!

    I know that people around here like to use rose geranium essential oil. Supposedly it is safe for dogs too. We use a mix of essential oils in a carrier, but not on our dog. We had a horse that would attract them like a magnet. It was extremely bad! None of the other livestock (horse/cows) ever had that. We never did figure out why.

    A general precaution that is usually advised is tucking pant legs into socks. That can get tough when a person is hot & doesn't want to wear either.

  • kbmbillups1kbmbillups1 Posts: 411 ✭✭✭✭

    For the last several years I've bought socks from BugBeWear that were treated with the same repellant that our troops uniforms are treated with. They can be washed 70 times and still repel ticks. I'm sure what they're treated with isn't natural but it does work. We haven't found any ticks on us since we have been using the socks. Before we started using them we had ticks on us everytime we came inside. Anyway, they've retired and sold to Insect Shield. I haven't bought anything from them yet.

  • VickiPVickiP Posts: 513 ✭✭✭✭

    I didn't mention this in my original post, but the spray I use is not to be used on animals or directly on skin. The dogs don't mind how I smell wearing the same outfit for several weeks when I am outdoors. I just wanted to clarify.

  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 590 ✭✭✭✭

    I live in 6b also on the eastern side of the USA in Pennsylvania. And yes, we also collect ticks like magnets. Unfortunately, so do all of my pets since they enjoy being out with me in the yard/garden.

    What I have found which has helped tremendously is food-grade DE (Diatomaceous Earth). It does have several drawbacks though which are easy to circumvent, you just have to learn what the problem is and how to prevent it. So here's what I know:

    1. Always purchase food grade since it will be getting on yourself and your pets.
    2. Never "dust" it onto your yard, ledges, sills of windows etc. on a windy day. You must refrain from you yourself or your pets inhaling the dust. It is very fine ground exo-skeletons of a bug which means it has sharp edges. Too much inhalation can cut thin slivers in your respiratory system. But these sharp edges is what controls the flea and tick population common to our zone. The dust will grind small slivers in the flea/tick bug and they end up dehydrating.
    3. DE will kill almost any type of bug as long as it has a soft-shell so if you wish to use it remember to always keep it low to the ground where crawling insects are. Flying insects, like pollinators, ladybugs, praying mantis etc. are considered beneficials so you don't want to kill them also. Always, dust low therefore.
    4. DE will dissolve in rain so you must do it again after rainfall.
    5. What I do, every year in Spring dust all around my house from every door/wall etc about 25 feet out. If it rains within a few days... do it again. I repeat this once every month for the first year of use. The second year, I just do it once a month during Spring thru late Fall. You will notice as you start this program you are seeing fewer and fewer bugs. Eventually you can keep the maintenance schedule up but go farther and farther apart on your dusting schedule because you have eliminated a lot of the problem, thus there is fewer and fewer eggs being deposited on your property. I live on several acres and I just can't afford to do all my property but just doing the high traffic areas in your yard will get you on track to reducing this yearly problem.
  • VickiPVickiP Posts: 513 ✭✭✭✭

    @greyfurball Thanks for your reply. I have used DE before for other pests, in the garden and around the house, I never have used it for ticks, certainly worth a try! I have also read about garlic spray and have considered it, but it is pricey. I have used sulfur, which seemed to help but the dogs hated it soooo much I gave up on using it. I hate ticks.

  • I've been dreading dealing with the ticks, chiggers, and fleas when I get back to Missouri- probably within 3 weeks.

    Then I remembered that a coworker here in Idaho, where we don't have fleas or chiggers, got a serious tick borne illness in summer 2018. She was so very sick, and they never really said which one it was. Not Lyme, as they tested for that. One thought was Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, but that's not supposed to be in this area. So far as I know, no one else in the area had trouble.

    I have pulled a few ticks off the dog after he's been in the high weeds, and I expect to have to get used to checking for them after I've been outside. I have to say that I've not missed that part of Missouri.

  • VickiPVickiP Posts: 513 ✭✭✭✭

    @Mary Linda Bittle Yes tick borne illness is a serious problem in this area. I have had friends get Spotted Tick Fever and have know other who ended up with Lyme disease. It is something to be taken seriously. I think they have found or at least named other diseases you can get from ticks, so take precautions for both your animals and yourself. Some info you might find useful. https://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/communicable/tickscarrydisease/index.php

  • dottile46dottile46 Posts: 391 ✭✭✭

    I'm in 6a just above the Ozarks. Our outside cats are hunters and wonder the woods. They've had a few ticks off and on all winter. I don't think they ever went away this year.

    The previous owners correlated with neighbors and did a controlled burn of about 20 acres each year to control ticks and such. We've been here 2+ years and haven't burned it off but keep more mowed than they did.

  • OhiohillsLouiseOhiohillsLouise Posts: 121 ✭✭✭

    I am in Ohio, I have pulled 3 off my cat already, I have never had them this early before. It does seem to be a weird year.

  • CorneliusCornelius Posts: 174 ✭✭✭

    A thing to remember is that ticks have a two year life cycle and need two blood meals to reach adulthood and a third for reproducing. Humans and our pets are usually attacked on round two or three, whereas small rodents are round one (this is also where ticks pick up infections like lyme). Therefore if there is an increase in rodents in your area or near your house then there will be more ticks the following year.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,028 admin

    @Cornelius If this is true, then our cats are doing the most awesome job. We have had no mice in the house, and for the first time that I remember, very few ticks on anything...horse, dog, cats...children...me. I have never seen the like before. I keep hearing how an area not far away from us had more than usual. Not us!

    It was a cold winter. It had been a dry spring after a dry year last year, but lots of rain last fall.

    At the time of saskatoon picking (now), woodticks disappear. They say deer ticks keep going until fall. I don't know about that. All I know is that this has been a great season.

    Now all we need to get rid of is the humming hoards of mosquitoes after our unusually heavy rain laden massive storms! Bring on the large dragonflies!

  • burekcrew86burekcrew86 Posts: 191 ✭✭✭

    I live in Pennsylvania also. Ticks are bad in this state. What has helped us, but we can’t take credit for, is we have a family of opossums that live in our yard and our neighbors yard. They are great at clearing out the ticks. I do have a spray I make and use which is great. I use it when I kayak, hike, and work in the garden and it’s awesome. The recipe is from Dr. Z. and Mama Z. You can find it online or on their Pinterest boards.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,028 admin

    @burekcrew86 Would you mind sharing the recipe? You've already given credit. ;)

  • burekcrew86burekcrew86 Posts: 191 ✭✭✭
    edited September 25

    @LaurieLovesLearning Absolutely! From Dr. Z. And Mama Z. Natural Bug Spray

    1/2 c. witch hazel

    5-6 drops lavender essential oil

    5-6 drops lemongrass essential oil

    5-6 drops citronella essential oil

    We use this when we kayak too. I’ve never had a problem with ticks when working in the yard and garden or when hiking. This works for me.

    EDIT: to add the proper amount of witch hazel

  • Melissa SwartzMelissa Swartz Posts: 225 ✭✭✭

    @greyfurball  Do you know if DE also works to get rid of chiggers?

  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 590 ✭✭✭✭

    @Melissa Swartz

    yes it does over time. Keep it spread low to the ground and re-apply every time there is rain or a lot of morning dew. Keep this up once a week for the first month (if you have a big area to cover broadcast 5 lbs to a 1000 ft area.)

    After the first month, just dust once per month for the next several months or until you notice the problem has been taken care of.

    For prevention every Spring I dust once in the late Spring and one or two times in the Summer and I don't have the problem at all all year anymore.

    If you have A LOT of ground to cover, I also just spread the DE starting from the house and going out about 25 feet in all areas where this is a door. Also I did anywhere it is a high traffic area. This way I did not have to lose a fortune just to dust my property. It takes a little longer for control this way but it does eventually get rid of the problem as long as you adhere to the maintenance schedule.

  • VickiPVickiP Posts: 513 ✭✭✭✭

    There is a lot of good information in this thread, thanks!

  • Melissa SwartzMelissa Swartz Posts: 225 ✭✭✭

    @greyfurball Thanks for the instructions. Very helpful!

  • TNTX girlTNTX girl Posts: 33 ✭✭✭

    Glad I read this thread. Texas did not have half the ticks I have here in TN now. (Tho there were some.) thank you for all the tips!

  • jodienancarrowjodienancarrow Mid North Coast AustraliaPosts: 652 admin
    edited September 25

    @burekcrew86 with your recipe above, is that 1/2 cup of witch hazel ? Is it only for ticks or for other biteys as well. Thanks

  • Melissa SwartzMelissa Swartz Posts: 225 ✭✭✭

    @greyfurball Do you (or anyone else) know if garlic repels chiggers? My husband found a garlic product that's supposed to repel mosquitoes. In the reviews, one person said it also worked on chiggers, and another said it made the chiggers worse.

  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 590 ✭✭✭✭

    @Melissa Swartz as far as I can tell, yes chiggers hate strong-smelling products so garlic and RAW apple cider vinegar can be used as repellents.

    But for best results with garlic, eat one raw garlic clove everyday and soon your body will develop a resistant to chigger bites. After all when they chew on you they will get a dose of the allicin in garlic.

  • burekcrew86burekcrew86 Posts: 191 ✭✭✭

    @jodienancarrow - Sorry. Yes, that is a 1/2 cup witch hazel.

  • kbmbillups1kbmbillups1 Posts: 411 ✭✭✭✭

    I see that I posted this in March but I just have to say it again. The best thing I've done is buy socks from BugBeWear that were treated to keep ticks from attaching to them. The people who owned it have since sold it to another company https://www.insectshield.com/ I haven't bought anything from them yet. I really liked the cute socks the old company sold. The new one has bland socks or you can send your clothes in to be treated.

    Before buying the socks every time I went out in our backyard I'd find a tick crawling on me. We have a lot of trees in our backyard which was one of the reasons we liked the house. Who knew 20 years later there'd be so many ticks.

    I even wear my tick socks, as I call them, when I go out to pick blueberries even though I'm nowhere near the woods. I just don't want to take any chances.

  • VickiPVickiP Posts: 513 ✭✭✭✭

    Yeah, I treat my own outside clothes including socks. I started doing that after a particularly bad tick year. Around here tick spray just isn't enough.

  • probinson50probinson50 Posts: 49 ✭✭✭

    We just moved onto 17 acres wooded property with a cabin and have been plagued with ticks even when wearing a repellent - people and animals. We are hoping it is a temporary problem, but are also looking into some type of outdoor treatment.

  • VickiPVickiP Posts: 513 ✭✭✭✭

    I have tried sulpher pellets/dust it repels them. It does stink for awhile and needs to be topped off after a hard rain. The dogs hate it. I have read that garlic spray will work, you can get a spray commercially where they have taken out some of the smell although the companies that sell it acknowledge your yard will smell like pizza for awhile after spraying. I think it is a bit pricey but if you had a smaller, specific area to treat it would be more cost effective. I have not tried it but it is used by some municipalities in their parks and such. Both the sulpher and the garlic sprays also repel mosquitoes and other insects. DE is also effective to kill ticks, don't get it on flowers as it can affect honeybees.

  • CorneliusCornelius Posts: 174 ✭✭✭

    @probinson50 I have heard that eating garlic helps repel them (they are vampires after all lol). I am currently trying to make honey garlic and if it works it is worth the effort. Good luck!

  • bcabrobinbcabrobin Posts: 217 ✭✭✭

    We eat tons of garlic and I'm a tick magnet. I can get a tick in the middle of winter with snow on the ground. We have free range chickens/ducks. Put spray on, nothing seems to work

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