Tick Repellents That Actually Work Part 2

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Tick Repellents That Actually Work Part 2

Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), which comes from the leaves of the Australian lemon-scented gum tree and its synthesized version, PMD (para-menthane-3,8-diol), are both approved by the EPA as effective tick repellents. Known by brand names such as Citrosynthol, Citrepel, and Citriodiol, these products are essential oils but are made when OLE is organically processed to increase its effectiveness. One study has shown that PMD is as effective as the chemical-based repellent DEET when used in similar quantities. “Oil of lemon eucalyptus smells nice and is natural, and it will provide protection for up to seven hours,” says Bobbi Pritt, MD, professor of laboratory medicine and pathology at the Mayo Clinic. “It’s comparable to DEET, which protects for up to eight hours, but DEET breaks down plastics, such as your watch band or electronics, while oil of lemon eucalyptus does not.” To find the best tick repellent for your needs, the EPA has a search tool that lets you select products based on criteria such as ingredient.

Mice are carriers of the bacterium that causes Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases,and one alternative to stopping the spread of the disease is to turn the hosts into tick killers. When placed around areas where mice live—stone walls, wood piles, along the foundation of your home, and grassy and wooded areas—mice enter the tubes, collect the Permethrin-treated cotton nesting material stashed inside, and bring it back to their nests. The Permethrin then binds to the oils on the fur of the mice, killing the ticks when they try to latch on. While the Permethrin does not harm the mice or the environment, it is toxic to fish and aquatic life. Tick tubes are one way to combat the number of ticks in your yard, but using them alone will not eradicate ticks completely.

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Homeowners who prefer to avoid using chemicals on their lawn have turned to alternatives such as garlic oil, which one study showed helped to reduce the number of nymphal ticks. Companies such as Connecticut-based Greenskeeper offer a garlic oil application, diluted to a strength of 2.5 gallons of oil per 200 gallons of water when it is sprayed, as well as a solution that mixes garlic oil with cedar oil, another proven organic tick repellent. While garlic has been shown to repel ticks, it doesn’t kill them, and the garlic oil breaks down more quickly than synthetic treatments, meaning you will need more applications to keep ticks at bay.

Tick Repellents That Actually Work Part 2
Tick Repellents That Actually Work Part 2

More Tick Repellents That Actually Work

It’s not just people, dogs, and cats that benefit from tick repellent; chipmunks and mice can use it too. But the trick, of course, is how to get it on them. That’s exactly what researchers at the Tick Project are working on. The Tick Control System (TCS), is a small box that attracts small mammals, such as mice and chipmunks, the rodents primarily responsible for infecting ticks with the Lyme bacterium. Upon entering the box, the animal receives a small dose offipronil, the active ingredient in many tick treatments used on dogs and cats. While the treatment kills the ticks, it has no negative effects on people, pets, or the environment.

Naturally occurring in forest soils in eastern North America, Metarhizium anisopliae is a fungus that has been shown to be lethal to ticks. Researchers at Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies are studying this fungus to see if it can be used to reduce ticks on a larger scale. Applied as a spray that’s made from the spores of the native entomopathogenic fungus (a fungus that acts as a parasite of insects and kills or disables them), known as Met52,commercially, it has been shown to kill ticks, and according to the EPA, it is not harmful to humans or the environment. Researchers at Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies have found that the fungus is effective when it’s delivered to the nesting materials inside mice nests. Stay tuned for further developments

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