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How can I keep ticks away?


Q. How can I keep ticks away? I love to go hiking, but every time I go outside, I always get attacked by ticks! What can I do?
— Ticked-Off Nicolas, Nevada, Iowa

A. I feel your pain. Not only are ticks annoying, their bites are itchy and sometimes can even cause some pretty nasty illnesses like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

First off, try to stay in the middle of well-established trails. Ticks like to climb up your legs, so as soon as you go walking through tall grasses or bushwhacking through the brush, you’re bound to get some ticks hitching a ride.

One way to deter those ticks is to wear long socks tucked into long pants and a long shirt and use bug repellent with 10- to 30-percent concentration of DEET. Also, you can try clothing pretreated with a repellent called permethrin, like Insect Shield (, or treat clothes yourself with a permethrin spray from

Then once you’re home, take a shower and do a full tick check. Be sure to wash your clothes and dry them in the dryer — the high heat will kill any remaining ticks.

NOTE: Ten percent DEET provides protection for about two hours; 30 percent protects for about five hours. Choose the lowest concentration that will provide the required length of coverage. Wash off insect repellent once you return indoors. DEET is a strong eye irritant and can even melt some plastics and damage some fabrics. Picaridin is safer but doesn’t last as long. Reapply it every hour.

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8 Comments on How can I keep ticks away?

  1. I have had Lyme Disease. I went up to Itaska (the start of the Mississippi River) and I didn’t know until one month after having headaches EVERY day and i went to the doctor and they took my blood and i tested positive for Lyme Disease. So really do tick checks. ask me for other questions

  2. Coconut oil on your skin also seems to repel ticks.

  3. Carry a metal tick wrench and get under an embedded tick with the slotted end. Instead of a straight lift, revolve the tool keeping it flat on your skin. This breaks the tick’s grip without squeezing and injecting tick guts into yourself.

  4. Sports hunter // June 16, 2016 at 9:08 pm // Reply

    Try this if you are going to go to the woods or high grassy areas put diesel fuel on your shoes or boots just a little is all it takes the bugs will run they hate it be sure to wipe your hands on your pants as well it will wash out . Works real good

  5. MiniMeMarine // March 24, 2016 at 1:59 pm // Reply

    cool all I was going to do was use a tick key.

  6. Wow, I have always had this problem with ticks. Thank you so much😆

  7. foxtrot 883849593738493 // March 8, 2016 at 7:51 pm // Reply

    I just use a bug repelent called “DEEP WOODS” and it does not work for tick repelent when i have a friend over and we like to go into my back woods. so what would you recomend for me?

  8. greasy sun screen keeps the bugs off and the ticks from easily climbing on you. I use an thick layer of sun screen down my legs. And cover my pants in deet based repellent. Sunscreen is much safer than deet and keeps me from getting sun burn. Do a quick tick check several times a day and a full body check before sunlight fades when in tick country.

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