Summer is a popular time for families and individuals to start making their way into the great outdoors. When traversing undeveloped land, ticks can seem like an unavoidable occurrence. Through a process called “questing” ticks will rest on the edge of a grass blade and reach for a host to grab onto. It is estimated that nearly 300,000 people in the United States catch Lyme disease from tick bites, making prevention more important than ever.
When choosing an insecticide to repel ticks it is important to note that DEET doesn’t kill ticks and works poorly as a repellent. The most effective insecticide to repel and kill ticks, also used in military applications, is Permethrin. Ideally, clothes, socks and shoes treated with this insecticide are an effective way of preventing and killing any ticks that may attempt contact.
Nymph ticks lose moisture constantly due to leaky outer covers. Without an environment supporting at least 80% humidity the tick nymphs will die. Avoid shady, humid environments, as well as leaf piles and other naturally humid organic materials. Staying within the sun can almost certainly help avoid these conditions.
If a tick happens to make its way onto an individual, wearing light colored clothing will make it easier to identify the pest before it latches on. Nymph ticks, who are more prone to carry Lyme disease, appear the size of a small dark colored seed. Since ticks are susceptible to losing moisture, placing clothes in a dryer on high heat can kill any that may be left.
Once a hiking or camping trip is finished, individuals should immediately take off clothes to inspect for ticks. After biting a tick can take several hours to transmit Lyme disease, so showering immediately can help remove any non-attached ticks that may have been missed. If bitten by a tick and flulike symptoms appear it is important to visit a doctor.