Ticks are nasty little creatures that burrow their legs into our flesh and feast on our blood. They can live on our skin unbeknownst to us for days and will often transmit diseases and infections – including the highly destructive Lyme’s disease.
As though all that wasn’t bad enough, ticks are actually a form of arachnid. So for those of you who get squeamish of house spiders, it means you can essentially have a spider living on your skin for days without realizing it. And when they lays eggs, they’ll lay 4,000 to 6,500 eggs at a time… Yep, pretty gross.
Disgusting though they are, ticks actually play a very important role in the ecosystem by preventing overgrazing. Nevertheless, you really don’t want one attaching onto your skin. Oh and you also don’t want them attaching onto your dog – which is an even more common problem.
How to Prevent Ticks Naturally
Ticks find their hosts by detecting animal breath, odors, scent, moisture and vibrations. As they can’t jump or fly, they will then move themselves into position on a leaf or blade of grass, only to get scraped off so that they can attach themselves onto the skin.
So how can you prevent ticks from attaching?
The best advice is to avoid running through long grass or bushes with bare skin. If you’re out in shorts and sandals, try to avoid frolicking through foliage. And if you insist of frolicking, then don’t wear shorts! It’s that simple.
Another option is to buy store products to repel ticks. These can be effective, but they often contain large amounts of potential harmful chemicals and cost the Earth.
Instead then, you can try creating your own solution. Simply take one cup of water and add two cups of distilled white vinegar. Like many other bugs, ticks really don’t like the smell of vinegar so this can be very effective at putting them off of ‘questing’.
Additionally, you should also add some vegetable oil or almond oil (about two teaspoons). This will help to give your concoction a better consistency for rubbing into the skin, while additionally adding another natural repellent – sulfur – to the mix.
If you want to deter fleas as well (good for dogs), then add a pinch of lemon juice as well.
This mixture is perfect for dogs but if you’re a human reading this, then you might be put off of the idea of smelling like vinegar. A solution then is to use eucalyptus oil or peppermint instead (about 20 drips). You can then spray this onto your clothes and bare skin to help deter those ticks.
Do keep in mind that no repellent is going to be 100% effective. While you might be able to put ticks off of active questing, this won’t prevent accidental transfers if you’re running through long grass. The best defense therefore remains to cover up and avoid hotspots that are likely to contain ticks. Always check yourself over when you get home and remove ticks quickly before disinfecting the area.