top of page

Tips on How to Protect Yourself from Ticks with The Tickology Project at Cape Cod Cooperative Extension

Updated: Jun 17

Beach bags, guest schedules, traffic, sunscreen...typical worries during a Cape Cod summer. But there's also the ever-present fear of tick-borne illnesses surrounding our wonderful coastlines. We checked in with Extension to find the best information to share with you.


This article was written by County Entomologist (retired) Larry Dapsis.


As spring rolls along people are engaged in a lot of outdoor activities particularly as we navigate out of the pandemic.  And in New England we have to be mindful that there is a continuous exposure risk for a tick bite.  Check out this family portrait.  On the far right is an adult female deer tick and adult male center…adult stage tick season finished in late May.  On the left is a nymph stage tick and will be active into August.  


It is the size of a poppy seed…it can easily elude a tick check.  This is reflected in the case data shown in the chart below.   (MA Dept. Public Health) This stage is responsible for 85% of tick-borne diseases.  Note that there are cases of Lyme disease every month of the year.

And it’s not just about Lyme disease anymore.  Other significant diseases are babesiosis, anaplasmosis.  And we see a certain level of co-infection where ticks are causing more than one pathogen.


A personal protection plan is very straightforward.  When you are in tick habitat which could be in the woods or at the edge of your backyard, wearing light color long pants and shoes, vs sandals is a start.  When you come back indoors, sure a tick check and throw the clothes in the dryer for 20 minutes.


Repellents are important…skin repellents like DEET or picaridin is effective.  Avoid “all natural” products…there is no testing that shows they are safe or effective.


From my standpoint the most effective tool in the box is permethrin treated clothing and footwear.  It not only repels but actually kills the tick.  You can get this product at garden centers and sporting good stores.  I prepared a video on this ins and outs of permethrin.  It’s part of a ten-part series.  https://www.youtube.com/ticks.


Enjoy the outdoors, be tick aware and stay tick safe.


Looking for more information:


252 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page