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stevnated

Solo geocaching and TICKS

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What do other lone geocachers do about ticks? I found one on my back that I couldn't reach. Tried to coax it out but ended up with the head embedded, then had to wait ten days to see my mom who helped me dig it out! Geez. Any tips on avoiding getting them, or getting rid of them immediately after minor bushwhacking?

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11 minutes ago, stevnated said:

What do other lone geocachers do about ticks? I found one on my back that I couldn't reach. Tried to coax it out but ended up with the head embedded, then had to wait ten days to see my mom who helped me dig it out! Geez. Any tips on avoiding getting them, or getting rid of them immediately after minor bushwhacking?

What a good question! I've had a hundred ticks on me solo caching, but they were on my arm so I could quickly swipe the swarm away. But if they had gotten on my back, with no one to help, I would have totally freaked out! Even more.

Ten days. The horrors! Yikes!!

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12 minutes ago, stevnated said:

What do other lone geocachers do about ticks? I found one on my back that I couldn't reach. Tried to coax it out but ended up with the head embedded, then had to wait ten days to see my mom who helped me dig it out! Geez. Any tips on avoiding getting them, or getting rid of them immediately after minor bushwhacking?

 

I used to just throw all my clothes in the wash immediately after a caching run, and do tick checks.  But there were still ticks in the car after the hike.  I was a tick magnet for sure.

 

Now I've had Permethrin-treated clothing for a few years.  I have a combination of professionally treated clothing (sent to companies that will do that), and Sawyers spray on hats, socks, shoes, back-packs and everything.  I attract no ticks at all.  They die on contact.

 

The problem with that is, when I hide a cache I see logs about all the ticks.  I didn't notice. :)

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6 minutes ago, Max and 99 said:

What a good question! I've had a hundred ticks on me solo caching, but they were on my arm so I could quickly swipe the swarm away. But if they had gotten on my back, with no one to help, I would have totally freaked out! Even more.

Ten days. The horrors! Yikes!!

Lol, well, it was just the head, I was hoping it would eventually eject itself without becoming infected! I wouldn't have tolerated a living tick in me that long!!!

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2 minutes ago, kunarion said:

 

I used to just throw all my clothes in the wash immediately after a caching run, and do tick checks.  But there were still ticks in the car after the hike.  I was a tick magnet for sure.

 

Now I've had Permethrin-treated clothing for a few years.  I have a combination of professionally treated clothing (sent to companies that will do that), and Sawyers spray on hats, socks, shoes, back-packs and everything.  I attract no ticks at all.  They die on contact.

 

The problem with that is, when I hide a cache I see logs about all the ticks.  I didn't notice. :)

Oh yeah. That's number one when I get home. Take a shower, scrub, and throw all clothes in the washer immediately. Use a lint roller all over the car seat. I wonder if a lint roller on a long stick  can help with ticks on your back?

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2 minutes ago, kunarion said:

Now I've had Permethrin-treated clothing for a few years.  I have a combination of professionally treated clothing (sent to companies that will do that), and Sawyers spray on hats, socks, shoes, back-packs and everything.  I attract no ticks at all.  They die on contact.

 

The problem with that is, when I hide a cache I see logs about all the ticks.  I didn't notice. :)

Oh, I've never heard of Permethrin before! What a great idea, i will look into it.

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1 minute ago, Max and 99 said:

Oh yeah. That's number one when I get home. Take a shower, scrub, and throw all clothes in the washer immediately. Use a lint roller all over the car seat. I wonder if a lint roller on a long stick  can help with ticks on your back?

That would be a sight, lol!

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Ugh, ticks!  I've never had one on my back; they've found their way to my hairline on the back of my neck, and I've seen them crawling on my clothes, in the car, on hubby's shirt and pants after an afternoon of caching - they are no fun!  I carry tick and insect spray, apply liberally (my summertime "perfume"!) and shower and wash thoroughly.  Tech-nu is part of my post cache cleanup as well - Poison Oak and I don't get along very well!!

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If I couldn't get a tick out I would go to the emergency department at a hospital to have it removed. They would triage you for how quickly you would be seen to. Although most tick bites don't pose a problem they can, such as tick  paralysis. In most western countries (outside the USA) I imagine the hospital visit would be free for their citizens. It is in Australia, and was even for me once in NZ, because of reciprocal arrangements a number of countries have with each other.

https://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/ohp-tick-bite-prevention.htm

 

The last time I had a tick on/in me, was in my hair. I woke up in the middle of the night and felt my hair and found a lump. In my half awake state I pulled at it, thinking a seed of something was caught in my hair. Finally I yanked it out, put it on the side table and rolled over to go back to sleep. Suddenly I bolted upright as it had finally dawned on my sleepy mind what that might have been. Tick 😨! I turned on the bed light and saw the 'seed' walking across the side table. I grabbed a pair of scissors and cut it in half.

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Some of the advice being given here in Australia now is to kill the tick with an aerosol freeze spray, such as the ones used to remove warts, rather than try to prise it out. The dead tick can then be either be carefully removed with needle-point tweezers (but don't squeeze it) or just left to drop off.

 

For stopping them from attaching in the first place, they recommend DEET-based repellents.

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We always have a spray can of Permethrin in the car.  It's not to be sprayed on skin directly; rather it is sprayed on clothing, shoes, inside boots - wherever a tick can invade.  We have cloth seats in our vehicles so we spray those also and let them dry.  Use common sense also: no open toed shoes or sandals while caching, certainly no shorts, always wear Permethrin treated socks, even a baseball cap sprayed with Permethrin helps.

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I cacje almost exclusively in shorts and baggy shirts, with sneakers or hiking boots - and have scratches on my legs to show for it.

"Better living through chemistry" has me sprayed down with 40%DEET, including footwear. Footwear has been treated with Sawyer. I've not had a tick on me in years.

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This was one big concern of mine on my road trip to Texas for Geowoodstock. Prior to my trip I've had 2 ticks, both just chilling on clothing, and I'm in Ontario (others have had much worse luck around here) so it was a concern of mine, traveling solo.

 

I was good the entire way until I hit Texas.  The morning I woke in my airbnb I found one embedded.  I did my research beforehand and even though there are numerous 'solutions', all of them come with risks. The only solution that the CDC promotes is to use tweezers.  I even txt'd a local friend to find out their regular method, and it was to use vaseline (suffocate the tick so it comes out on its own - which runs the risk of regurgitation, and you don't know how long it'll take).

 

I opted for the tweezer method, but the tweezers I had were too big for this tiny little bugger. I contacted the airbnb hosts to find out if they had smaller tweezers (being local) for this, and they did, but still not fine enough, so eventually I went to a pharmacy to see if they had any instruction. I'd never removed one before so wasn't confident I'd be doing it right. Even the pharmacy was uncertain and they didn't have fine enough tweezers in any expected department. I ended up buying a 2-pack of tweezers, with one tiny enough, from the cosmetic department, for $8US. Crazy.

 

Anyway, I took it back to the hosue and went to work on it. And it took forever to understand how hard to grasp the head of the tick with the tweezers without squeezing to making it regurgitate or come apart. I will say, those ticks really are practically indestructible, and their 'mouth bits' are super strong. It feels great when it finally 'lets go' and it's still in the tweezers, heh.

 

Anyway, got him out, all intact, and put him in a little baggie. Over the next couple of days, sure enough, I discovered another 5, attaching at different times and places which I'd never caught in tick checks, most of which I was able to quickly extract with the fine tweezers.

 

...Until my drive home... I found one more while checking in a Walmart in Alabama, in a location that was much too awkward for me to deal with, let alone see. That had me worried. Best suggestion I got was to head to a clinic or ER. There was one in the town I was in, and I suppose I was fortunate that there were I think 4 people waiting for attention, nothing serious. I don't know if it's because I was Canadian with health coverage, but I was in and out probably within a half hour, with no cost, no treatments, just a few minutes of a doctor's time to tweeze out the little guy, and after informing that I'd had a couple others attached, he gave me a prescription for antibiotics to take for a week (and that cost me about $20US). That's it.

 

Similarly, after I crossed the border back to Canada, I found one more tick... seriously. *sigh*  This one was just on my threshold of accessibility, back of my left shoulder, and I just couldn't quite get the angle to get him out. My last tweeze attempt slipped off the tick body and looked ilke it ripped off a leg, so I was worried about 'retaliation' by the tick and went to one of our walk in clinics. To contrast this experience, there were a few more people waiting, and when my number came up I was eventually led to a room to wait; for close to a half hour. When a doc finally came to check it out, it seemed he was either much less experienced, or local regulations about ticks are far more strict... basically, we had a nurse or two helping, and the doc had a needle to freeze the area (which had me concerned about the tick maybe regurgitating when sensing the chemical), because he "might have to dig it out" (and I'm just thinking - :o just grab tweezers and pull it out plz!). 

After all was said and done, I was told to take the tick "up a level" to get tested at the lab. I haven't heard back since.

 

 

So... all that to say, from a solo traveler's first-time experience:

* Buy super-fine tweezers and learn how to extract a tick properly (or a tick tool that has a very very fine grasper just in case it's a small tick)

* Do what you can to check your clothes for ticks if you're traveling, as soon as possible (or wash if you're at home), since they can walk around almost undetected

* Check your entire body as well since they can move and get to places you'd rather not have to deal with, especially overnight

* Don't panic! Don't overreact, but know that pulling a tick out could be quite an experience = )

* Regionally, a couple factors may vary:  See a walk-in clinic or go to an ER if you can't deal with it yourself (don't know if it will cost you though), and if you know what the stats are for disease/infection in your area, determine whether it's worthwhile to send or give the tick in for testing (if it's free, do it anyway!).

* Antibiotics are a good precautionary step, to deal with basic infection, not significant ones like Lyme and other major (though rare) diseases

 

* Permethrin!  I bought a container of it while in the US to treat my clothes (IIRC it's not available, or at least harder to find in this manner in Canada, and availability of permethrin-treated clothing is finally on the rise in outdoors stores, but you could get products off amazon).

 

So that's my first-timetake on "Solo geocaching and TICKS" ;)

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

So that's my first-timetake on "Solo geocaching and TICKS" ;)

 

Sounds exciting!  I don't know how the tick felt, but I think I would run "the risk of regurgitation". :yikes:

 

I have head-to-toe treated clothing especially for Geocaching, and must resist the urge to go hunt some quick cache "just off the road" when wearing ordinary untreated clothes.  Or else I'll return to the car and notice a tick crawling on my arm (I walked through grass, how'd that get there?).  I lived in various places around the Northwest US and almost never even saw a tick.  They're super prevalent around the Southeast, and I was beginning to hunt only "no tick" Geocaches until I discovered Permethrin and Insect Shield products.  I also splash on the DEET for mosquitoes, but I need the ticks dead, not merely give them a buzz.

 

 

Edited by kunarion

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Never had a tick in my life until a few years ago.  They’re not as prevalent here (southern England) as they may be in other parts of the world, but I’ve now picked them up on about six occasions.  (Not caching alone, yet the only one ever to get VIOLATED!  Guess, I’m another ‘tick magnet’.)

 

On the first occasion, I had five in one go - found them over the course of two days, and one in a spot where the sun really don’t shine! 😢

 

I’ve a better idea of what I’m up against now - “rubber gloves on, darling, I’m home!” 😉

 

I now have a couple of O’Tom Tick Twisters.  The tiny one worked really well on the first hitchhiker - easily reached at the top of my thigh - but I just couldn’t get it to work on the next - back of my upper right arm.  Eventually plucked him out with tweezers.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, thebruce0 said:

Permethrin!  I bought a container of it while in the US to treat my clothes (IIRC it's not available, or at least harder to find in this manner in Canada

 

Bureaucracy Canada never got around to approving permethrin for treating clothes 😬 even though another branch of our helpful gov't suggests avoiding tick bites, and in the same paragraph even suggests using permethrin while dancing around the issue of availability.

 

Anyway, after much research - triggered by a four-tick day here in Alberta, none embedded - I know the answer.  Permethrin for clothes treatment (in the US) is 0.5%.  Permethrin as liquid ant killer in Canada (Home Depot, etc.) is 0.25%.  So I figure, two applications.  It's odorless and invisible when dry, and theoretically it'll last through a few washings.  I'm now ant-proofing my hiking wear every spring.

 

BTW, powdered ant-killer is different (carbaryl) but also has an excellent off-label use for wasp control.  Sprinkle it in their nest entrance and wait a day or two.

 

Edited by Viajero Perdido

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, Viajero Perdido said:

 

Bureaucracy Canada never got around to approving permethrin for treating clothes 😬 even though another branch of our helpful gov't suggests avoiding tick bites, and in the same paragraph even suggests using permethrin while dancing around the issue of availability.

 

Anyway, after much research - triggered by a four-tick day here in Alberta, none embedded - I know the answer.  Permethrin for clothes treatment (in the US) is 0.5%.  Permethrin as liquid ant killer in Canada (Home Depot, etc.) is 0.25%.  So I figure, two applications.  It's odorless and invisible when dry, and theoretically it'll last through a few washings.  I'm now ant-proofing my hiking wear every spring.

 

BTW, powdered ant-killer (carbaryl) also has an excellent off-label use for wasp control.  Sprinkle it in their nest entrance and wait a day or two.

 

I have a tough time shopping for "Geocaching" stuff.  Without a plausible back-story, the Helpful Hardware Man can't even find me the right o-Ring!  "No, not for a faucet, for this camouflaged metal capsule", and now I get to go look in several departments of that store to find an o-Ring, while all the employees eye me suspiciously.  So I can identify with your back-story of "I need something to kill the ants in my pants".  :)

 

But some other posts online mention that the farm-quality Permethrin has smelly oil in it.  Sheep dip, or whatever.  Super inexpensive and potent and over-the-counter "legal", but suitable for sheep, not clothing.  So you have to shop carefully.

 

 

Edited by kunarion
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Yeah, the trip to the vet supply store was unproductive.  Stinky stuff for wiping down your horse, no thanks.

 

I don't want to smell like anything in bear country.

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Outdoor hobby/sport stores shouldn't look at you oddly with strange requrests, they're probably running through possible contexts and backstories in their minds for fun :P  Also, just say bison tubes, or waterproof matchstick holders. Call them what they're pactically and commonly used for by non-geocachers, hehe

 

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5 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

Outdoor hobby/sport stores shouldn't look at you oddly with strange requrests, they're probably running through possible contexts and backstories in their minds for fun :P  Also, just say bison tubes, or waterproof matchstick holders. Call them what they're pactically and commonly used for by non-geocachers, hehe

 

 

O-rings are not bad, they'll be somewhere in the "plumbing" department.  The problem is when I have an idea and I don't know what it could be for, nor what department may have one... "a hollow tube this big inside and this long".  Plastic? Metal?  Here's a 12-foot-long iron pipe for $30, I get to cut the piece at home.  Often, they don't stock exactly what I want and I have the joy of ordering, I don't know what it is.  The Permethrin thing is a lot like that.  Many products are practically the same thing as "Sawyers Spray" and much easier to obtain... if you know what to ask for.

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, stevnated said:

What do other lone geocachers do about ticks? I found one on my back that I couldn't reach. Tried to coax it out but ended up with the head embedded, then had to wait ten days to see my mom who helped me dig it out! Geez. Any tips on avoiding getting them, or getting rid of them immediately after minor bushwhacking?

 

Yeah, permethrin on all clothes (except underwear) and packs,  picaridin  on skin.  All the time.

The rare  time (haven't had one on me now in years with permethrin/picaridin...) I'd ever have a tick on my back or similar place I can't reach, I have a pair of  AG Russell cooking tweezers  in the truck.

You can wait until you get to your car...

All the time, along with baby aspirin and a firestarter,  I carry an AG Russell field tweezers..

 

Edited by cerberus1
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11 hours ago, Max and 99 said:

Oh yeah. That's number one when I get home. Take a shower, scrub, and throw all clothes in the washer immediately. Use a lint roller all over the car seat. I wonder if a lint roller on a long stick  can help with ticks on your back?

 

I get home and put my clothes in the dryer for ten minutes JIC.  Ticks will live through a complete cycle in the wash...

 

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3 hours ago, papollo & wifey said:

We always have a spray can of Permethrin in the car.  It's not to be sprayed on skin directly; rather it is sprayed on clothing, shoes, inside boots - wherever a tick can invade. 

 

Permethrin isn't like other bug sprays... 

You're not supposed to apply it to clothes while you're wearing them, it supposed to be applied to clothes,  allowed to dry,  then put them on.   :)

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12 hours ago, kunarion said:

But there were still ticks in the car after the hike.  I was a tick magnet for sure.

 

Now I've had Permethrin-treated clothing for a few years. 

I have found a tick or two in the car, myself. Now my preparations include not only spraying my clothes with Permethrin, I spray the carpets and dog blanket in the car as well. 

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4 hours ago, papollo & wifey said:

We always have a spray can of Permethrin in the car.  It's not to be sprayed on skin directly; rather it is sprayed on clothing, shoes, inside boots - wherever a tick can invade.  We have cloth seats in our vehicles so we spray those also and let them dry.  Use common sense also: no open toed shoes or sandals while caching, certainly no shorts, always wear Permethrin treated socks, even a baseball cap sprayed with Permethrin helps.

Spraying Permethrin on skin doesn't harm anything (or you). It just breaks down very quickly and loses its effectiveness when in contact with our skin oils and perspiration. Repellents made for skin like Deet and Picaridin go on the skin and Permethrin goes on the clothes and fabrics.

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I switched from DEET to picaridin a few years ago.   DEET stinks, it's greasy , and melts most plastics.

I melted a few  GPSr screen protectors,  A tent's screens, the tops of six pairs of hikers,  two handgun grips,  and numerous sunglasses with DEET.

It finally took ruining a brand-new fly line to check CDC for something else, and picaridin works.   :)

 

 

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18 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

I switched from DEET to picaridin a few years ago.   DEET stinks, it's greasy , and melts most plastics.

I melted a few  GPSr screen protectors,  A tent's screens, the tops of six pairs of hikers,  two handgun grips,  and numerous sunglasses with DEET.

It finally took ruining a brand-new fly line to check CDC for something else, and picaridin works.   :)

 

 

I too have ruined some things with Deet. Including fogging my eyeglasses. I like the Picaridin in lotion format. And it seems to offer longer protection. 

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Haven't had a tick in years. Chiggers are another thing...but the last time I had a tick I was a teenager in boy scouts.  The scout master suggested (and it worked) to apply a dab of vaseline over the tick.  Apparently the tick can't breath and will release themselves and then they can be removed.  

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31 minutes ago, kd0bik said:

apply a dab of vaseline over the tick.  Apparently the tick can't breath and will release themselves and then they can be removed.   

Yes and the CDC doesn't recommend the method. As I mentioned above, some locals I asked do use this method, but no method is without risk; it could take a very long time for it to release, which is not good. But next to tweezers or a sufficient tick key, that sounds like the next best strategy.

https://www.thoughtco.com/wrong-ways-to-remove-a-tick-1968605

https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/removing_a_tick.html

 

In short, you could look at it like, the one method rarely if ever discouraged is using tweezers. All other 'home remedies' are debateable at best :)

Edited by thebruce0
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Well that was about 40 years ago when it was still recommended to use a belt to teach a little discipline.   🙂  I survived both

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2 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

Yes and the CDC doesn't recommend the method.

Yep.  

The probability of a tick giving you Lyme Is around a day-n-a-half to two days before it's a problem (unless you've had Lyme disease).   

The reason I said earlier you have time to get to your car.   :)

They're gobbling meat, not digging and shoveling it away, and need to feed before there's an issue.

Putting anything over it, putting a lit match to it's butt, whatever... could make it puke in that fresh wound it created, and you can say goodbye to that day-plus window...

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I agree with the Permethrin-treatment.

 

Also, light colored clothes, socks tucked into pant-leg and long sleeves. Light colored bandana or hat. (So you can see them asap)

 

Tick check immediately when at the car and then again at home. At home, all clothes off and into the wash. I have had ticks "hide" in the seam of a shirt or pant and crawl out later. So, all in the wash. Then, I comb my hair with a fine comb because I have removed some like this before they latch on.

 

As others have said similar, I heard that a good rule of thumb for disease transmission is remove the tick before 24 hours of attachment into the skin. Too many funky tick diseases, so I take ticks super seriously. Where I live they are most active in early Spring and in long grassy areas. So, I avoid those areas in April-May-early June.

 

I was a camp counselor, and we used to get attached ticks off with an open scissors. Now, they are making on this handy, cheap little tool. It is called Ticked-Off and works like a charm.  I have these in the car, in the house, on my bike pack. Same concept as an open scissors, as you gradually move up to the head and the head withdraws. The head is as bad as the whole body for transmitting disease. You have to get it all.

https://www.lcsupply.com/Ticked-Off-Tick-Remover/productinfo/TO/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIvrmX6O374gIVF8JkCh1ZGwIHEAQYAiABEgLA6PD_BwE

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The only thing with tick keys and other removal tools is you need to be sure that it's fine enough. I've seen examples where someone had a tick key but the tick was too small for it. Fine tweezers - much better chance at success, unless you know you've got a super fine enough tick key :)

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, BugLuv said:

Now, they are making on this handy, cheap little tool. It is called Ticked-Off and works like a charm.

 

The Tick Release Kit on that site looks great, too!  Comes with tweezers and a swab.  It's on sale, the price is about low enough to use for Swag.  I might place some of those in my caches.

 

The kit even includes a Nano container. B)

 

Edited by kunarion

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12 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

The only thing with tick keys and other removal tools is you need to be sure that it's fine enough. I've seen examples where someone had a tick key but the tick was too small for it. Fine tweezers - much better chance at success, unless you know you've got a super fine enough tick key :)

 

 

As a camp counselor, we were taught to avoid tweezers as the head tends to stay in. Giant no-no for camp policy guidelines. Guess it is six of one and half dozen of another. 

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12 hours ago, kunarion said:

 

The Tick Release Kit on that site looks great, too!  Comes with tweezers and a swab.  It's on sale, the price is about low enough to use for Swag.  I might place some of those in my caches.

 

The kit even includes a Nano container. B)

 

 

That is a great idea! 

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

This link says to freeze the tick to kill it and then wait for it to drop off naturally.

https://www.mydr.com.au/first-aid-self-care/tick-removal

 

And in the middle it says, "Note that the Department of Health is not recommending this freezing method until further research becomes available."

Sounds like a clever idea if testing works, though never heard of ticks dying from freezing temps.  :)

"You should then leave the tick in place until it drops off (taking care not to compress or squeeze it during this time) which it should do in the next 24 hours." sounds (to me) like "if it's not really dug in yet ."

Here, ticks are dormant only until the sun thaws them again.   I hunt in winter, and see ticks alive on brush when temps are freezing, just because the sun's shining, and have seen them attaching to my pants (then fall off, dead from permethrin). 

I tell folks who say "Winter hiking's great, at least ticks aren't out" that it's simply not true, and if they see water dripping off trees and brush, ticks are out.

Edited by cerberus1
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10 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

 

And in the middle it says, "Note that the Department of Health is not recommending this freezing method until further research becomes available."

Sounds like a clever idea after testing though.  :) 

 

I also thought that was a pretty good idea, assuming "freezing" might kill some of the germs along with the tick.  Not sure how excited I'd be about "freezing" anything where a tick tends to attach, though.  :ph34r:

 

The "Tick Release Spray" seems promising if it dissolves the attachment.  The tick attaches itself with a material that works like Super-Glue, so dissolving that attachment is a good idea.  There are a lot of contradictory suggestions from Health Sources such as whether or not you would best kill it and then let the thing drop off on its own.  But the latest Professional Advice seems to be more like, "release the whole tick in some way, dead or alive, but intact".

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On 6/21/2019 at 12:16 AM, stevnated said:

What do other lone geocachers do about ticks? I found one on my back that I couldn't reach. Tried to coax it out but ended up with the head embedded, then had to wait ten days to see my mom who helped me dig it out! Geez. Any tips on avoiding getting them, or getting rid of them immediately after minor bushwhacking?

 

 

I had this same situation years ago. Tick dug in on my shoulder blade. Couldn't reach it myself. Went next door to neighbors I barely knew and ask them to pull out the tick for me.
It was the same day, but later in the day from when I got home.


10 days would be way too long to leave a tick attached. 

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Since you mention freezing, IF you have a tick that has latched on, I always put it in a baggie and freeze it.  If you have any signs of anything of disease, the tick can be tested. At least, that is what I heard. I did this religiously when I found one latched onto my kids when they were little. 

 

I overheard one of their friends ask my son what that was (when they were snooping in the fridge/freezer). My son said, "Oh, that's our tick.". ha ha. Gotta give the neighbors something to talk about, I guess. 

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15 minutes ago, BugLuv said:

Since you mention freezing, IF you have a tick that has latched on, I always put it in a baggie and freeze it.  If you have any signs of anything of disease, the tick can be tested. At least, that is what I heard. I did this religiously when I found one latched onto my kids when they were little. 

 

I overheard one of their friends ask my son what that was (when they were snooping in the fridge/freezer). My son said, "Oh, that's our tick.". ha ha. Gotta give the neighbors something to talk about, I guess. 

 

The "Tick Release Spray Kit" includes a little tube to place the tick and send it to get tested.  There are a couple of levels of fees for that.

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On 6/21/2019 at 2:16 PM, stevnated said:

What do other lone geocachers do about ticks? I found one on my back that I couldn't reach. Tried to coax it out but ended up with the head embedded, then had to wait ten days to see my mom who helped me dig it out! Geez. Any tips on avoiding getting them, or getting rid of them immediately after minor bushwhacking?

I use a Coghlans Tick Remover - a small cylinder with a clamp at one end & a spring on the other. Grip the tick & twist anti-clockwise & the whole tick is removed. In hard to reach places someone else gets to use it. Spay repellent & wear a wide brimmed hat.           

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I've never acquired a tick myself ( famous last words) which is surprising as biting insects find me very tasty, but I've removed scores of the things from the disabled hedgehogs I used to foster in my garden for the local wildlife hospital. I cannot begin to describe the difficulty of getting in between the forest of spines of a rolled up hedgehog with a tick key or tweezers to get a grip on the tick and twist the thing off , or the frustratingly long wait for the hedgehog to relax and unroll so you can pick it up in just the right way to flip it over without it being able to curl up. to can get to its furry underside ... ticks really like hedgehogs armpits and ears, I bet that's a phrase that doesn't get typed very often.

 

I found that the mechanical tick removal methods were just too awkward , and I don't imagine the hedgie was too keen on the lengthy process either, so once a week (outside hibernation time) I'd pick the beast up,  bring it indoors, park it  in an empty dry sink, and use a tiny dropper bottle (it had held eardrops so had a pipette type tube and bulb top)  to drip a couple of drops of olive oil on the head of each little grey parasite I could see between spines. They actually let go quite quickly , within 10 to 15 minutes they would be lying in the sink waving 8 legs in the air . After a quick check none were still hanging on, I'd release the hog back in the garden, (yes, one of them was called Harley ...)  then wreak vengance on the ticks , crushed then swilled away with boiling water.

 

I once watched the wildlife hospital founder absent mindedly remove a tick with the skill of  long practise from a juvenile hedgehog with just her fingers as she sat at a table with a cup of coffee chatting to me ...  she held the rolled up hedgehog in one bare hand (the spines are not that uncomfortable) reached in with finger and thumb, grasped the tick and ...  rotated the hedgehog , not the tick ... now why didn't I think of that ? Then she casually placed the tick, on its back,  legs up on the table by her cup (euurgh !) and carried on chatting. No  idea what she said after that, I was mesmerised by the horrid little things attempts to right itself by frantic leg waving . It didn't manage to get on its feet and escape , in  fact I left before it did ...

 

Once, and only once, my  cat got a tick , between her eye and her ear (the flea treatment she got monthly changed formula unknown to me,  and the 'new , improved' stuff no longer killed ticks, just fleas. ) She was not a feline you meddled with casually , and any approach with tweezers etc was going to be doomed to failure and probably lacerations (for me ) so,  knowing she'd not hold still for a few minutes while oil smothered that tick,  I got some alcohol based , dog and cat specific stuff in a tiny pump type can with a tube to direct the spray at the bug. The spray claimed to zap ticks instantly. What could possibly go wrong ?

 

I'd stupidly failed to consider the sudden cooling effect of an alcohol based spray, one tiny squirt bang on the tick, and the cat headed for the ceiling like a rocket . I was off her Christmas card list for weeks  :grin: , it took a lot of chicken to re-establish friendly relations.  The tick was left dead where the cat had taken off from, killed by the spray or perhaps unable to cope with the extreme feline acceleration ...

 

If I got a tick on me, I'd go  for the twist option if I could, and I carry fine tweezers in my always with me first aid kit for such eventualities. If I couldn't reach the thing , was alone and I had access to some cooking oil (a camping multi day trip maybe) , I'd probably give suffocating it a try rather than wait and let the thing fill up with my blood before it let go and dropped off to climb up a grass stalk and continue it's life by latching on to  the next passing warm thing for a meal.

 

Coincidentally I just received a new Buff  I'd ordered specifically because it is a 'UV insect shield' variant, impregnated with pemethrin and 95% UV protection. It is coolmax fabric, thicker and less silky than the usual buff , but if it keeps the bugs away , who cares !

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On 6/22/2019 at 11:35 AM, BugLuv said:
On 6/21/2019 at 10:46 PM, thebruce0 said:

The only thing with tick keys and other removal tools is you need to be sure that it's fine enough. I've seen examples where someone had a tick key but the tick was too small for it. Fine tweezers - much better chance at success, unless you know you've got a super fine enough tick key :)

 

As a camp counselor, we were taught to avoid tweezers as the head tends to stay in. Giant no-no for camp policy guidelines. Guess it is six of one and half dozen of another. 

 

I'd trust the CDC first. Even if it might seem overreaching. Tweezers run extremely little chance of being an issue if done properly. At a camp, I would say definitely no to campers trying to just get it out themselves, but the properly trained nurse/first aid person should be able to do it. And of course follow proper medical protocol if it doesn't go as planned. I would strongly advise against telling people not to use tweezers (properly) at all since most other strategies run a greater risk of causing issues.

(disclaimer: there's no 100% fool proof method of removing a tick without any issue, and all methods come with risks, even though I'd guess that most removals each method are successful)

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Permethrin-treated clothing is the way to go.  Light colors so you can see them.  Have one set of pants (at least) and a shirt treated and use those for bushwacking/geocaching.  Wash them sparingly - the Permethrin is only good for a few washings.  Many people stuff their pants cuffs into their socks.

 

When I've worn my treated pants, I've never had a tick get to my skin.  On two or three occasions when I wore regular jeans, I've had an embedded tick, which I discovered within 12 hours each time.  Tweezers to pull it off.

 

Visit the Centers for Disease Control website for good information about tick and tick-borne diseases.  The University of Rhode Island has excellent information about ticks.

 

After I've been out, I shower and do a tick check with a mirror.

 

Ticks quest (which means the tick waits for a host to happen by and grab on) from the tops of grass and small plants.  They climb and crawl.  They don't jump and they don't fall from trees.  They wait for something to brush by and try to grab on, but will crawl back down the stalk to re-hydrate, then crawl back up again if nothing comes by.  They also nest (for lack of a better word) in the damp leaf litter, so one can get a tick when kneeling or sitting on the ground.  Ticks don't live too long without moisture to rehydrate, so toss your clothes in a dryer for a cycle to kill them.  But they don't do well indoors because they dry out.  If you track one into the house, it will probably dry and die before it finds a host.

 

I try to avoid tick prone areas, like tall grass.  But one can't always to do that.  Also, a good hard rain will knock the questing ticks off the grass. 

 

Joe

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On 6/22/2019 at 3:46 PM, Great Scott! said:

 

 

I had this same situation years ago. Tick dug in on my shoulder blade. Couldn't reach it myself. Went next door to neighbors I barely knew and ask them to pull out the tick for me.
It was the same day, but later in the day from when I got home.


10 days would be way too long to leave a tick attached. 

Haha! My neighbors already think I'm weird... Maybe a good way to get to know them better :P

Yeah, the 10 days was just with the mouth bits that broke off. Very painful digging out!

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On 6/21/2019 at 10:26 AM, thebruce0 said:

So that's my first-timetake on "Solo geocaching and TICKS" ;)

 

That's a crazy story.  I hope you captured all of that on video for your channel.  It would be a cringy yet informative video!  

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I have one of these stashed in all of my first aid kits and my house: https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5025-913/TickLasso

 

I've had several ticks embedded, but only one where I couldn't remove it myself - my hairline on the back of my neck. I had a friend nearby who did it for me, but I would have asked anyone to assist. Or gone to my local health clinic.

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