The Dreaded Deer Tick [Green with Betsy]

Due to the mild winter and the fact that ticks remained active, experts predict that this could be a bad year for ticks. Additionally, because it was a bad year for acorns, which meant declining mice populations for ticks to feed on, the deer tick will be looking for other sources of food.  

Wood ticks are larger than deer ticks, and can be easily spotted and removed.  A mature deer tick however, measures about half the size of a wood tick and is harder to see.  They often carry Lyme disease and should be removed right away.  Infections peak during May, June and July. 

Deer ticks are found in wooded areas and prefer to feed upon deer. The ticks wait on leaves and grass blades and attach themselves to any passing host they find. Humans often become accidental hosts of deer ticks.

What you can do to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease?Adult Deer Tick

  • Avoid tall grasses
  • Avoid deer paths
  • Wear light colored clothing to spot them more easily
  • Wear long sleeved shirts and pants tucked into your socks
  • Use insect repellant
  • Do tick checks with a magnifying glass
  • Shower after being in an infected area
  • Put your clothes in a hot dryer for 35 minutes
  • Take garlic supplements to repel insects
  • Treat pets to repel ticks and minimize their risk
  • Keep grass mowed regularly and along boundary lines of your yard
  • Get some guinea hens – they eat ticks, beetles and other garden insect pests

In addition you can treat your yard proactively in spring and early summer with organic tick control products such as pyrethrum, soap, Neem, garlic, and red pepper wax.  

For those readers who want to avoid chemical insect repellants for their pets, you can try a garlic powder and yeast supplement for pets.  Arbico Organics carries a good tasting one that is also good for the pet’s coat. The supplement probably works better for fleas than ticks. Never give a dog or cat raw onion or garlic however – they are toxic to animals.   One of my readers finds Diatomaceous earth quite effective as a tick repellant for her dogs.

Information compiled from docgurly.com, Orkin.com, and “Lyme Disease and associated diseases: The Basics”, by Douglas W. Fearn

For more green tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

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