About a month ago, I moved back home to New York from sunny California. My first thoughts were, “I get to take my dog camping now!”. Yes – but I didn’t realize the tick problems we have on Long Island and Upstate New York. After just a few hours of hiking, there were a handful of ticks on my pants! Ticks, especially Lyme disease is my worst nightmare and I wasn’t too keen on covering myself with chemical repellents… there had to be a natural way.
- Because it’s safer than covering yourself with dozens of chemicals from the repellents
- Because it’s cheaper and easy to do
- Because we’ll share with you a recipe for your own natural repellent
Natural Tick Prevention
Cover Up – Wearing long sleeve clothing prevents ticks from getting to your skin. Tucking your pants into your socks may look dweeby but it prevents these monsters from crawling and lodging themselves into your leg. Wearing long sleeve shirts will prevent them from attacking your arms. Tucking your shirt into your pants will prevent them from getting to you as well. Ticks are much easier to remove from clothing than after they’ve dug themselves into you. They have a tendency to climb upwards so you’ll find them occasionally stuck under the flaps of your pant pockets.
I bet you’re thinking, “If they climb up.. won’t they eventually get to my face??”. You’ll have to catch them before they reach you by…
Wearing Light Colored Clothing – Makes it easy to spot ticks that have found their way onto your clothes. Ticks are dark and about the size of a poppy seed. Light colored shirts and pants will make it easier to spot ticks before they make it to your skin. Not to mention, covering up in the summer can be sweltering. Light clothing will not absorb heat as much as dark clothes, keeping you cool and protected. You can also stay cool with…
Quick Dry Clothing – Will keep you cooler and dry in the summer heat. Ticks need a high level of moisture and are very vulnerable to drying out. Keeping yourself dry can help prevent ticks from surviving on your clothing and having a chance to get to you.
Shower – After going on a hike, always shower and inspect yourself for any ticks that may have hitchhiked onto you. If you catch a tick within 24 hours, it greatly reduces your chance of getting Lyme disease. So do your tick inspection as soon as possible! Make sure to check you dog as well, they can also contract Lyme disease.
Dryer on High Heat – I mentioned before that ticks need moisture for survival. They’re often difficult to remove from clothing with just a wash. But if you put your clothes in the dryer on high heat for about 5 minutes, that should take care of any little monsters.
Natural Tick Repellent Recipe
I found this simple recipe online. It’s an easy process, cheap and you should have most of the ingredients lying around in your kitchen.
Ingredients for 1 dose (2 people)
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 2 cups of water
- 1.5 lemons
- 2 tablespoons of Neem leaves. You can buy them here.
- Pot/pan something to boil water in
- Spray Bottle
- Measuring spoon and cup
- Heat up 2 cups of water.
- Dice up your garlic and lemon.
- When the water is at a boil, throw in the diced lemon, garlic and 2 tablespoons of Neem leaves.
- Cover the pan or pot and let it simmer for about 15 minutes on low heat.
- Let it cool.
- Use a strainer and funnel to pour the solution into a spray bottle.
If you need more information, check out the original post of this recipe here.
In the unfortunate event that you’ve been bitten, it’s best to use a fine tipped tweezer to removal the tick. Never use your bare hands. If you don’t have a tweezer, use gloves or cover your hand with tissue before removing it.
- Grab the tick as close to the head as possible. It’s mouth will be in your skin and the body will be protruding. But never grab it around the swollen belly. You could end up squeezing it and pushing infected tick fluid into your own body!
- Pull the tick straight out. Don’t twist it as you might only pull the body off, leaving the head still stuck in your skin.
- Place the tick in a ziplock bag or jar. In case you need to identify it later if you’re feeling any ailments.
- If you can’t remove the tick, call your doctor!
After you remove the tick, wash the area with warm water and soap. Put a bit of antibacterial ointment onto the bite such as polymyxin B sulfate (for example, Polysporin) or bacitracin. Learn more about tick removal.