Chiggers & Ticks

Having a large number of orchids outdoors, on benches in an open field, I have encounted two members of NJ's less attractive fauna:

  • Ticks are large enough to be seen, but they often jump on board before you see them.  Several times I have found them on my clothing or in my hear several hours after I got home.  In two instances, I felt them on my head in the middle of the night.
  • Chiggers, well known scourge of the South & Midwest, also appear in NJ.  The last couple of weeks they have feasted on my ankles, while I am outside watering.

In general I try to avoid chemicals as much as possible, but it appears that insect repellent is necessary when working outdoors in environments other than well manicured lawns.


Long sleeves, long pants, socks over pant legs, hat, gloves, closed shoes, tightly woven fabrics all help reduce the number of insect bites without having to resort to chemicals.


joan_crystal said:

Long sleeves, long pants, socks over pant legs, hat, gloves, closed shoes, tightly woven fabrics all help reduce the number of insect bites without having to resort to chemicals.

Which is bad when you're a big weenie about the heat, like me. 

I'm also a big weenie about wearing insect repellent.  


DEET, the old gold standard of insect repellent, consisently gets pretty good health marks although it's understandable to be concerned about chemicals on your body.


People claim ticks don’t drop down from trees, and I say ********.  I avoid touching brush as much as possible and only go underneath green stuff that is tall enough for me to not touch it without having to duck.  Twice in two years I’ve felt what seemed to be a raindrop hit my arm and looked to see a tick crawling on me.  My husband has had this happen to him too.  The supposed reason they won’t drop from trees is that they don’t climb that high.  No, they don’t.  But ticks also live on birds and squirrels.  Where do birds and squirrels live?  In trees.

I use permitherin spray on my clothing.  Supposedly it lasts six weeks or six washes, whichever comes first.  I have shoes that I wear a lot and that are also washable.  I sprayed them till soaking wet and then let them dry as directed.  A week later they got dirty and needed to be washed.  I decided to put them on my front walk in the sun to dry them faster.  I went out a few hours later and went to put them on when I saw a tick crawling around INSIDE the one shoe.

Personally I haven’t had any issues with my clothesline (my bad, never mention clotheslines on MOL  oh oh ) but someone else in town basically gave up on theirs because they kept finding ticks crawling on their clean laundry.  

One thing we’ve done which has helped a little is purposely scalping the lawn.  I only do it in the back where it can’t be seen from the street, so my husband doesn’t kill me.  But I’ve literally found ticks on me just from walking to the chicken coop and back in the morning in grass that was barely ankle high.

My cat (indoor only) and my dog both wear serestro collars.  I swear, if they had one for people I’d be wearing one too.  My kids don’t seem to sweat them though.  My one kid was mowing the lawn when I saw him scratch his head, pull something off, and then flick it after looking at it.  I called him over and asked him what it was.  He replied “it was just a dog tick.”  We have so many here that in health class they actually learn to identify tick species so they can tell a dog tick from a deer tick.  

Now I do understand that I live in a more heavily wooded area than many people on MOL, but even lifelong residents here in town have been saying that the problem is much worse in recent years, so there is definitely an increase in them.  And a personal anecdote, as a kid we used to play in the woods in Maine every summer.  Years of playing in the woods, almost no precautions, etc, I recall three ticks.  Go to the woods in Maine now and look at a tree from 50 yards and you’ll probably find five ticks crawling up your pants before you’re done.  


Found one on the screen door, I basically drowned that one in permitherin.  Then I found one questing on my shower curtain.   question


Oh, and very important public safety message.  Please IGNORE all the YouTube videos and other crap that show different ways of removing ticks.  Dish soap, spinning them in circles, suffocating them with vasoline, using heat to make them pull themselves out, etc.  Those methods traumatize the ticks which make them regurgitate which increases your risk of catching something (even dog ticks are capable of carrying disease, you just won’t catch Lyme from them).

To remove a tick use long, slender tweezers, grab firmly behind the head, and pull it out.  This method does the least amount of damage and decreases the risk of the tick regurgitating.  

  


spontaneous said:

Oh, and very important public safety message.  Please IGNORE all the YouTube videos and other crap that show different ways of removing ticks.  Dish soap, spinning them in circles, suffocating them with vasoline, using heat to make them pull themselves out, etc.  Those methods traumatize the ticks which make them regurgitate which increases your risk of catching something (even dog ticks are capable of carrying disease, you just won’t catch Lyme from them).

To remove a tick use long, slender tweezers, grab firmly behind the head, and pull it out.  This method does the least amount of damage and decreases the risk of the tick regurgitating.  

  

 That's what we do.  Tabby has had to remove at least 6 ticks from me this summer.


tomcat said:

Having a large number of orchids outdoors, on benches in an open field, I have encounted two members of NJ's less attractive fauna:

  • Ticks are large enough to be seen, but they often jump on board before you see them.  Several times I have found them on my clothing or in my hear several hours after I got home.  In two instances, I felt them on my head in the middle of the night.
  • Chiggers, well known scourge of the South & Midwest, also appear in NJ.  The last couple of weeks they have feasted on my ankles, while I am outside watering.

In general I try to avoid chemicals as much as possible, but it appears that insect repellent is necessary when working outdoors in environments other than well manicured lawns.

 Growing up in rural Ohio and playing amongst Queen Anne’s Lace, Chiggers were the bane of my childhood.  I have never encountered them in NJ, even while hiking on trails in Sussex County.   Just thinking about them makes me itch all over! 




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