Summer, the season of hiking and camping, is loved and anticipated by everyone in the US. Unfortunately, fun-filled days and adventurous outings bring ticks. Black-legged ticks, or deer ticks, are causing great concern in Texas because they can cause Lyme disease. Tick bites carry diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, human anaplasmosis, tularemia and rickettsiosis. Common symptoms include a red rash, a full body rash, or a fever. Seek medical advice immediately after a tick bite, even if you have no symptoms.
Prevention is the best option to avoid infection from tick bites. Tick repellents can protect those who plan outdoor activities. Many pesticides and tick repellants, including natural and synthetic ones, can be purchased based on natural ingredients.
Here are some ways to repel ticks in the first place:
- Many landscape plants have anti-tick qualities; these insects cannot tolerate the smell, texture and oils of plants. Herbs such as garlic, sage, mint, lavender, blackberry, rosemary and marigold effectively repel ticks. These plants can be used for landscaping borders around walkways, pet tracks, patios and even window sills to keep ticks away.
- Deer and mice are tick-carrying animals. Be sure to take measures to discourage their visits to your homes. Plant those shrubs that deer don’t like to eat, use suitable and strong fences to keep them out, and clean out the trash daily to keep mice away from invading your homes. Additionally, be sure to clean the bird feeders. Make good traps and other barriers to keep these carriers out of your yard.
- Ticks thrive in moist, shady areas, so avoid overcrowded plants and tall grasses that are ideal for these insects. Pruning grasses and other plants will keep ticks out of your yard. Ticks hate living in sunny, manicured lawns. Cedar chips for mulch can discourage ticks because cedar oils are natural tick repellants; use them in your garden.
- You can choose some birds that happily feed on ticks. Wild birds, especially jays, robins and bluebirds, are happy to munch on these insects. Chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and guinea fowl eat ticks and help keep your yard tick-free. Another way to ward off these unwanted invaders is to spray a pesticide containing bifenthrin, a strong tick chemical, around the perimeter of your yard. You can choose a natural spray like Wondercide, a plant-based repellent that poses no risk to pets, plants or small children. It is made from essential oils of cedar.
- Wearing loose clothing that covers your skin while walking or outside can help keep ticks from attaching to your clothing. Light colored clothes can easily spot ticks if you have them on your clothes and you can remove them quickly. Check your entire body for ticks after any outdoor activity. Look under your arms, in and around your ears, behind your knees, in your hair and body hair. Keep your dogs clean too.
- Natural oils from rosemary, cedarwood, lemon, peppermint and others are toxic to ticks. These homemade repellent recipes should be included in the spray to repel ticks.
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