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If you tend to be in heavily forested areas that are dotted with tall grass, then you may want to opt for a natural tick repellent. Unlike conventional tick sprays and creams, a natural tick repellent will deter ticks from clinging onto you without the harsh chemicals. By using a combination of eucalyptus oil and neem oil — traditionally known to repel ticks — and protective clothing, you can minimize the chance of encountering a Lyme-disease-carrying tick.
Ticks tend to be turned off by the pungent smell of eucalyptus. There are many ways that you can incorporate this plant-derived oil as a natural tick repellent. When taking a hike during hours when the sun is high, adding a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil into a palm-full of sunscreen can help to ward off ticks while proactively protecting yourself from the sun's rays. If you are wearing shorts that exposes your legs, then adding a light layer of undiluted eucalyptus oil will ward off ticks as well. Due to the slippery properties of the eucalyptus oil, ticks will have a more difficult time grasping and puncturing the skin.
Neem oil is derived from compressed neem seeds, creating an oil that is dark amber in color. Popularly noted as being an effective insecticide, neem oil can help to protect you and your pets from ticks. Due to the very strong and potentially nauseating smell of neem oil, you will have to mix it with an essential oil before using it on yourself or your pets.
In a spray bottle, pour in 10 parts jojoba oil to one part neem oil. Jojoba oil has similar properties to the sebum produced by your body, allowing the mixture to be easily absorbed into the skin. Shake the spray bottle and lightly spray both yourself and/or your pet with this natural tick repellent, making sure to avoid the face area. If the smell still repulses you, then add in a drop of your favorite essential oil like lavender or lemongrass.
Oils that are natural tick repellents can help to ward off ticks, but clothing is usually your first physical line of defense. Weather permitting, wear high socks and long pants made from durable materials. Tuck the pants into the socks and then secure the area with either clear tape or some other material that will close off any gaps. This will prevent ticks from dropping in and taking refuge underneath your clothing.
I agree with the article that if you use clothing effectively it will probably be all the protection you need against ticks. I spend a lot of time walking through the woods and tall grass, so I do see ticks on my clothes from time to time, but I tuck in all clothing, including my pants into my socks, so I am well protected.
When I know I am going to be walking in the woods or walking through fields, I wear long sleeves, even when the temperatures are warm. I also make sure my shirts are fitted or buttoned at the wrists so the ticks cannot easily climb up my arms.
I've found that white or light
colored clothing works better because you can see the ticks more easily and brush them off before they have a chance to get to your skin. And be sure to wear some type of hat that will protect your head. Hair is a great hiding place for ticks.
Some insect repellent and sun screen mixtures include some of the oils mentioned in the article so these are good to use in addition to your clothing barrier.
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