Summer weather is kicking into high gear — and those lazy, hazy days mean camping trips, playing outside, and enjoying Mother Nature in oh-so-many ways. It also means tick season is kicking into high gear, so prepare to stay safe.Lest you think taking a Bic lighter to that pesky tick after it’s dug in is a good idea (it’s not, according to USA Today), you might want to try something natural before lighting your arm hairs on fire. Here are eight natural ways to repel the ticks so you don’t have to worry about digging them out:
1. Eat more garlic
While ticks are mostly attracted to carbon dioxide, add a little garlic to your bloodstream to help keep them at bay. Take a garlic supplement or eat a bit more of it on your food. This is also a safe option for pets (though use caution, as too much garlic can cause anemia in dogs, according to Dogs Naturally.)
2. Cut your grass
Keep ticks out of your yard by keeping the grass short (including the edges). Make sure to toss the grass clippings into your compost pile. Ticks like to hide in long grass and weeds.
3. Create a buffer zone
Do you live near a wooded area? You can reduce the presence of ticks by lining your property with gravel or wood chips. It’ll help deter those pests from marching onto your property.
4. Buy chickens
If you’re cool with housing a few feathery friends, try investing in chickens. You’ll get a healthy supply of eggs and, as an added bonus, chickens will eat ticks. Better yet, try guinea fowl, which are even better at bug hunting and have actually been proven to reduce the tick population, according to My Pet Chicken.
5. Rub yourself down with natural oils
Deter ticks by skipping chemical-laden bug sprays and opting for a natural oil like eucalyptus, lemongrass or lavender. You can rub the oils on your skin or create a spray with a little oil and some water.
6. Put up a bird feeder
Birds are also keen insect finders and can help minimize the tick population in your yard. Set up a bird feeder and/or bird bath to attract local flyers. Just remember to keep the area around the feeder debris-free to keep any ticks brought in by birds.
7. Use diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth is a white powder composed of tiny aquatic organisms. It’s nontoxic to humans and animals, and it isn’t a poison, meaning bugs won’t become immune to it. Instead, the diatomaceous earth kills bugs via dehydration. Note: It will kill both good and bad bugs, so put it only in known problem areas, as advised by The Balance.
8. Pest control is key
The mice population is a major player in the presence of ticks, since ticks like to climb on a mouse to enjoy a blood dinner. Keep ticks away by keeping mice at bay.
Ticks make lousy company. Besides just being annoying, they carry diseases like Lyme isease, West Nile isease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia. If you do find a tick, use tweezers to remove it from your skin, clean the area with rubbing alcohol and snuff out the tick by flushing it down the toilet or dumping it in alcohol, according to the CDC.Don’t forget to share these tips with your friends and family on Facebook.