DEET and other repellents for ticks

Ha! Yes. to be honest I stopped allowing the neighbor chickens in the last year because I had some areas I planted and they would have destroyed it. They did a lot of eating for the years prior though. I don’t often get to see opossums but My general land stewardship hopefully makes this place hospitable to everyone. I love my snake friends (4 species so far) and they patrol in season for the little things that carry the ticks. Raptors love it here too.


I forgot to mention this since I had lost them and need to get a new pair, but short gaiters are really handy. While tucking pants into socks helps, seed ticks can still work their way through the socks. But also it can be annoying getting detritus stuck in my boots when I tuck pants into socks, so these have the double benefit of keeping other non-tick things from getting caught in there. You can treat them with permethrin for extra security.

I use these ones from REI though I have friends who use these ones which are specifically for ticks.


I’ve tried this. It’s sufficient for hiking around Florida where you run into more mosquitos than ticks. It’s great at repelling mosquitoes, but not ticks in my experience, especially compared to permethrin or deet.

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Good question, octobertraveler.

I admit that I have taken to using chemicals.

Picaridin seems to be comparable to DEET in its effectiveness against ticks and mosquitoes. Although both repellents help enormously, I have occasionally found a tick walking on my skin after spraying with DEET or rubbing in Picaridin. Picaridin is modeled on a plant-based compound and is generally thought to be safer than DEET, but it hasn’t been around as long.


JeremyHussell Your tick observation was worth looking at, but kueda has a truly amazing photo I remember from last year.

This year has NOT been as bad for dermacentor ticks in the SF Bay Area, but it is the black-legged ticks that carry disease here, and I have seen more of those than I did last year.

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I feel very lucky not to have to worry much about ticks where I live. They are present but rare, so far. Then again, I live in North Bay, Ontario and we just had 4 1/2 months of snow on the ground. Black flies, mosquitos and deer flies are rather common here though – and I suspect we will have a bad year for them with the amount of water we are getting this spring.

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Rubber mud or rain boots are a very effective alternative

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Luckily I haven’t had to deal with ticks at home yet. No deer around here and almost no rabbits. I do have at least a few regular opossums. I’ve heard they’re great for ticks because they groom themselves a lot and then eat the ticks before they reproduce.

Mosquitoes are my main nemesis. They really really like me and my body reacts pretty strongly to their bites. A single bite will itch intensely for well over a week even with very regular applications of calamine, hydro-cortisone, and antihistamine creams throughout the day everyday. Relief usually only comes once I’ve scratched to the point of bleeding, quite often doing it in my sleep.

I’m not a big fan of having to cover myself in noxious repellents and then having to change my clothes and take a shower when I come inside. One particularly bad skeeter day when I had to work outside I gave in and sprayed my clothes and all exposed skin with DEET. I thought it was working until I came inside and felt something most unpleasant. The little buggers had avoided the DEET by flying up my shorts and biting my bum through my underwear! I had nickel sized welts that were insanely itchy and got very irritated every time I sat down.

I’ve even tried one of those full body black mesh bug suits. That felt a bit stifling with the summer heat and humidity. Plus the mosquitoes would still bite through it on any area that got pulled tight against my skin when I moved around.

I looked at those Thermacell things for a while that are supposed to be a good mosquito repellent, but didn’t like all the warnings about how it’s toxic to other animals of all kinds. It vaporizes insecticides into the air around you! That can’t be good for anyone.

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So this is kind of amusing, kind of actually something to think about. A tick I’d missed started to crawl into my ear while I was driving down the highway and had me inadvertently swerving while I frantically tried to keep it out of my ear. I could see that having ended in an accident. I’m glad I was on a back road with no traffic.

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Sounds like it could’ve become one of those insurance company commercials where they relate the odd tale and assure everyone they covered it.:wink: Glad you were OK.

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These days I carry “purse DEET” with me everywhere. At least 50% of my hiking takes place over lunch at work (I’m fortunate to work on a wooded campus), or on work trips, so while I have some clothing with permethrin, its not practical to prep all of my work clothes (buisness casual) with insecticide. (I’ve also ended up with more than a few bramble snares in buisness slacks… oops). Ticks are a big problem on campus- so much so that there is a standard tick warning during the “welcome to campus” talk at the start of each intern season. I usually spray my ankles, waist, arms and back of my neck. I have a permethrin treated hat, but I don’t use it as often as I should :(


I just bought more of this off amazon for ticks and mosquitos…
It’s says it’s also for black flies, fleas, and more. I’ve had great luck with it, but, haven’t been in any really bad areas with it. It helps with the itch after mosquito bites, too. For me it’s does about as well as cortisone cream, still itches just a bit.
For the dog I use…
She does NOT like the plain cedar one. She tries to lick it off so I end up spraying it around her neck and above her tail where she can’t get to it (not that it’s bad for her). The only ticks on her this year where when I didn’t spray her for a few days in a row.

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