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What works on ticks???

Bubba Cache

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Consumer Reports just released a study about insect repellents. I a story about it on my local TV news station just this week. The thing I gathered was the more DEET the more repellent. DEET isn't good for small children though. There was one brand that seemed to work about 8 hours.

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You can do a search through the forums for all of the details, but here's the main ideas:


DEET is your best chemical bet to keep ticks away. Ticks, mosquitos, and other assorted insects/bugs don't like the vapors given off by DEET, and avoid areas where they sense it. My personal experience is that an application of Deep Woods Off (around 20% DEET) to my pants, shoes, back, and arms will keep the bugs at bay (spray some in your hand, then spread on your face as well.)


Some people swear that Avon Skin So Soft lotion is the best insect repellent in the world. Clinical trials have never proven it to repel anything, so Avon is no longer allowed to market it for its repellent abilities, but it seems to work for some people.


One of the best ways to keep ticks from implanting is to prepare yourself - wear long pants and sleeves, tuck your pants into your socks, and keep your shirt tucked in. It helps to keep ticks on the outside of your clothes so you can spot them (wearing light colors helps as well.) Be aware of your surroundings - are you in a tick-populated area? They hang on the ends of tall grass, bushes, and so forth, generally within a foot or two of the ground, waiting for an animal or human to walk by. And when you come out of the area, always check yourself for ticks!



When in doubt, poke it with a stick.

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deet will work on ticks. another choice is to spray clothing and shoes with permethrin (a poison). once dry it will not harm a person but will repel ticks and mosquitoes for up to 2 weeks and a couple of launderings. just be sure to keep the spray off of your skin, ie, don't wear clothes while spraying as this can make you feel quite ill (dumb personal experience!). i have never gotten a tick while using permethrin coated clothing even though we have loads of ticks in north carolina. good luck. -harry

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Oh yeah - thanks for picking up my slack shawhh. icon_smile.gif I forgot about that one.


Permethrin is definitely not for use on your skin. Not only does it have some side effects, as shawhh alluded to, but it also breaks down quickly on your skin, leaving you unprotected before you even get anywhere on a good hike. If I remember correctly, one can will treat a pair of shoes and a set of clothing, and is somewhere under $5 (I've seen it at Walmart before.)



When in doubt, poke it with a stick.

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Hey Bubba,


You can get a small 100% DEET spray at Wal-Mart for about $4. Larger containers have less DEET, but are about the same price.


Joel (joefrog)


"Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for ye are crunchy and taste good with ketchup!"

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DEET will *only* work in contact with skin. Spraying it on your pants or shoes is worthless (unless you're *that* sweaty to soak all the way through). Also, 100% DEET (or even the lower strong concentrations) will cloud (i.e. ruin) clear plastics. The display on your GPS receiver will be very adversely affected if your 100% DEET-coated fingers touch it. (You can actually leave permanent fingerprints set into the plastic.)


Permethrin, as mentioned above, is basically the opposite of DEET. Contact with skin (sweat, etc) deactivates it, not to mention, is not great for you.


You can find combination DEET/permethrin packs at Walmart and other places. They have a bottle of permethrin for treating your hiking gear, and a bottle of DEET for treating yourself. Use each where applicable and you'll do well.


Finally, if you *do* get a tick in you, PLEASE don't put something on it to get it to come out! The last thing you want is for the tick to come out on its own accord, since it will regurgitate fluids into the wound to help itself out, and the bacteria in that are what can cause serious infections. There are quite a few tick-pulling methods and devices out there, and a tick-tweezers or other tick-removal device is a good thing to add to your pack. (With whatever, you'll pull gently but constantly so that you can see the tick pulling at your skin, and you keep the gentle but firm and constant pull until it comes out intact.)


Anyway, that's the little tick speech for now. If you need more information, it's available or I can gather some links and docs for you.


[[[ ClayJar Networks ]]]

Home of Watcher downloads, Official Geocaching Chat, and the Geocache Rating System

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I've never heard of DEET not working when applied to clothing, and its kept swarms of mosquitos off of me after I've sprayed it on the back of my shirt (where just minutes before there had been around 50 of them.) My can of Deep Woods Off even says, in a larger font and bold lettering, WORKS ON CLOTHING TOO.


I'm not trying to sound aggresive/defensive or anything like that, but can you link any info on this? I'm curious.



When in doubt, poke it with a stick.

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I dug back into the books, and it appears that CDC, EPA, and a few papers are now saying DEET on clothes is good, but permethrin is much better against ticks (it is a contact insecticide as opposed to a repellent -- same stuff as in lice shampoo, apparently).


Anyway, seems they've, er, clarified what you can/should use DEET for. Not the first time, I suppose, but in tick-land, it's still permethrin on the hiking outfit.


[[[ ClayJar Networks ]]]

Home of Watcher downloads, Official Geocaching Chat, and the Geocache Rating System

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Okay - thanks for the clarification ClayJar. And yes, permethrin is one of the agents used for lice (but I don't want to hear of anyone spraying their kid's head with the stuff! Go to your doctor and get a prescription for the shampoo!)


Don't blame you for your use of permethrin though - if I went into tick-infested areas often enough I'd be using it myself. Right now though, I'd be buying a new can for each excursion. icon_smile.gif



When in doubt, poke it with a stick.

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I have read so many things about do's & don't on ticks, chiggers, ect. It changes all the time as new items become available on the market. Where you are going is the biggest factor. No reason to put on 100% deet if you do city parks. Cause it burns. And when you sweat, it really burns. Some people duct tape their cuffs to socks & shoes. I carry several types with me, as each generation becomes ammune. It may not be the safest thing to do, so I'm not recommemending it to anyone. But seems no matter what ya do, at least one will find an opening & make that touchdown. Sometimes it takes about two weeks before you even know one is on you. They are micro's & then as they feed, of course they begin to grow & BAM......Got that sucker.




give to the world the best you have,

and the best will come back to you.

...............MaryAinge deVere

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I've been using flowers of sulfur to avoid red bugs (chiggers) and ticks. It's a yellow powder. It used to be easy to find in drug stores but these days, you're going to have to search a bit. It's non-poisonous and non-digestable. It's also very inexpensive.


I dust my socks and legs with the stuff. It really works well.


Note: There are several types of sulfur powder available. Don't use stuff from a chemistry lab. Get the stuff from a pharmacy.

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i used sulfur in the military for ticks. been around the world a few times.. no tick problems. we added a small amount of sulfur to every meal a few days prior to going out. it will wash thruough your system. great alternative to that paint remover style bug juice in the squirt bottles!!! sulfur water... from those stinkin' wells.. some of you know what i mean.. works wonders also. you can get 1000 capsules for about 15$US.


never heard of dusting clothes, but it sounds like a good idea.


people use it as a barrier on the ground, and as a soap for dogs too.


good thread!!!





required reading

My first bible

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My vet, seggested to give the dog Garlic in his food, to repeal these little guys, it worked so I started uping my own intake of garlic and it worked ---try it.... also don't forget to tape your pants at the bottom


NOSEEUMS--High Protein Low Calorie unpacked trail snacks!!!!

See You In the Woods!!!


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The educator in me is coming out. Over the next few weeks, I have decided to "experiment". Yesterday, Team Bubba Cache was out caching for 7 hours. I found 17 ticks on me throughout the day. That was with NO Repellant. Next trip, I will use Deepwoods OFF with DEET and see what attaches. Only way to obtain true knowledge about what works on ticks is to test these post. If anyone else test out a method suggested here, let us know the results. Thanks, be careful, and God Bless

Bubba Cache


God bless you and your family,

Bubba Cache

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My unintended experiment was this:


I went scouting for cache hiding places. I brushed several ticks off me before I got back into my car. I even partially undressed to find and brush them off. Even so, I pulled 12 ticks off my skin for the next 2 days. Ugh!


When I went out to place the 2 caches, I sprayed my long-sleeved shirt, pants, boots, and the upper portion of my socks with Permethrin (have to let it dry, so I did it the day before), and put DEET on my wrists, neck, and above my socks. All my clothes are light colored, plust I wear a very tight long-sleeved t-shirt underneath. I also tucked my pants legs into the top of my socks. I ended up with a couple of ticks on my pants leg, but they weren't moving, and one was definitely dead. Another on my hand, but you could tell he wasn't happy. I flicked them all off, and none got under my clothes.


For the last 2 weekends, I added short gaiters for my pants legs. Only 1 or 2 ticks on the pants. (I think it takes a while for the Permethrin to kill them). And one on my glasses. (???)


So, I think I've found my solution that works for me. I have a seperate geocaching outfit of light tan clothes, and I spray them every few weeks/washes.



Not all those that wander are lost. But in my case... icon_biggrin.gif

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There are also wristbands available as well that contain insect repellent, and that have a decent shelf-life (if stored properly upon exiting the field) -- I have seen some in places like Wally-world from manufacturerers like Off!, but I have some ordered from a company called US Cavalry -- they sell a lot of items based around a military/law enforcement theme -- some of the stuff is "manufactured to MILSPEC requirements" -- avoid those. Look for "Official Issue" instead -- you'll pay more, but will get a higher quality product. But I digress.


Also, think about chiggers -- somewhat like a tick (bloodthirsty annoying little buggers) -- my grandfather said that when they were kids, they would soak a piece of twine or a strip of cloth in kerosene, then tie it around their ankle and their wrist, and it would work for chiggers.


Just my $0.02.

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Myths About DEET

Some of the myths and the truth that dispels them, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its Re-registration Eligibility decision for DEET. 1


· Myth: DEET is highly toxic and causes cancer and genetic mutations :P


"In studies using laboratory animals, DEET generally has been shown to be of low acute toxicity. It is slightly toxic by the eye, dermal, and oral routes and has been placed in Toxicity Category III (the second lowest of the four categories) for these effects." "DEET has been classified as a Group D carcinogen (not classifiable as a human carcinogen)." "DEET is not mutagenic under the conditions of the test assays. ...the results are all negative."


· Myth: DEET is toxic to and causes seizures in children :P


"Based on the existing reproductive and developmental toxicity data, there is no evidence that would lead the Agency to believe that DEET is uniquely toxic to infants and/or children." "Seizure coinciding with DEET use can be expected, given an estimated 15,000-20,000 afebrile (occurring without a fever) seizures in children (aged 0-19 years) estimated annually and an estimated 17 million children using DEET perhaps 10 times a year." "Given only 14 to 32 cases since 1960 (the first case was reported in 1961) and 50-80 million people using DEET each year, the observed incidence of recognized seizures is about one per 100 million users." "There is no compelling information that exposure to DEET is causing an appreciable number of seizures, and data from animal studies do not support or predict symptoms experienced by children exposed to DEET."


· Myth: Because it is absorbed through the skin, products with a low concentration of DEET are safer B)


"Products that are formulated by diluting concentrated DEET with a solvent such as ethanol have a greater dermal absorption than products that are undiluted. This point is illustrated in the human dermal absorption study (MRID 42578501) in which a 15% DEET product yielded 20% dermal absorption while an undiluted DEET product yielded 12% dermal absorption."


· Myth: Products with a low concentration of DEET are safer, especially for children


"The scientific data reviewed by the Agency for DEET do not support the claim that certain concentration DEET formulations are safer than others. Also, there appears to be no correlation between the reported cases of seizure and the concentration of DEET that was used. All direct and indirect claims of child safety (e.g. "...for children," "...for kids.") must be removed from DEET labeling for those products to be reregistered."




"The use of effective insect repellents provides certain public health benefits. Application of DEET insect repellents to the skin and clothing can help prevent bites from ticks and other biting insects that may cause disease. Lyme Disease may develop from the bite of an infected deer tick, and mosquitoes can transmit malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, and encephalitis."


"The Agency has concluded that DEET insect repellents will generally not cause unreasonable risk to humans and the environment, However, because DEET is: (1) so widely used among the U.S. population, including children; (2) is one of the few residential-use pesticides that is applied directly to the skin; and (3) has been thought to be associated with incidents of seizure, the Agency believes that it is prudent to require improved label warnings and restrictions for DEET products. The agency believes that such common sense measures will be especially protective of children and other individuals more sensitive to chemical substances."


http://www.buggspray.com/myths.html :lol:

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I have to agree with a couple of the others. Sulfur and garlic are your best bets when trying to keep ticks off in the woods. I suggest dusting your pant legs with the sulfur (you can get it at the local feed store) and adding "odorless" garlic supplements in your daily diet. Garlic has several healthly qualities as well as keeping the ticks away.





"If something's worth doing..........you do it!"

Edited by texastracker
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This is not a testemonial to the benefits of Avon Skin-So-Soft, but recently we spent some time in Apalachicola and Port St. Joe, FL the oyster capital of the U.S. and hung out at a place the oystermen frequent. The store had SSS in 24 ounce bottles by the CASE!!! Now these guys spend all night out on the water. They might know a thing or two about biting bugs. Reckon I'll give it a try next time in the woods.

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I have no idea about what is best, but reading all this made my skin crawl. I had to get up and take a shower.


Where does bubba cache hang out that he would find so many ticks? When I was attempting Mine, All Mine, I caught one tick heading up my bare leg. Other than that, nothing – and I am one to charge into the thickets in search of shinny plastic trinkets without a thought of varmints of any kind.

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Where does bubba cache hang out that he would find so many ticks? 

This year in Alabama the ticks seem to be livin it up!! We pretty much had NO winter this year, so I guess they didn't die off or something. My dog had 3 on her in one week and stays in the house half the time! Even with Frontline on her! I have found a couple on my clothing from walking her down the driveway after work! I see the stinkin things all over deer that we "harvest" while cleaning them and have never got one on me that way. I HATE ticks!!

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You have me thinking. I looked at the CDC and here are some facts that I found interesting. I gotta warn ya, if you hang around on the CDC for long, you many never go outside again. Be sure to read the last comment and lets be sending in all of our geocaching ticks.


Mosquitos & DEET




Q. How does mosquito repellent work?

A. Female mosquitoes bite people and animals because they need the protein found in blood to help develop their eggs. Mosquitoes are attracted to people by skin odors and carbon dioxide from breath. Many repellents contain a chemical, N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET), which repels the mosquito, making the person unattractive for feeding. DEET does not kill mosquitoes; it just makes them unable to locate us. Repellents are effective only at short distances from the treated surface, so you may still see mosquitoes flying nearby. As long as you are not getting bitten, there is no reason to apply more DEET.


Q. Which mosquito repellent works the best?

A. The most effective repellents contain DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide), which is an ingredient used to repel pests like mosquitoes and ticks. DEET has been tested against a variety of biting insects and has been shown to be very effective. The more DEET a repellent contains the longer time it can protect you from mosquito bites. A higher percentage of DEET in a repellent does not mean that your protection is better—just that it will last longer. DEET concentrations higher than 50% do not increase the length of protection.


Ticks & Permethrin-containing Repellents (e.g., Permanone or deltamethrin)


FYI: The Ixodid and Argasid Tick Species can host the West Nile Virus.




Permethrin is highly effective as an insecticide and as a repellent. Permethrin-treated clothing repels and kills ticks, mosquitoes, and other arthropods and retains this effect after repeated laundering. There appears to be little potential for toxicity from permethrin-treated clothing. The insecticide should be reapplied after every five washings.



Got Ticks?




Anyone who removes a tick from a human host in Alabama can contribute it to the researchers’ continuing study (Mail Those Ticks to Us!). Researchers are particularly interested in receiving ticks from Barbour, Bullock, Cleburne, Crenshaw, Dale, Franklin, Geneva, Henry, Lamar, and Washington counties.

Edited by gubbool
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I could NOT find anything to treat clothing and gear at a major Wal-Mart.


I did find three products at The Academy Sports & Outdoor store. Each of these products had the active ingredient Permethrin and each had the about the same application, use, and warnings.


Each cost $10 and each included both the treatment product and a version of their insect repellent.


I chose the Sawyer product which is labeled Sawyer Premium Insect Repellent. This kit includes a 9 oz spray container labeled Clothing, enough to treat two sets of clothing, and 6 oz of controlled release 20% DEET in a lotion form to spread on face and neck.


The directions indicate the product should not be reapplied to clothing within 6 weeks.


"Oxygen, light and agitation break down the protection barrier, so the length of protection can vary. If you begin to see insects within your range, it is time to reapply. Just spray a non-staining permethrin formula all over clothing until wet. Allow 3-4 hours to dry, depending on humidity before wearing. Once dry, the product is odorless."


Information can be found at http://www.docforgey.com/

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:lol: I haven't tried this (haven't needed it, only picked up about a half-dozen ticks this year so far, San Francisco bay area, Ca) but at www.ems.com, there is Buzz Off clothing that is tick repellant. The repellant is actually applied on the fabric at the factory so you don't have to do it. My experience is that ticks get on my pants and crawl up my clothing ending up on the back of my neck (yuck!). Maybe with this clothing they won't want to crawl up. At the EMS site search for 'buzz off'.


Buzz Off Info:


:unsure: Buzz Off™ Insect Shield fabric repels mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, chiggers, midges, and other biting insects

:blink: Active ingredient is odorless permethrin, a man-made version of an insect repellent made from chrysanthemums

:lol: BUZZ OFF™ apparel provides effective protection from insects through 25 washings. The garments should be machine-washed separately using standard laundry detergent. The garments can be ironed, starched, or pressed without any adverse effects. Do not dry clean because this removes the active ingredient.


Oh also I carry a set of tick pliers in case they latch on (that's only happened once so far, knock on wood).


The other thing is that a park ranger told me that if you spend a lot of time outdoors you'd best be very familiar with the symptoms of Lyme disease so that you can get treated if you catch it (I copied this info from the web site http://www.ziplink.net/~jcwheel/lymediseas...ptoms_main.htm:


A typical early symptom of the disease is a slowly expanding red rash at the site of the tick bite. The rash usually appears within a week to a month after the bite and can slowly expand over several days. Sometimes there are multiple, secondary skin rashes. This large rash should not be confused with the harmless red spot that usually is seen immediately after receiving the bite. Many people have a small redness at the site of the bite, which is a normal sensitivity to the bite itself (if you are uncertain contact your doctor).

Although a majority of infected persons develop the classic red rash, many do not. Other common symptoms of early Lyme Disease -- with or without the rash -- are flu-like, and include fatigue, headache, neck stiffness, jaw discomfort, pain or stiffness in muscles or joints, slight fever, swollen glands, or reddening of the eyes.

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