There are many natural home remedy tick repellant products you can make at home using common aromatherapy oils, citrus fruits and more. There are also actions you can take to keep yourself and your pet free from these nasty, disease-carrying insects.
The Danger of Ticks
Ticks abound throughout the United States, with tick season starting as soon as the spring's warming trend starts and continuing all the way through the first heavy frost of fall. Depending on where you live, tick season usually peaks in the late spring and summer.
Ticks need a host animal to survive. Any mammal will do. In the wild, they feed on deer, mice, rabbits and other creatures. They attack through mouth parts and bite their host, drawing up blood. Bacteria found in their saliva can spread diseases back to the host, such as Lyme Disease and other diseases.
How Ticks Attach to Hosts
Contrary to popular belief, ticks do not fly or jump. Instead, they crawl up onto plants such as bushes, tall grass, trees or even buildings. They wait until they sense a warm-blooded host passing nearby and crawl quickly onto the host, attaching if the host brushes against them. That's why staying out of heavily wooded areas, thick or tall grass, or out of brushy areas during peak tick season is a great preventative measure. If you don't encounter a tick, you won't get a tick.
How to Remove a Tick
Once an attached tick is spotted on a pet or a person, it should be removed promptly.
- Grasp the tick near the head where it attached to the skin with a pair of tweezers.
- Pull back gently but firmly while grasping the tick. A slight twist may be necessary to get the tick to release.
- Once the tick is free, drop it into a jar with some rubbing alcohol to kill it.
If the tick bite area becomes red, swollen or infected, take your pet to a veterinarian. People should seek medical treatment if they notice a red rash or a bull's eye mark develop near the tick bite. For humans, any fever, rash or joint pain following a tick bite, even weeks or months later, should be reported to a physician.
Natural Tick Repellants and Remedies
Chemical tick repellants contain many harsh pesticides. If you're concerned about your health or your pet's health, try one of the following natural home remedy tick repellant suggestions below.
- Aromatherapy oils: Many oils repel insects. For people, apply the oil to the skin after mixing the following aromatherapy oils with a carrier oil such as almond oil. For pets, create a soft cloth collar for your pet from a strip of cotton or another material. Sew or glue a Velcro strip to it to secure it and provide a quick release if it somehow gets stuck. Next, soak the collar in a mixture of any three of the following oils: Basil, cedar, cinnamon, lemon, lavender or pennyroyal. Use one drop of any of the oils listed above, three oils maximum, added to pure almond oil. Mix together and soak the cloth collar in it, then attach to your pet. Veterinarian Nancy Crowley provides more suggestions on Of Spirit .
- Citrus: Citrus scents are time honored pest repellants. You can make your own natural repellant oil by boiling citrus peels, such as orange and lemon, in water. Let cool, then apply. For pets, note that cats often strongly dislike citrus fragrances. You may want to save this treatment for the dog!
- Rose geranium oil is also cited as a natural tick repellant. Find this wherever aromatherapy oils are sold.
- Combs: While combing your pet frequently won't prevent him or her from picking up ticks, you will be able to see and remove them promptly. Often a daily combing after you walk your dog or allow your pet outside time will remove ticks still crawling on top of the fur.You can just sweep them off with the comb. Combing the fur will also enable you to spot embedded ticks and remove them promptly.
- Prevention: For both people and pets, preventing ticks from attaching is the name of the game. Humans should wear light colored clothing so that ticks are easily spotted. Wear pants and long sleeves whenever you venture into tall grass or the woods to prevent ticks from attaching. Wear a cap or tie a scarf around long hair, since ticks can hide in hair and attach later. Brush ticks off before entering the home. Keep pets from wandering into tall grass and inspect their coats before bringing them indoors.
Natural Tick Repellants Safer Than Harsh Chemicals
None of these solutions are perfect, but neither are chemical-based tick repellants. Ticks are tough, hardy insects. But you can opt for natural repellants to keep yourself and your pet safe during peak tick season, and keep him even safer from the harsh chemicals found in commercial products.