Cases of tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease are on the rise. Minimize your chances of being bitten with these prevention strategies.

As the weather gets warmer and we spend more time outdoors, it’s important to remember that the ticks are out! Ticks can transmit diseases when they bite.

black and white drawing of deer tick on the tip of a leaf

A blacklegged tick (aka deer tick) questing for its next blood meal. Illustration by Beverly Duncan, excerpted from Preventing Lyme & Other Tick-Borne Diseases.

There are more than 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease diagnosed each year. Lyme and other tick-borne diseases like anaplasmosis and babesiosis are on the rise. Be careful and practice the following strategies in order to prevent a tick bite. 

Reduce tick habitat around your home.

black and white illustration of Japanese barberry branch

Japanese barberry harbors both mice and ticks. Control of barberry has been shown to help prevent the spread of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Illustration by Beverly Duncan, excerpted from Preventing Lyme & Other Tick-Borne Diseases.

Rake leaves, clear brush and debris from grass and gardens, keep grass short, trim shrubs and low branches, remove Japanese barberry, and create wide grass-free paths in your yard.

Make tick tubes.

black and white illustration of mouse carrying contents of tick tube in mouth

Tick tubes are an excellent intervention to target ticks in areas where mice nest. Place these biodegradable cardboard tubes filled with permethrin-treated cotton in areas where mice are found. Illustration by Beverly Duncan, excerpted from Preventing Lyme & Other Tick-Borne Diseases.

For a 93.6% reduction in exposure to infected ticks, place tick tubes — biodegradable cardboard tubes filled with permethrin-treated cotton — in mouse habitat in your yard. The mice will take the cotton to build their nests. The permethrin will not harm the mice or other animals, but it will kill ticks and, most important, at the larval stage. It is the larvae that most often feed on mice, and the permethrin kills them before they have a chance to acquire pathogens from the mice and before they reach the nymph and adult stages, when they might use humans as hosts.

Reduce deer traffic.

Deer enjoy grassy or leafy areas and will feed on Japanese yews, honeysuckle, and fruit trees. To reduce deer traffic, use high, sturdy fencing and add plants to your garden that deer will find unpalatable.

Treat pets.

Pet owners have almost two times the risk of finding ticks crawling on them and about one-and-a-half times the risk of finding ticks attached to them. Use an anti-tick product on your pets and conduct tick checks when they come in from the outdoors.

Treat clothes with permethrin.

You are 73.6 times less likely to get a tick bite when you treat your socks and sneakers with permethrin. For longer-lasting professional permethrin treatment, consider sending some clothing, or a sheet you can use on a picnic, to Insect Shield.

Use tick repellent.

Cedarcide Tickshield is an effective natural choice for our skin. Remember to apply every 1 to 2 hours. 

Create a tick preparedness kit.

black and white illustration of tick preparedness kit contents

Illustration by Beverly Duncan, excerpted from Preventing Lyme & Other Tick-Borne Diseases

Be prepared if you get a tick bite! Create your own tick preparedness kit: Tick Twister by O’Tom, a small ziplock bag for collecting the tick, andrographis tincture for the bite wound, homeopathic Ledum palustre 30C, homeopathic Apis mellifica 30C, and tick bite prophylactic formula specific to the types of ticks in your region.

Alexis Chesney

Alexis Chesney, ND, is a naturopathic physician and acupuncturist specializing in the treatment of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. She serves on the board of directors… See Bio

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Preventing Lyme & Other Tick-Borne Diseases

by Alexis Chesney and Richard Horowitz

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