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Geocaching with ticks


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Hi,

 

I'm from the South island on New Zealand where we do not have ticks. I am going to Australia on saturday and all the caches i want to do say you may come across ticks. What does everyone do to help stop getting ticks. I have googled it and have got some things in place like buying some tick tweezers, bug spray etc but i have to admit i am a bit worried about them. It will be me, my husband and 2 kids caching. Any thoughts, ideas or even stories you have about them to put my mind at rest or even confirm my worry about them would be good. I was hoping to do some letterboxes but they all say "ticks" Yuk.

Any info would be good thanks

 

Nicola

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I've encountered ticks a few times while caching, and done more 'tick checks' that found no ticks.

 

It generally takes a few hours for a tick to find spot that it wants to drill. So you have some time to find and remove them before they settle in for a meal. And a while before they drill deep enough to cause a problem.

 

Wearing short gaiters that seal the bottom of the pants to boots will help prevent them from getting to skin, but you still need to check that they aren't on the clothes. Long sleve shirts with tight cuffs help on the upper body. A good bug repealent applied to pants and shirts will also help.

 

A 'tick check' every evening is a good idea. There are lots of spots on your body you can't see for yourself, so having someone else do the check is best. Depending on how large the local ticks are will vary how close a check needs be. When we encountered them in Eastern Canada they were very large and easy to spot, others are smaller and need a close check. Warm, damp skin is their prefered spots (soft skin) so crotch, arm pits, and any patches of hair are the places to check well.

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I don't know if the Australian ticks are any different, but my first response is to get them before they bite. I have pulled off over sixty after hiking in a particularly infested area near where I live, without getting an actual bite. Where I live tick related diseases are limited because the Western Fence Lizard helps to protect us, but the situation appears to be even better in Australia where the ticks do not appear to carry Lyme disease.

 

Personally, before using a lot of chemicals, I would rely on either catching them first or removing them with your tick tweezers. Tick checks are important . My wife hates it if I bring a tick home and she finds it crawling in bed.

Edited by geodarts
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I don't own a pair of gaiters and to be honest I just had to google them. If you are wearing long pants and long socks you can tuck the cuffs of your pants into your socks for just one more obstacle. I have had several ticks bites but never had any complications, and I live in Lyme disease territory.

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After reading so many threads on forums about the crazy ways Australian nature will try to kill you, I'd take a tick any day of the week!

 

I've only had 2 this year, (in the United States)both hurt for a week or two after, but no long term effects. Just give a good check after you're done, and don't let them spoil your fun.

 

aus_tick_locations_virbac_original.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJNSFWOZ6ZS23BMKQ&Expires=1409795712&Signature=RjhvinU6lDTDrz56AJrZDIHuXNs%3D&response-content-disposition=filename%3D%22aus_tick_locations_virbac.jpg%22&response-content-type=image%2Fjpeg

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Not sure if it's available in your part of the world, but treating your clothing with pymithryn (spelling?) spray may be a solution for the tick issue. That stuff works wonders!

Do you mean Permethrin?

 

No experience with that, but I've used Picaridin and DEET. If you're using DEET, make sure it doesn't come in contact with plastic.

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I do get bitten by ticks on pretty much every caching trip in Denmark involving any kind of greenery. Some of them are said to transmit diseases, but I've been lucky so far. They are so tiny at first that you simply can't see them before they bite, and if they sit in your hair you can wash and comb it as much as you like, you still don't get them. So the best thing is to relax and hope you don't get a nasty one.

 

Earlier this year I brought a tick back home to Qatar, and found the little bugger only at the office, sucking away at my leg. The office nurse completely freaked out as she'd never seen one before :yikes: and devised all sorts of brutal tick destruction methods to get rid of it once I'd removed it :anicute:

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Not sure if it's available in your part of the world, but treating your clothing with pymithryn (spelling?) spray may be a solution for the tick issue. That stuff works wonders!

Do you mean Permethrin?

 

No experience with that, but I've used Picaridin and DEET. If you're using DEET, make sure it doesn't come in contact with plastic.

I love Permethrin. Ever since I started treating my outdoor clothing I haven't seen a single tick. Well one but it only cause it was near the end of the 6 weeks and I needed to retreat. You can treat your hat and shoes as well. Only drawbacks of this stuff is you don't want to treat them near cats. Very toxic to their nervous system. After it dries I don't believe it is harmful. Also you don't want to cross any water ways with fish life. Very toxic to fish. What I do like is you don't need to apply any chemicals to your skin, it is only applied to your clothes and it lasts 6 weeks.

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Long pants.... tuck-in your shirt.... Wear a hat..... Bug spray on areas that aren't covered with clothing.

 

Avoid walking thru tall grasses. And if you can't avoid it, do a 'tick' check immediately. Ticks can be pretty large in size...or they can be a tiny speck w/legs.

 

A complete tick check when you get home (preferably - just before you jump into the shower while you are naked!!)

 

My husband and I used to pretreat our pants with Premethrin. Lately (in summer) we've been avoiding some hiking/caching because I get poison ivy pretty badly. We wait until the fall to do our hiking.

 

Definitely have a tick removal tool.

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Hi,

 

I'm from the South island on New Zealand where we do not have ticks. I am going to Australia on saturday and all the caches i want to do say you may come across ticks. What does everyone do to help stop getting ticks. I have googled it and have got some things in place like buying some tick tweezers, bug spray etc but i have to admit i am a bit worried about them. It will be me, my husband and 2 kids caching. Any thoughts, ideas or even stories you have about them to put my mind at rest or even confirm my worry about them would be good. I was hoping to do some letterboxes but they all say "ticks" Yuk.

Any info would be good thanks

 

Nicola

 

Prevention is better than cure.

 

Wear light coloured clothes so you can see them more easily. If you see them on your clothing brush them off. If you wear long trousers tucked into your socks they can't walk up your legs. Keep your shirt tucked into your trousers and wear a light coloured shirt as well.

 

One day I was hiking in the woods and for a time I was literally stopping every 50 yards to brush a dozen ticks off my legs. That wasn't much fun but even having so many ticks on me over the course of the day only one of them actually got on my skin. I assume it managed to get to my back and walk up my back. I felt something unusual on the back of my neck and scratched at it and the tick came away, so I think what I felt was the tick beginning the process of attaching to me.

 

If a tick gets on your skin it may not even get as far as attaching. They typically walk around for a while looking for a good spot to attach (they want somewhere that they won't be disturbed and ideally where the skin is thin). So as long as you check yourselves fairly regularly, and dress appropriately, you should be able to see them and not have any attach to you.

 

If they do attach you can get tick pickers of various designs to get them off again. From all accounts it's not a very comfortable experience (which is probably of more concern where the children are concerned), and as long as you get them off quickly (i.e. within a few hours) you shouldn't have trouble with things like Lyme's Disease. I don't know if there are other tick-borne diseases where you're going, so worth checking.

 

Also look at identification cards so you know what a tick looks like. It's all very well going through the "check for ticks" process but unless you know what you're looking for you're just looking for "something unusual". That's the great thing about light-coloured trousers - if you see something that looks like a bit of dirt but it's moving, there's a fair chance it's a tick.

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When I geocache, I usually wear white pants, white hat, and a sky blue shirt. It's become my Geocaching outfit because ant ticks are easily visible. If I'm in the woods, I do a check every few hundred feet, and especially before I climb back into my vehicle. When I get home my clothes all go immediately into the washer, and I check myself everywhere before I get in the shower.

 

Once or twice a tick has snuck by, and if it embeds itself in me, I use a cheap chemical free tool called Tick Key that removes the entire tick every time.

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Lots of good advice here. Never dealt with Australian ticks, but here was my first tick experience in Canada: http://coord.info/GLJJXEJ

 

On vacation in the summer of 2012 we had a lot of issues with keeping ticks off the dog. He has a lot of black fur so they were difficult to spot, even as we brushed him. At one point we only spotted one after it had engorged itself and swollen to be about the size of a dime. Horrible, horrible experience.

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We use at least 40% DEET and saturate the area where long pants meet hiking boots....this has been very successful. We've brushed off many and carried a couple back to the room. On both my wife and I they have become attached 2 or 3 times and it was necessary to pull them out using tweezers.....we save these in a small container of alcohol.

I fear red bugs ( chiggers ) even worse than ticks and the DEET spray is 100% effective on them.

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DEET is not ideal for ticks, they will simply crawl to a place that is not covered.

Permethrin is far better. Treated pants are ideal. A tick walking over the treated material will die and fall off. Treatment will typically last through several cloths washings.

 

If bitten, you are typically safe for ~12-24 hours. After that point, the tick will start a regurgitation process, which is typically the way the infections are spread.

 

In the SE US, we worry about nasty diseases. In Australia, from what I know, you have to worry about everything killing you. Like the Ixodes holocyclus, the Australian paralysis tick. This may help (pdf download):

http://www.qm.qld.gov.au/Learning+Resources/~/media/Documents/Learning%20resources/QM/Resources/Fact%20Sheets/fact-sheet-australian-paralysis-tick.pdf

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To be completely honest your best bet is just to relax, take a deep breath, and go geocaching. By all means cover up and put on some Rid or Bushmans as you would anyway, but don't panic about them. I've been heading bush for 30 odd years now and have never had a Tick on me, infact I think I know only 1 person who has had one. Normally I'm more worries about leeches than ticks on myself.

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Hi,

 

I'm from the South island on New Zealand where we do not have ticks. I am going to Australia on saturday and all the caches i want to do say you may come across ticks. What does everyone do to help stop getting ticks. I have googled it and have got some things in place like buying some tick tweezers, bug spray etc but i have to admit i am a bit worried about them. It will be me, my husband and 2 kids caching. Any thoughts, ideas or even stories you have about them to put my mind at rest or even confirm my worry about them would be good. I was hoping to do some letterboxes but they all say "ticks" Yuk.

Any info would be good thanks

 

Nicola

After stomping about caching in the Oz for the last 2.5 years we have only encountered ticks 3 times. It's coming on to summer soon and it is tick season. Picked up 2 ticks this week. The most common are tiny little grass ticks and they are VERY hard to see. These little buggers cause too much irritation for their tiny size and can leave raised welts which are very itchy and take a few days to disappear. Take advice re clothing from other posts if you are particularly concerned. We don't take any extra precautions. Best to avoid low scrubby and long grassy areas. Liberal application of sun block seems to deter them from our experience. The jury is out on Lyme disease, there appears to be some evidence that it is here but the medical authorities don't appear to be accepting of the evidence so far. Enjoy your Oz caching. We'll be doing some EnZd caching in November.

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thanks for all the info - so im guessing it isn't as bad as it seems as long as i look us all over very well etc. thanks again :)

 

And tick checks can be fun if you have your "significant other" help. [:)]

It even made it into a country song: "Ticks" by Brad Paisley. BTW, don't get too distracted and miss an area or two with your significant other...

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I had a girlfriend Non geocacher who never even knew she was bitten by a tick. She got Lyme disease and it took a long time to figure out what it was because she never knew she was bitten. It had her really messed up and really sick. She had other problems and this put her over the edge and she committed suicide. Keep an eye out for them. I don't let it stop me from caching in the woods but I keep a closer eye out now.

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While I agree prevention is better than cure, especially in the case of Lymes you do need to know what to look for. Knowledge is key.

 

When I noticed an itching on my calf after a summery day here I didn't think anything of it. I was a passenger in the car on the way home. In fact I remember it waking me up and me rubbing one leg against the other. It was a little painful and i searched for a thorn but found nothing. Later thought nothing of it. Having a shower later and using a scrunchy, I felt something pull and the thorn feeling again. I looked but nothing was there but it felt sore.

 

Next day in the shower and as I was scrunchyjng my calf I noticed a red ring with a dot in it. It was a few centimetres across. Which made me go oh bugger. Still had no idea. Two days went by but the ring became more defined but didn't get any bigger. Felt a bit rough. Aching limbs like a harsh cold. Still no idea. After a but searched for red ring on leg. Thinking maybe some cattle born thing like ring worm but pretty clueless I found Lymes Disease.

 

This is where it all went wrong. I was feeling worse and the Internet had a LOT of info but mostly forums that had a wide variety of conflicting info. Everything varied from treatment to symptoms. But here is a summery of relevant info:

 

After biting (and it didn't have 12-24 to get) and managed just fine to get me. You "may" get a red ring around bite. Internet searches state you will get the ring. Not always. It's not always large either. It can be small. It may not appear.

 

You will feel rough and a he like you are getting flu. Later after about a week I felt light headed. Just like flu. And we wrote it off because of that. But the red rash became more defined and so a Dr's visit was required. What IS this please. Lucky for me the Dr asked if we had been anywhere with bracken/ferns. Yup. Ok let's treat you for Lymes. The trouble with. Lymes is that it hides. It mimics other symptoms. The only way to detect it is via blood test. But you need two types of test. They are on the next and called different things in different countries. But two tests are required and even then it's not certain. One test will show negative almost always. You need the other test as well to be as sure as you can. But it's very fallible. A lot of Dr's refute it's existence. And it can and has killed. Our NHS website was shockingly devoid of info. American websites are ... extreme suggesting taking antibiotics prior to going into Tic areas. It was a minefield. Luckily I showed typical symptoms.

 

The treatment is easy enough but even there it went wrong initially. The treatment is a large two week dose of antibiotics. But the UK recommend a dose which is half that of the states. Which is a significant difference. Still antibiotics were prescribed. The British National Formulary (BNF) states you must have a certain dose for any infection and mentions Lymes. What it failed to do was mention the dose for lymes treatment. So the Dr gave me the dose listed for infection and that was for two weeks. This was an error but it is very understandable how he got it wrong. In fact he prescribed half the required dose. Because that was the dose for all infections is. Half what you need to fight Lymes. The BNF's fault not his. I took the antibiotics and went down hill fast. I did begin to worry that it might be curtains. My face was tingling and my nose went numb and I had a stiff neck at this stage and I was one week in to the antibiotics. But these symptoms had started two days before seeing the Dr. So not the antibiotics. The stuff neck got so bad I could not turn my head. It started on my right and spread all around. My face was getting more numb and my nose was very cold. The headaches began now and nausea. So I was getting worse. Thinking he had made a mistake in his diagnosis I looked up what the treatment was for Lymes and then I saw the error in dose. Luckily again for me the on call Dr who rang me back after I called the Dr's was well versed in lymes. He immediately sorted some extra meds and I started on the extra dose. I had already been taking them for a week at half the dose and now I would take the proper dose for a further two weeks. I can't tell you how quickly I got better. But it was so much better in two days and after a week I felt more like getting up and walking. The ring was fading at week three but lasted 6 months but never got any bigger than a few cm's across and the stiff neck was apparently the early stages of meningitis but a special. Lymes induced type which isn't as fatal as the usual type.

 

So sorry for length of thread but what I found was that there were many people who go years before diagnosis because they have no idea they were even bitten. Treatment if in any doubt is so easy and believe me, a much better option than being diagnosed with psychological issues like a lot of Lymes patients. Because it causes a kit of mental health issues of it is allowed to go on for years. And the interment helped me to realise what it might be. But it was very difficult to get a correct dosage for treatment. Lucky for me the Dr used MIMMS (another dosage source (book)). The BNF failed miserably and in fact because of it my situation just got worse faster. Doesn't stop me going out. Simply because you can get bitten by hundreds of tics and nothing. You need to be bitten by one that is infected with the Lymes virus to cause you problems

 

lol wow you'll have to forgive some odd words in there. iPhone spell correction has put words in my mouth. But you get the idea. Don't mess with lymes. Oh and two weeks of antibiotics at THAT does - spanks the hell out of your liver. So does the Lymes.

Edited by Seaglass Pirates
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The best way to deal with ticks is to shave all the hair from your body so they have nothing to latch onto.

 

Make sure if you do any caches out in the bush to have some vegemite on hand as this is the best way to lessen the chances of attracting drop bears. Just smear some behind the ears or under the armpits. But just remember because you are a kiwi not speaking is a good deterrent as well.

 

http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/news/2013/03/drop-bears-target-tourists,-study-says/

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Up here in the New England we have to deal with them all the time. Best thing to do is check yourself periodically. When you get home make sure to wash your cloths and run them through the dryer. Just washing them won't kill a tick. The heat of a dryer will. Take a shower and check yourself carefully. If you find you've been bitten by one get to your doctor immediately. There are medications, that if taken within 48 to 72 hours, that can greatly reduce the chances of getting Lyme.

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Lots of good advice here. Never dealt with Australian ticks, but here was my first tick experience in Canada: http://coord.info/GLJJXEJ

 

On vacation in the summer of 2012 we had a lot of issues with keeping ticks off the dog. He has a lot of black fur so they were difficult to spot, even as we brushed him. At one point we only spotted one after it had engorged itself and swollen to be about the size of a dime. Horrible, horrible experience.

Good googley moogley that sound perfectly horrifying.

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As anyone can see from this thread, folks have different experiences. I can second the recommendation for gaiters. In the 14 years of geocaching I have somehow never had a tick bite, at least as far as I know. I have had to pull one off my wife's shoulder once. Here's my Amazon review of the gaiters I got for $4. I've worn them several times now and they are still doing fine. I got them mainly to protect against stickers and burrs, not ticks.

Review of gaiters

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As anyone can see from this thread, folks have different experiences. I can second the recommendation for gaiters. In the 14 years of geocaching I have somehow never had a tick bite, at least as far as I know. I have had to pull one off my wife's shoulder once. Here's my Amazon review of the gaiters I got for $4. I've worn them several times now and they are still doing fine. I got them mainly to protect against stickers and burrs, not ticks.

Review of gaiters

 

If you do any caching in the high country you'll also find gaiters to be very useful when trudging around in snow up to a foot or so deep. Gaiters were pretty much a standard item of apparel when I did a lot of skiing. I would imagine that soaking gaiters in permethrin would make them even more effective, however, ticks will often cling to tall grass so getting gaiters that go up to your knees are best.

 

 

 

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I haven't walked in many areas that had grasses low enough that permethrin-treated gaitors would work for ticks, really can't see how untreated could possibly keep them off.

They're climbers.

Great for keeping snow from inside pants though. :)

 

After a couple bouts of Lyme and a some recurring, our entire pants, shirts, socks, hats, shoe tongues, and even packs get permethrined.

I'm not making them uncomfortable, I'm killin' them.

- Keeps from bringing critters home in your car too.

We don't use DEET on our skin. It's greasy as heck, smells gross, and eats plastic.

We use either picaridin, or lemon eucalyptus.

Sometimes I just don't care for le's smell, and won't use it for a week or more.

- I'm feelin' picaridin seems to work better anyway.

 

Our biggest issue here is barberry...

Many trails here are bordered by hip to waist-high barberry, and game lands are seeing areas carpeted with the stuff.

Well, deer don't eat barberry and barberry is now the new tick hotel, finally drawing the attention of the CDC and EPA a few years ago (takes the gubment a while).

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