Protect Against Ticks with a Natural DIY Repellent

Staff Writer
Baystateparent Magazine
By Leslie Reichert

It’s tick season here in New England, and I’ve heard it’s going to be one of the worse ever. It helps to know as much as you can if you are going to learn how to fight off those nasty little creatures.

Did you know?

* Ticks feed on mice while they are nymphs (baby ticks). Removing mice from your home will get rid of ticks, too. Make sure you are working hard to keep the mice out of areas like your garage, shed, or basement since they are carrying these baby ticks around on them.

* Ticks are arachnids. They have eight legs like a spider, but come in very different sizes. Make sure you can identify a tick should you find one on your clothing or your body.

* Ticks carry more than just Lyme Disease. They are also known for being carriers of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Colorado Tick Fever. They are carriers of numerous different diseases and bacteria, but surprisingly not every tick carries a disease. It’s now being discovered that you have a 50-50 chance of being bit by a tick with Lyme Disease.

* Nymphs usually can’t get any higher than your ankles. If you plan to be out in the woods or thick grass, wear white socks tucked into your pants. The light color will make them easier to spot and having your pants tucked into your socks will keep them on the outside of your clothing. Ticks are very sneaky and can crawl all over you once they get onto your clothing.

* Ticks don’t bite or latch onto you immediately. They look for thinner skin that they can penetrate, such as behind your ears or on your scalp. Knowing this gives you time to scan your clothing and body if you’ve been outside in a wooded area.

* If you’ve been outside, take a shower right away once you’re back inside. Make sure you check and scrub everywhere! As I stated above, they like to crawl and look for thin skin to penetrate, so keep an eye out for them after coming inside.

* Ticks like humid areas, so if you keep your lawn manicured they will likely move to a dark, woodsy area.  A great tip is edging your yard with a pine bark mulch or gravel to create a buffer between the lawn and wooded areas.

* If you have small dogs or cats that go outside, don’t let them sleep in your bed. Ticks can use the animal to transport them to your bed and use you as their host

* If you find a tick attached to you, the best way to remove it is the old-fashioned way of using tweezers to pull it out. Use tweezers and hold on to the body as close to the head as you can. Pull it out in the opposite direction that it went into your skin. Make very sure you don’t leave the head attached to your skin. Keep the body of the tick in a plastic sandwich bag with the date of removal and take it to your doctor. They can send the tick off to test it to see if it’s contaminated. Your doctor may choose to start you on a round of antibiotics, just to be safe.

DIY Tick Repellent

(from my book, The Joy of Green Cleaning)

6 drops lavender oil

6 drops cedar oil

1 cup witch hazel

Mix all ingredients and place in a spray bottle. Spray generously on clothing, as well as on pet fur. Avoid your face and eyes.

Massachusetts mom Leslie Reichert is known as the Green Cleaning Coach and is aiming to change the world — “one spray bottle at a time.” A national lecturer and author of The Joy Of Green Cleaning, you can find her at, on Facebook (GreenCleaningCoach), Twitter (@GreenCleanCoach), and Pinterest (cleaningcoach).