Whether you have pets or not, live in the city, suburbs, or rural, if you step outside your door-or even if you don’t but someone else comes in, you may be exposed to these little varmits. Being of an existential mindset, I believe that God has a purpose for everything in creation, but I’m going to have to have a chat with somebody about a few things and one of the subjects will be ticks. I just despise them. For one thing, they are in the spider family (count the legs-there are eight of them which makes them a part of the Arachnids) and they want to drink my blood. That’s creepy.
The other thing is-the little things spread some really nasty diseases that I really don’t want for me, my loved ones, or my pets to get. Most of the time, you won’t even KNOW you’ve had a tick bite until you’re sick or a characteristic rash develops. Sneaky little bastards. But they are just being what they are. So with that in mind, here is some information to help you-hopefully-better protect yourself and those you love.
What Are You Looking For?
Size as well as which one can help when you tell the doctor you were bitten by a tick. Here are some photos to help you givTe the doc an idea of what you are talking about.
The really dangerous ones are the ones on the LEFT-and more than likely, you’ll scratch that itch and the tick will fall off without you even knowing it was there. The only indication you’ll have that you had a tick bite will be that intense itch that is much more than any mosquito bite. My personal thing is-if something really itches, check it out closely. It’s probably a tick.
The other thing is-different ticks are more or less prone to carrying different diseases. Just because you get bitten by a tick in, say Georgia, does not mean that you won’t get Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. It just means that you are more likely to get Lyme’s disease or Erlichiosis. But, like I say, these little guys can carry a whole bucket list of things, so sometimes the doctors are really throwing darts in the dark and hoping to hit something. Bear with them-the problem is that wildlife of all kinds tote them around-birds, possums, coons, deer, coyotes, bear-you name it, ticks will hitch a ride. So if a bird picked up a tick in Maine and then migrated to Alabama, well, the tick and whatever it carried came along. Just the facts, ma’am. So let’s look at the types of ticks.
That photo is somewhat enlarged, by the way, to show identifying markings.
So what is that rash you’re talking about?
Oh, that-it’s exactly what it sounds like. It doesn’t always happen, but if you see it, get thee to a doctor right away. This is the ‘bull’s eye’ rash seen in most Lyme’s patients.
Removal of Ticks
The one thing to remember is-take your time.
You want to make certain to remove the jaws that are embedded into the skin-and I know some people just fainted on me right then. If you don’t remove that, the itch will continue and the risk of infection soars. So let’s do this right the first time.
People have come up with all kinds of ways of trying to remove ticks-some work, most don’t. Trying to smother a tick with oils or grease won’t faze a tick. The reason is simple-they are only there to get a blood meal and fall off anyway so they can lay their eggs. You really didn’t hasten anything along and you certainly didn’t kill it. They’re tough little hombres.
Some essential oils will repel ticks, but choose carefully. Some species of animals cannot take exposure to essential oils and will start vomiting (cats for example). People are frequently sensitive to them and have respiratory problems or may have skin allergy to them. Dogs may react as if you are burning them.
People swear by spinning the tick to induce the tick to pull out. Sometimes it works, sometime it doesn’t. Maybe I don’t get the tick drunk enough?
There are various tick removal tools that you slide under the tick and either pry up or twirl. I’ve never tried one so can’t give a first person recommendation. If you don’t have tweezers, I suppose they’d be workable. Especially for those who hate the thought of actually touching a tick-which I’m not. I just wash my hands.
Good old-fashioned tweezers-can’t beat ’em if you can find where you last put them down. Just make sure to grab that bad boy as far down as you can-then twirl or yank straight up.
My recipe for keeping ticks off my horses
Regular fly spray with permethrin
1 capful of Avon Skin-So-Soft-original
2 TBSP of cold-pressed Neem oil
2 drops dishwashing liquid
mix thoroughly-the DW liquid just helps disperse the SSS and neem oil
Ticks, horse flies, and black face flies HATE the stuff. Won’t come near them. I should patent the recipe???