Tick Prevention 2019
It’s that time.
Similar to Lyme/MSIDS treatment, tick prevention is a multi-pronged effort and includes protecting yourself, your yard, and your pets.
How to protect yourself
Dress for success: Research has shown permethrin treated clothing causes ticks to drop off or renders them unable to bite: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/05/27/study-conforms-permethrin-causes-ticks-to-drop-off-clothing/.
- wear light colored clothing
- tuck pants into socks
- wear a long-sleeved shirt and tuck into pants
- wear a hat
- wear shoes & socks
- spray or soak all of it with permethrin. Permethrin is not recommended for the skin. You can also purchase pre-treated clothing. Wisconsin Lyme Network (WLN) is selling socks. Proceeds go toward training WI doctors: https://wisconsinlymenetwork.z2systems.com/np/clients/wisconsinlymenetwork/giftstore.jsp
- Spray exposed skin with DEET or picaridin. Picaridin is less toxic and approved for kids. For instance the top 3 scores for repelling deer ticks was: pump spray Sawyer Picaridin 20% which lasted 8.5 hours, aerosol Ben’s 30% Deet Tick and Insect Wilderness which also lasted 8.5 hours, and pump spray Repel Lemon Eucalyptus which lasted 7 hours. Please know that “natural” products using things like essential oils have NOT been proven to repel ticks. Go here to learn more: https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/prev/natural-repellents.html
- stay in the middle of trails
- when returning indoors, dry clothing on high heat for at least 10 min. Washing clothes will not kill ticks. High heat will.
- take a shower and do a tick check. Have someone else look on your back and back of head.
- If an embedded tick is found, remove it promptly by using a pointy tick removal tweezer. Get as close to the mouthpart as possible and pull steadily straight up without squeezing or twisting. Do not touch the tick with bare hands. Put in ziplock freezer bag and put in freezer you plan on having it tested. Remember; however, testing isn’t 100% accurate and you will not want to wait for results if you’ve been bitten. Your doctor should treat you prophylactially. It’s not worth the risk of infection. http://
- be vigilant and educate others
- For a video put out by Wisconsin DHS: http://
- Great video on how to educate kids on how to be tick smart: http://
How to protect your yard
SOURCE: TickEncounter Resource Center. For an interactive map: https://tickencounter.org/faq/tick_habitat
- Do not invite wildlife: There are numerous things you can do to discourage wildlife from your yard. Don’t put food outside, including bird feeders. Birds are probably the #1 transporters of ticks. Plant undesirable plants. Install fencing. Apply deer repellents. Clean up brush and leaves, and move woodpiles away from daily activity.
- Spray your yard or use granules: Target areas where ticks live as well as perennial beds and along trails and paths in wooded areas. Normally, treatment is not needed in open and sunny lawns with short grass (although there are exceptions!). http://
- Eliminate Tick Habitat: ticks love wooded, shady areas that are humid. Rake leaves, trim shrubs and trees, and treat border areas, stone walls, sheds, and wood piles. Creating borders of wood chips or stone will remind you of tick-risky areas and danger zones. They particularly like Japanese Barberry, honeysuckle, and buckthorn: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/01/20/manage-barberry-lower-ticks/. From experience I’ve learned not to use natural stone for landscape walls. Chipmunks burrow into the crevices bringing loads of ticks with them. I will only use interlocking stone now.
Remove Japanese Barberry, honeysuckle, and buckthorns
- Target mice & rodents: Since ticks become infected by feeding on reservoir animals such as mice, chipmunks, squirrels, and deer, targeting these animals will help reduce the tick population. Ticktubes are tubes filled with permethrin treated cotton balls you place in rodent accessible areas so they will take the cotton back to their nests and they will rub their bodies against the treated cotton. Ticks feeding on the mice are then killed by the insecticide. Studies have shown risk to be reduced by 97% when using tick tubes. More info on how many you need for the size of your yard, etc.:http://www.ticktubes.com/facts.html
- Consider controlled burns: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/04/03/fire-good-news-for-tick-reduction/
How to Protect your pets
- Contain your pets: The easiest way to protect your pets is to keep them away from ticks, by create a safe zone. This can be done by using fencing (solid or invisible) and or putting them on a chain where they can only go in certain areas.
- Groom pets: Keep hair short to be able to identify ticks quickly. Brush hair and remove any ticks before bringing pets into the house.
- Keep pets off all furniture and never let them into your bed.
- Apply Tick control products on pets. For an excellent example of products: https://tickencounter.org/prevention/tick_control#top. There is a Lyme vaccine for dogs; however, it can cause Lyme disease symptoms just as the failed Lymerix vaccine did on humans. Cats also need tick protection. Make sure to discuss options with you veterinarian as they are educated with current information. Read all labels from products carefully.
- Some tick facts: http://
- More tick facts: http://