Keeping a DIY tick repellent on hand for your family to use makes good sense because ticks suck. Literally. I’m saying these little buggers attach to your skin, use their tiny tick mouths to latch on, burrow into your skin, and suck the blood out of you. They are nasty critters. Their bites are painful and they cause disease. Therefore, applying repellent before you spend time outdoors in the summer is a must!
Of course, there are commercially available insect repellents. However, they contain DEET. Some people are sensitive to this ingredient. Asthmatics are warned to avoid it. So what are you to do?
I am sharing an easy DIY tick repellent spray that you can mix at home as needed. This is not an original “recipe” but a tried and true home remedy. It’s Mom approved as a safe and effective DEET-free alternative to commercial sprays. You probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry and can whip up a spray bottle right now.
WHAT ARE TICKS?
While ticks are sometimes synonymous with fleas, that’s actually not correct. Ticks are an arachnid. That’s right. They are a spider. To be exact, they are a bloodsucking spider that feasts on the blood of both birds and mammals. They require blood to nourish themselves and continue their life cycle.
Ticks are hard to spot when they first attach because they are tiny until they partake in their blood feast.
WHY TICKS ARE DANGEROUS:
To put it simply, ticks carry disease. While not all tick bites result in disease, ticks must be removed immediately from the skin and the area of the bite disinfected. Not all sub-species of ticks carry the same diseases. Ticks may transmit the following dangerous diseases:
- Lyme Disease (North American species)
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (North American species)
- Colorado Tick Fever (North American species)
- Hemorragic Fever (African species)
- African Tick Bite Fever (African species)
- Queensland Tick Typhus (Australian species)
- Heartland Virus (North American species)
While I’ve listed the most common ailments spread by ticks with their area of origin, these are not confined to just those areas. That’s because it is common for a tick to hitch a ride on the back of a bird. Therefore, they can travel far distances.
HOW TO REMOVE A TICK:
Rather than explaining, I am sharing a great YouTube Video that is short and to the point. It shows you how to extract a tick easily and quickly.
NATURAL TICK CONTROL:
Before you break out the sprays, bear in mind that you do have a few options for natural tick control.
- Chickens – Chickens love to eat ticks. If you live in a rural area, free-range chickens may be a wonderful option. You get natural tick control and lots of free range eggs.
- Guinea Fowl – I never understood why people keep guineas until I moved to North Carolina. Guineas are voracious eaters of insects. Their favorite food appears to be the tick. To the guinea, a tick is a delicacy that they just can’t get enough of! Like the chickens, free range guineas offer the best tick control.
- Bats – I am the first to admit. I’m scared of bats. At the first sign of bats in the evening, I run for the indoors. But the thought of pest control has inspired me to reconsider and I am planning to raise bat boxes in my yard soon. Bats are great controllers of insects if you attract the right species. And the species in my area are the type that feast on insects.
DIY TICK REPELLENT SPRAY
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 2 tbl vegetable oil
- 1 tbl peppermint oil
Mix all these ingredients in a spray bottle. Ticks hate the smell of vinegar. Vegetable oil contains a small amount of sulfur which is a natural tick repellent. The peppermint oil makes the mixture better smelling for you, but it’s not necessary if you don’t have this ingredient. This is all natural and safe to apply to pets, children, and most allergy sufferers. Some people also claim that this repels those other bloodsuckers. Mosquitoes. It’s certainly worth a try!
Of course, spray it liberally on your skin as well as on your clothing. It’s always best to wear pants and long sleeves in tick-infested areas. But in the summer, who can stand that?
Head to your kitchen and mix up a batch of DIY tick repellent spray so you can protect your children and pets. Remember, ticks are dangerous. They cause painful bites, irritate the skin, and spread disease. Ticks suck. Take these steps to avoid them.