I spend a lot of time in the Midwest and in New England wooded areas and I get asked all the time about what I do about ticks. I know that I don’t have the perfect answer but I hope that this will at least help. For starters, I don’t worry about ticks. I used to. I used to worry a lot about them but that was before I met Brian. Brian was a Northwoods fishing guide who had been living in the Northwoods of Minnesota for almost all of his life. I met him my first week in the Northwoods and I mentioned my discomfort with ticks. He laughed and told me about how as a young guy, he and his friends would have contests as to who could keep the tick on the longest. Yes! You read that right. They would see whose tick would stay on the longest and get the biggest. I almost threw up the first time I heard this and I had nightmares about creepy crawly creatures in my hair, but then I thought about it. If he could have ticks on him for extended periods of time, and still be a healthy happy man, then ticks probably were not as scary as I imagined. Now I am not saying that we should all leave ticks on our bodies and I am not saying that we should have no regard for the fact that they carry disease, but this conversation with Brian helped balance out my worry so I could respect ticks and yet I was no longer paranoid about them.
This new found respect enabled me to come up with a preventative plan around ticks, and still enjoy being in the woods as much as possible, even during tick season. This is our 3 step plan for what we do for ticks:
- Nightly tick check – if you find one, take it off properly and clean the bite site with a drop of lavender oil. If you don’t find one, do a little happy no tick dance.
- Wear light colored clothes in tick heavy areas – that way it is easier to see them if they are on your clothing.
- Use Eucalyptus and Lemongrass essential oils. We do this two ways. One is to put a drop on our shoes or our hat or our socks. The other way is to fill a 4 ounce small spray bottle with 12-15 drops of the oils combined and fill with water. Shake it up and spray on your hair and clothes before you go out in the woods. Other oils used by some include Rose Geranium and Peppermint, if you want to have variety.
Thus far, this simple 3 step plan has been working for us. In addition, we optimize our health so that if we do happen to come across a tick born illness, our immune systems are in the best possible place for managing it. I hope this helps you with ticks this season too!