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Ticks and other Woodland Undesirables


GLaD0S
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Hello!

I'd say I'm pretty new to Geocaching, having only gone on 3-4 trips and only finding maybe 10 so far, but I figure it's safe to ask, what do you guys do about all the little critters when you get home? Taking a shower is obvious, but does anyone have tips for finding and/or eliminating ticks or other little things that we could pick up in the woods? I live out near St. Louis, and the ticks have always been a problem here. Any tips?

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Hello!

I'd say I'm pretty new to Geocaching, having only gone on 3-4 trips and only finding maybe 10 so far, but I figure it's safe to ask, what do you guys do about all the little critters when you get home? Taking a shower is obvious, but does anyone have tips for finding and/or eliminating ticks or other little things that we could pick up in the woods? I live out near St. Louis, and the ticks have always been a problem here. Any tips?

 

I spray myself and treat my clothes in the worse part of tick season here (spring and then once more in the fall sometimes depending on the freezing situation). So that prevents them. Ticks are a problem here as well. I will often wear a cap on my head as well to keep the little guys from having easy access to my scalp. I also keep my hair tied back tightly which makes it very difficult for them to crawl in and attach there as well.

 

If I feel them crawling on me off they go before they attach to me as well.

 

If I'm out caching away from town I will typically change clothes in a secluded area and whoever I'm with will do a basic tick check there for little guys. I shake the clothes out there and bag them up. When I get home the clothes go immediately into the washer and then the dryer. I go immediately into the shower as well and do a thorough search for ticks right there.

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411sfAhTx2L._SL500_AA300_.jpg

 

http://www.tickkey.com/

 

I havent had any issues, but I have old desert camo pants from my deployments that are still treated with permethrin. I've worn shorts before and forgot bugspray and have gotten chiggers super bad on my ankles.

 

Chiggers ( red bugs down south) might make you wish it was only a few ticks.

We spray our cloths ( 40% deet ) and wear hats. Take off cloths in the laundry room and throw in to washer then quick shower and check....we check throughout the day also. Last week one bit me :blink: on the arm....I thought it was a sand fly.....since he hadn't attached I flicked him off. First time I was " bit " by a tick.

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I spray my skin with a DEET based repellent, then I spray all of my clothing and my pack with a permethrin based spray.

 

I never thought of the pack until I came home from a hike and threw my pack on the couch. I then stripped, showered and checked for ticks.

Later that night I sat on the couch to read and fell asleep. I woke up the next morning with a tick embedded in my chest. My guess is that it rode in on my pack, jumped off into the couch, then onto me when I sat down.

 

Another thing I do after a hike is throw my clothing in the clothes dryer and set it on high. That will kill any ticks that the permethrin missed.

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How about removing spurs, anyone have a good trick for that? Around my area you even do a park and grab without picking up a few hundred of them on your clothes.....

 

Are those the little pokey things that get into clothes or the big burs that get tangled in your shoe laces or in my case a giant pile of them from a bush to my hair). For the little singular pokey things I use duct tape and rub it on and then pull it off. For the bigger ones I just pull them off. Or in the case of my hair me and my mom pulled them out because they were so entangled. Though I imagine duct tape would work on clothes with those as well.

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I don't wait until I'm home - by then the little vermints have already attached themselves to me. I perform regular tick-checks in the field, usually after walking through any brush.

 

Wearing nylon or other synthetic hiking pants are a good way to avoid having them attach as they grab cotton or wool easily, but not so well with smooth synthetics.

 

Learn to identify Tick Terrain, where they hang out, when they hang out - usually after a few hot dry weeks they're all dead (those who have not found hosts) Ticks require blood, but water from dew or rain will sustain them for weeks while they are questing (sitting around on grass or brush waiting for a host to come by.

 

m_qing.jpg

 

fsqing.jpg

 

American dog tick dermacentor variabilis May 16, 2010, Wilder Ranch, Santa Cruz, California

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Around Sydney (Aus) we have problems with ticks and leeches in our bushland areas. To ward off leeches I soak my socks in a salt solution, and dry them before putting them on. I have also tried spraying my shoes with insect repellant, and lately I have tried vapor rub gel (the kind of stuff my mother used to rub on my chest at night to help clear colds and flu) on my ankles and shoes. And if I do get bitten by a leech or sandfly etc, I get very itchy for days, so I apply some good old Aussie vegemite! it stops the itch, but you can look a lot like a giraffe...

Edited by Rainbow Spirit
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Bugs don't seem to like me very much. I get bit by mosquitoes maybe a third of the time that others I'm out with do, and I've never found a tick on me. I've pulled ticks off of my MIL, and she seems to be a magnet for them. I've cached in places where I can see the ticks, but still not found them on me. But I still obsessively check my body and clothes for them, it freaks me out. :P Now that I've posted that I've never had a tick on me, I'll probably get one, now. :anibad:

 

As the previous poster mentioned leeches, I have had a leech attach to me while caching in Australia. That didn't bother me at all, not like a tick would, weirdly enough. I think what bothers me about ticks is the worry of losing their head in me and getting infected or something.

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Ticks are to guppies as Chiggers are to sharks.

 

Agree. We never knew chiggers existed until we started caching. Really can't see them, but man they itch. They seem to hit more in wooded areas than fields. The first time they attacked, someone told Shark to paint the spots w/ fingernail polish. After she had me all painted-up (sparkly pink), she got a call telling her that that wasn't for chiggers, rather some kind of worm. :lol:

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No chiggers in our area luckily. Lots of ticks but they seem to prefer the Mister, for the most part. I DID have one attach a few weeks ago. I had been very complacent about ticks until I saw a documentary on Lyme disease recently. Pretty horrifying stuff if not treated right away.

I got a wasp sting a week ago while caching and poison oak 4 times in the last year thanks to this new hobby. I guess I am more worried about black widows than ticks at this point. Or maybe rattlers, too.

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Earlier this summer, I took DW and the youngest on a hike through the woods to a cache I thought would make a great 200th find. (No, I don't get to cache a lot.) DW is terrified of horseflies, and any buzzing around her head freaks her out. As soon as we got out of the car, she started yelling about horseflies. I heard a buzz once in a while, but didn't see one. This horsefly followed her for a couple hundred yards, until we crossed a stream. Once we crossed the stream, it disappeared for a while. Suddenly, it or another one was back harassing her again, and followed us almost to GZ. When we got to GZ, we had to bushwhack about 50 yards for the cache.

 

When we came back out to the trail, DW noticed a couple of ticks on my back. We started checking, and we were all covered with ticks. We pulled about 2 dozen ticks off of us. As we walked back down the trail, the horsefly was back, and we kept finding more ticks. The walk back down the trail was accompanied by a lot of yelling, hand waving, jumping, and tick pulling. When we reached the end of the trail, DW started sprinting to the car to escape the horsefly. The youngest and I did another round of tick-checks, and thought we'd gotten them all. He found another one on him on the drive home, and yet another once we were home. All together, probably 3 dozen or so ticks. I've never seen that many at once. Since we found them so quickly, none had actually attached themselves yet.

 

I never did see that horsefly, although I'd hear it once in a while. I'll probably never get DW or the youngest in the woods again. :)

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Earlier this summer, I took DW and the youngest on a hike through the woods to a cache I thought would make a great 200th find. (No, I don't get to cache a lot.) DW is terrified of horseflies, and any buzzing around her head freaks her out. As soon as we got out of the car, she started yelling about horseflies. I heard a buzz once in a while, but didn't see one. This horsefly followed her for a couple hundred yards, until we crossed a stream. Once we crossed the stream, it disappeared for a while. Suddenly, it or another one was back harassing her again, and followed us almost to GZ. When we got to GZ, we had to bushwhack about 50 yards for the cache.

 

When we came back out to the trail, DW noticed a couple of ticks on my back. We started checking, and we were all covered with ticks. We pulled about 2 dozen ticks off of us. As we walked back down the trail, the horsefly was back, and we kept finding more ticks. The walk back down the trail was accompanied by a lot of yelling, hand waving, jumping, and tick pulling. When we reached the end of the trail, DW started sprinting to the car to escape the horsefly. The youngest and I did another round of tick-checks, and thought we'd gotten them all. He found another one on him on the drive home, and yet another once we were home. All together, probably 3 dozen or so ticks. I've never seen that many at once. Since we found them so quickly, none had actually attached themselves yet.

 

I never did see that horsefly, although I'd hear it once in a while. I'll probably never get DW or the youngest in the woods again. :)

 

Oh, my goodness...the horrors of it all. Nothing like terrorizing the family while geocaching. One of our favorite people to take with us caching is afraid of spiders. Of course, every spider in the land is attracted to him when we go out and yes, he is the tallest and more prone to wander into their webs.

 

On another note...has anyone found or heard of any luck eating or taking garlic to make one less desirable to some of the bugs?

 

(Edit to add: My better half is still furious over some poop that got all over the place at one of the caches we went to...its a little hard to get the family out when they have these kinds of experiences...even though they are...in some sense...funny!) :D

Edited by AmphibianTrackers
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Oh man, I was out caching a month or so ago in Jack London State Park (Sonoma, CA). I had decided to go get the FTF (what was going to be my very first FTF!) on a nano that had been placed 6 months earlier but still hadn't been found, and I figured since that cache was 3/4 up the side of the mountain, I might as well go to the summit and grab the two caches up there as well (making it an 8 mile round trip).

 

About an hour into the hike, I felt something land in my hair and start buzzing. I'm by myself, I have no idea what it is, my hair is tight in two braids, so I try to brush it out. Well, whatever it was had gotten tangled, didn't like me trying to touch it, and decided to sting me (or bite me?) on my scalp. I frantically unbraid my hair to get it loose, shake it around to try to get rid of the insect. Never actually saw what it was, but man did that sting hurt! About two days later, all my lymph nodes on that side of my neck swelled up huge and super painful. It took over a week for the swelling to go down.

 

To add insult to injury, I continued on my hike anyway and when I got to the cache it turned out that exact same morning two cachers decided to visit that nano as well- thus getting the FTF! After it not being found for half a year! I couldn't help but laugh. Still, it was a nice hike to the summit and I definitely enjoyed it.

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On another note...has anyone found or heard of any luck eating or taking garlic to make one less desirable to some of the bugs?

 

When I worked for the CO Division of Wildlife for a summer doing field work all over central/western CO, our field crew would swallow entire cloves of garlic to help with the mosquitoes. Seemed to work pretty well. And it 100% kept away any and all vampires- didn't see a single one all summer! :)

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Earlier this summer, I took DW and the youngest on a hike through the woods to a cache I thought would make a great 200th find. (No, I don't get to cache a lot.) DW is terrified of horseflies, and any buzzing around her head freaks her out. As soon as we got out of the car, she started yelling about horseflies. I heard a buzz once in a while, but didn't see one. This horsefly followed her for a couple hundred yards, until we crossed a stream. Once we crossed the stream, it disappeared for a while. Suddenly, it or another one was back harassing her again, and followed us almost to GZ. When we got to GZ, we had to bushwhack about 50 yards for the cache.

 

When we came back out to the trail, DW noticed a couple of ticks on my back. We started checking, and we were all covered with ticks. We pulled about 2 dozen ticks off of us. As we walked back down the trail, the horsefly was back, and we kept finding more ticks. The walk back down the trail was accompanied by a lot of yelling, hand waving, jumping, and tick pulling. When we reached the end of the trail, DW started sprinting to the car to escape the horsefly. The youngest and I did another round of tick-checks, and thought we'd gotten them all. He found another one on him on the drive home, and yet another once we were home. All together, probably 3 dozen or so ticks. I've never seen that many at once. Since we found them so quickly, none had actually attached themselves yet.

 

I never did see that horsefly, although I'd hear it once in a while. I'll probably never get DW or the youngest in the woods again. :)

Years ago, when my kids were little, we took a car trip around the country with my MIL. I can't remember which state we were in, but we stopped in a nature refuge and were going to have lunch at a picnic table. As soon as we got to the table, ticks started falling out of the trees. I've never seen anything like it before or after. It's like they were raining. We ran to the car and jumped in. I had to pull lots of ticks off of my MIL, and out of the car, but I never saw one on me.

 

It was like a horror movie. :laughing:

Edited by Ambrosia
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While looking for a cabin in the woods one time, the Realtor handed us dog flea and tick collars to attach to our ankles. She said she carries them all the time for that purpose and we did not get any ticks that day. Might want to pack one in your GC pack and give it a try. Just remember you will have to replace them from time to time because the active ingredient will expire.

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A great tool to use is one of those metal dog flea combs to help get them out of your hair. The big scare with ticks is Lyme Disease, so take care to check each other when your out and about caching. I think its 24 hours or less is the golden time mark. This is a great link for tick info.... http://www.tickencounter.org/

 

BUT.....to me what's worse is Chiggers and Sand Fleas. I always end up getting my ankles chewed up with chiggers and sand fleas

 

The most annoying thing though for me, is your walking along and hit this big cloud of Whtieflies. You can't breathe cause you are going to suck them in your mouth or up your nose. And they follow you for a few feet.

 

Horseflys are just down right aggressive. They harrass my wife more than myself, but they follow you for hundreds of yards.

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Wear light colored clothing (ticks will be easier to see) and long pants. Tuck socks over the pant cuffs and keep shirt tails tucked in. Treat yourself with a good bug repellant just prior to hitting the trail. Use freely on socks, pant legs and waist band. Stop every-so-often while on the trail and do a quick tick inspection. Change clothes as soon as you get home and put the dirty stuff in the washer. Shower. As for "seed ticks", pants made with canvas or "cotton duck" tends to not collect them as well as denim, etc. The dull edge of a knife can be used to brush them off of clothing.

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To add insult to injury, I continued on my hike anyway and when I got to the cache it turned out that exact same morning two cachers decided to visit that nano as well- thus getting the FTF! After it not being found for half a year! I couldn't help but laugh. Still, it was a nice hike to the summit and I definitely enjoyed it.

 

Sorry about that. We weren't hiking for a FTF but it just dropped into our hat.

 

I just got a wasp sting three days ago while caching and the skin area still stings and itches. I'm pretty sure it was a spider wasp because of the amount of pain and how long it's been lasting.

 

If I know ticks are bad then I'll spray my legs and pants. Otherwise I just lookout for them while hiking. A couple of years ago I had a tick get into my belly hole and it took a doctor and a stitch to cut it out. One of the best tick controls out there are snakes which eat the rodents that carry the ticks. So thank a snake the next time you see one.

 

I was in Arkansas a couple of months ago and I learned all over again how much I hate chiggers! The itching continued for days.

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On another note...has anyone found or heard of any luck eating or taking garlic to make one less desirable to some of the bugs?

 

 

When I was a kid, my Mom used to make me eat a tablet every day during the summer to keep chiggers from biting. It was "Sulphur and Cream of Tartar." It had sort of a lemony flavor, and was chewable. I don't know if anyone still makes them, though.

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