Advertisement

Archive for Thursday, September 5, 2013

Checkout

Garden Calendar: Protect yourself from ticks

September 5, 2013

Advertisement

As much as I try to protect myself while working in the garden, a few pesky ticks always manage to find me over the course of the season. Besides their creepy-crawliness and the itching that comes from their bites, ticks are vectors of several pathogens. Of the options available for protection, Douglas County resident Luann Dixon says she has found only one that works for her: permethrin.

Permethrin-based repellents must be applied to clothing or gear rather than skin, and according to the EPA website it is the only pesticide registered to pre-treat fabrics. Permethrin is made of synthesized compounds that mimic the naturally occurring ones found in chrysanthemums.

“I learned about it earlier this year. I was going out in April and May to work in my garden and finding ticks,” Dixon says. Her brother told her about the repellent, and after a little searching, Dixon found the permethrin-containing product Repel at a local outdoor supply store.

This is a March 2002 file photo of a deer tick under a microscope in the entomology lab at the University of Rhode Island in South Kingstown, R.I. Besides their creepy-crawliness and the itching that comes from their bites, ticks are vectors of several pathogens. Of the options available for protection, Douglas County resident Luann Dixon says she has found only one that works for her: permethrin.

This is a March 2002 file photo of a deer tick under a microscope in the entomology lab at the University of Rhode Island in South Kingstown, R.I. Besides their creepy-crawliness and the itching that comes from their bites, ticks are vectors of several pathogens. Of the options available for protection, Douglas County resident Luann Dixon says she has found only one that works for her: permethrin.

Dixon says she followed the label instructions to treat a pair of jeans, a shirt and socks.

“I haven’t had any problems with ticks when I’m wearing the treated clothing,” she says. “Some nights, I’ll take the dogs for a walk, and if I don’t have those clothes on, I get bit.”

Permethrin is reported to be effective for mosquito protection as well. According to the EPA, it is the most widely used mosquito adulticide in the U.S., which is attributed to “its low cost, high efficacy and low incidence of pest resistance.”

After shopping around a little more, Dixon found a pump spray product called Sawyer that contains the same amount of permethrin (0.5 percent) as the Repel product. She prefers the pump sprayer of the Sawyer product over the aerosol. Permethrin may be sold under a number of other brand names as well, so look at the active ingredient on the label when making a selection.

Kansas State University recommends avoiding tall grass, weeds and brushy areas where ticks like to hang out in addition to using a repellent. Wear light-colored clothing so that ticks can be easily seen if they do get on you, and inspect skin after being in potentially tick-infested areas.

If you do find a tick attached to your skin, use forceps or tweezers to remove it. Grip the tick as close to your skin as possible and pull straight back with slow, steady pressure. Also, despite all the stories about matches, Vaseline, nail polish and other home remedies, pulling it with tweezers is still reported to be most effective at getting the whole tick out.

Ticks are less likely to transmit pathogens when removed promptly. If you have a tick attached to you and develop flu-like symptoms within 10 to 14 days after tick removal, see a physician. I try to make a note of tick bites in my calendar so I can give the doctor more accurate information if the need arises.

Although permethrin is reported to provide good protection from ticks and mosquitoes, it is known to be toxic to a number of aquatic organisms and honeybees. Using the product according to label instructions will minimize risks, but people should always use personal judgment when deciding how to protect themselves.

DEET-based repellents are also reported to be effective against ticks.

Dixon reminded me that even with protection from ticks and mosquitoes, the poison ivy is still out there. I’m starting to feel itchy.

— Jennifer Smith is the Horticulture Extension Agent for K-State Research and Extension in Douglas County. Contact her or an Extension Master Gardener with your gardening questions at 843-7058 or mastergardener@douglas-county.com.

Comments

seriouscat 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I like the advice to mark the date of the tick bite on the calendar...very good. Doesn't hurt to keep the actual tick in a jar or plastic bag as well. There are labs you can send it to if you don't want to or can't depend on our local health care people to respond promptly and efficiently.

Rule #1 ...inspect thoroughly and have someone else check where you can't see every time you have spent time out in tick territory!

Rule #2 Get them off quickly, note the bite date, and follow up immediately if there is even the slightest indication you contracted Lyme or any other bacterial pathogen from the tick.

Lab: http://ag.umass.edu/services/tick-borne-disease-diagnostics

0

Tandava 7 months, 2 weeks ago

My girlfriend got Lyme Disease this year, which is transmitted by ticks. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection. Even though there are not many cases of Lyme Disease in Kansas. don't think it can't happen to you. Lyme disease is very serious. Many doctors in Kansas don't even know what it is. Worse, even if they do know, they are skeptical that you might have it, and therefore refuse to test you for it. Idiots. If not treated promptly with antibiotics, the infection is very difficult to get rid of, and symptoms may persist for years. Learn about Lyme Disease, folks. Read the Wikipedia article about it, and check out the videos on YouTube. It is not worth taking a chance with ticks.

2

Commenting has been disabled for this item.