“Ticks are everywhere! What can we do?”
I hear this on a daily basis in the office, as everyone seems to be pulling them from dogs, cats, kids and themselves. After a winter that was relatively mild here in the Northeast, the tick population is exploding and they are coming at us from every angle.
Here are some relatively easy to implement solutions to help keep you and your yard as tick-free as possible.
1. Keep your grass mowed. Ticks love long blades of grass, that bring them across a lawn quickly and comfortably! Trim weeds around the edges and keep the area clean. Messy piles of leaves or debris attract rodents, who in turn bring ticks with them.
2. Create a barrier between you, the place you spend time outdoor, and the rest of the area. Make a “tick-wall” by spreading food-grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE) along the perimeter of your safe zone. DE is composed of crushed, fossilized phyto-plankton. It dries out and kills insects that crawl across it and ticks do not survive the trip! (Food Grade DE is available on Amazon or in stores that carry gardening supplies). It is totally safe for humans and all other animals.
3. Make a home-made spray for the yard. Macerate some crushed garlic bulbs in a large bucket of water. Add a mixture of some or all of the following essential oils: cedarwood, lemongrass, thyme, clove, rosemary and peppermint. Add to a sprayer and spray on shrubs, pathways, decks, etc…and repeat as necessary. Most bugs do not like cedarwood oil in particular, so bonus is everyone might stay away!
4. Ticks love shade and moisture. High humidity is their idea of heaven… Try and keep the area as sunny and dry as possible.
5. And last but not least, you can hire tick killers… 🙂 Make your yard inviting for an owl to take up residence, by adding an owl box for them to nest. They will feast on the rodents who bring in the ticks. Get some chickens and free-range them, they love to eat ticks. OK, maybe this is not for everyone… Meet your new best friends: opossums can eat a few thousand ticks every week. So do not chase them if you see them!
On yourself, your family and dogs:
- Prevention is better than cure… try to avoid the obvious places where ticks love to live. If you are going into the woods, wear light colored clothing so you can spot ticks if they are on you, tuck pant legs into your socks and throw your clothes into the washing machine as soon as you get back home. Dry them at high temperature for at least 10 minutes. Take a shower and inspect your skin including your hair.
2. Spray yourself before going out with a mix of essential oils. You may omit the garlic if you want to have a nice time with other humans… 🙂 but ingesting garlic every day is a good idea nonetheless. Take a glass or metal spray bottle, mix organic witch hazel or distilled water with some or all of the following: cedarwood, lavender, lemongrass, thyme, rosemary or peppermint essential oil. Spray clothing and repeat often as the oils will evaporate. Do not spray near eyes.
3. A great repellent for dogs is rose geranium essential oil. Non toxic, efficient and great smelling too. Apply one drop between the shoulder blades and one drop at the base of the tail for larger dogs. For smaller ones, mix essential oil with fractionated coconut oil to dilute and apply, or make a mix with organic witch hazel and spray on the coat. Do not apply essential oils to cats. Need a dog spray? We have them for sale in the office, come by and visit us!
Still got a bite?
There are holistic remedies that you can take at the first sign of a bite. We suggest starting as soon as you find a tick or see the tell-tale bulls-eye rash, although most people never actually get this as a symptom.
Core Berberine, Lymph Tone 1 and Bacteria Tox can be taken, mixed in water, by adults and children, even pets. We do see cases of Lyme in the office and can help with holistic solutions as well, even after a diagnosis has been given and antibiotics taken.
We are here to help you figure this out, just give us a call. We do stock the remedies and most of the essential oils in the office. Don’t let the ticks scare you from the great outdoors. Some precautions will go a long way to ensure that you can enjoy this time of year mostly tick-free and with some peace of mind.