Get ready for spring. Get ready for ticks.

Get ready for spring. Get ready for ticks.

Spring is here, and soon so will ticks. Now is a good time to brush up on your knowledge of ticks and how to minimise your risk of infection.

Ticks are small arachnids, which live off the blood of birds, mammals, and YOU. They are second only to mosquitoes for carrying diseases to humans.

Ticks are present in most parts of the country and are most abundant in long grass, rough vegetation, bracken and woodland. They may be present throughout the year but are particularly active between May and October and especially at times of warm weather.

Whilst irritating, most tick bites are, essentially, harmless. However, Lyme disease is an illness which can develop in humans who are bitten by a tick, as is Tick Borne Encephalitis (TBE).

Homemade Repellents.

Repellent for pets:

For pets, add 1 cup of water to a spray bottle, followed by 2 cups of distilled white vinegar. Ticks hate the smell and taste of vinegar, and will be easily be repelled by this ingredient alone. Then, add two spoonfuls of vegetable or almond oil, which both contain sulfur (another natural tick repellent).

To make a repellent that will also deter fleas, mix in a few spoonfuls of lemon juice, citrus oil, or peppermint oil, any of which will repel ticks and fleas while also creating a nicely scented repellent. Spray onto the pet’s dry coat, staying away from sensitive areas including eyes, nose, mouth, and genitals.

When outdoors for an extended period, spray this solution on two to three times per day.

Repellent for you:

In a spray bottle, mix 2 cups of distilled white vinegar and 1 cup of water. To make a scented solution so you do not smell like bitter vinegar all day, add 20 drops of your favorite essential oil.

Eucalyptus oil is a calm, soothing scent that also works as a tick repellent, while peppermint and citrus oils give off a strong crisp scent that also repel ticks.

After mixing the solution, spray onto clothing, skin, and hair before going outdoors.

Reapply every four hours to keep ticks at bay, and examine your skin and hair when back inside to make sure no ticks are on the body.

Ticks and your health: Information about tick bite risks and prevention. (PDF)