Chigger & tick treatment - Missouri

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by terri46355, Jun 10, 2005.

  1. terri46355

    terri46355 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks to everyone for the suggestions on tick and chigger repellants and control. I am very interested in getting some Guineas or Muscovie ducks to help control the tick population. If anyone knows where I can get them in Illinois, Indiana, or Southern Missouri please let me know. Thanks again!

    We are purchasing a property in the West Plains area. Is there anything to treat the property close to the house with that kills ticks and chiggers?

    Being from Indiana, I'm not used to spraying bug spray on my legs everytime I leave the house, but I don't want to be a dinner host to chiggers, either.

    Another question: Do they bother the horses, dogs, and cats as much as humans?

    Any advice or suggestions are appreciated.
     
  2. Guinea mama

    Guinea mama Well-Known Member

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    I don't use sprays on my yard, several reasons really. 1) it would cost too much
    2) I am afraid it would harm my animals and birds and 3) I have guineas so I have no need for bug sprays :haha:

    Seriously, ticks are really bad this year here in Iowa but we have none around our house and yard. Why? Because we have guineas. They have kept us tick and chigger and flea and virtually grasshopper free since we got them last year. If you leave our land watch out, tickorramma. Before guineas we would be picking at least 5 ticks off every time we came in. Now the only time we pick off ticks is if we venture into the woods and then they are really thick.

    So my recommendation as you can probably tell is to go natural and get guineas, then you have natural bug eaters, good entertainment, and if you can find the nest, yummy eggs. :haha:
     

  3. terri46355

    terri46355 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the suggestion. I'd rather have birds that eat the bugs, than use chemicals. You're right about the ticks this year. Rarely do we have ticks where I live, but this year I've picked 2 off of me and 2 off one of the dogs!

    Is it me, or doesn't it seem that every year there is one predominant insect? And every other year you'll have a good crop. . .

     
  4. MarleneS

    MarleneS Well-Known Member

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    Guinea mama - How many guineas do you have and how do you keep them in your yard? We live in Northern Arkansas - and after a very mild winter we have more ticks then I've ever encountered before...we also have guinea. but apparently not enough of them to take care of all the ticks :( They also go visit our neighbors - who "like" having them around.

    Terri -- to answer you question - there is something chemical you can spread on your property - but I'm with guinea mama on using chemicals. And yes, they are as much a problem for stock and pets as they are to people...other then the stock that eats them.

    If you keep your lawn mowed they are not as much trouble as in the woods and pastures.

    I probably should list all the good things about the Ozarks that make putting up with those nasty creatures okay...but maybe not...I've noticed more and more people relocating here already.

    Hugs
    Marlene
     
  5. BaronsMom

    BaronsMom Well-Known Member

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    Keep lawns - farmyard mowed - shrubbery trimmed. Chiggers prefer moist, shaded areas with heavy vegetation to breed (adult stage is completely harmless, it is the immature stage that bites). Parasitic on many animals, including rodents, birds, poultry, rabbits, livestock, snakes, toads.

    You don't really want to know what chiggers do to feed on our "juices". But they are long gone, once you feel the itch.

    Ticks prefer tall grass areas or thickets/shrubs where they wait for you to pass by. So again, mow, mow, mow...

    When we go out to work in tall grass, no shorts. Blue Jeans, White socks over the jeans (so you can see the ticks), hat....and we do spray repellents with DEET on our clothes. Not worth the itch from the chiggers or the chance of disease from ticks.

    When we come in, everyone showers - clothes go in the laundry. And nothing more bonding than a family "tick check"

    As for dogs/cats, we use Frontline or similar product on them.
     
  6. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Try this to get rid of the itch from chiggars, Use a wash rag soakeked in bleach wipe the effected area ,It kills the chiggars that are on you. Or try bathing in hot water with a cup of bleach added ,It works.
     
  7. Guinea mama

    Guinea mama Well-Known Member

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    We have 17. Soon to be up to 25. We have 5 acres and they do a pretty good job as I have yet to find one on anyone who stays in the yard ;) Sometimes the dog gets them but he tends to go out of the yard :haha: Mine visit the neighbors too and still do a good job at our place. In fact when they were younger they would make a half mile loop every afternoon and visit 6 neighbors in that loop. Neighbors don't mind at all. Since they are close to a year and laying eggs who knows where, I have found that they basicly stay on our property. Of course we have varied terrain of pasture and tall weeds and woods and vegetable gardens and swingsets and a tall roof :rolleyes: and bird feeders :haha: so they basicly have everything that makes guineas happy. And they keep me happy cause they eat all my bugs. Except them gnats and mosquitos :grump: Oh well thats what I have wild birds and bats for :D
     
  8. BaronsMom

    BaronsMom Well-Known Member

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    Be very careful putting bleach on your body. We have people who contact our office (Extension) who have put bleach and other harsh chemicals on their bodies only to cause secondary problems by irritating their skin!

    Just showering with soap and water will wash off any chiggers - they easily come off. Chiggers take several hours to settle down in a nice tight spot to feed. So you may have time to wash them off before they find the elastic waist band on your boxers. And remember, once you see the welt or start to itch, the chiggers have dropped off and are long gone...
     
  9. Sparticle

    Sparticle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I am the resident chigger queen! Usually it takes 2-3 weeks to get rid of the itch and thanks to some great advice from people on this board, I've gotten it down to 5 days. The last 2 days weren't even that bad.

    1 Cup baking Soda
    2 Cups epsom salts
    in a warm tub and soak every night. Air dry and then apply Chigarid or clear fingernail polish to each. NO SCRATCHING. They are down to just 200+ tiny little red dots. I counted 118 on my left leg alone!
     
  10. Debbie at Bount

    Debbie at Bount Well-Known Member

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    I make a lotion with different essential oils that help repel ticks and chiggers but....I live on a ranch with lots of woods near the house. There are times I would pick 90 ticks at one time off each dog. Both dogs have had tick fever. So...I finally used a chemical around the house and yes it costs but I feel the animals are safer now. I still use chemicals on the dogs too because this is a very bad area for ticks. I can't go to the barn and back with out checking for ticks on my body.

    I use a chemical spray on my horses too. I know I sound terrible but if you saw the problems in this area, I think you would end up with the chemicals too. Or else rocky Mountain Spotted Fever!~

    Debbie
     
  11. Ozarkquilter46

    Ozarkquilter46 Well-Known Member

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    I keep a small bottle of dog flee and tick shampo in the shower for my husband. when he comes in from the woods sometimes he can have 20 or more on him. He just uses it and it dosn't seem to bother his skin at all. It also dosn't leave a sore like it dose when you pull them off. If you just have one or two I use a q-tip in the dog shampo and then dab it on the tick. They sure let go in a hurry. I live north of West Plain about 20 miles in Mountain View. Welcome to the area. You picked a great place to move to. Out here if you want to do anything you have to go to WP. LOL I go down there once or twice a week.
     
  12. Sparticle

    Sparticle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I can completely understand. When I first moved out here I vowed to do everything all naturally. After getting tore up from the floor up for 2 years with poison ivy, mosquitos, chiggers, ticks, ants etc... now I'm looking at home depot for the strongest stuff they've got. I still would rather use all natural, but me and my animals are miserable. I'm very interested in the guineas solution though and am going to look up all I can on that. I wonder if my dogs would chase them and drive them crazy?

    Anyone have guineas and dogs in the same area?
     
  13. terri46355

    terri46355 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the advice. What is the active chemical ingredient in spray you use?

    Being from an area that is plentiful in mosquitos, I didn't know about chiggers and seed ticks until I saw the ticks on me several hours after being in tall grass. I immediately took a shower, but the next morning my legs were covered with chigger bites.

    The itch was so bad that I had to drink children's Benedry to sleep at night! And yes, it lasted over 2 weeks.
     
  14. terri46355

    terri46355 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    MO Ozarks
    Thanks for the advice. What is the active chemical ingredient in spray you use?

    Being from an area that is plentiful in mosquitos, I didn't know about chiggers and seed ticks until I saw the ticks on me several hours after being in tall grass. I immediately took a shower, but the next morning my legs were covered with chigger bites.

    The itch was so bad that I had to drink children's Benedryl to sleep at night! And yes, it lasted over 2 weeks. :waa:
     
  15. Guinea mama

    Guinea mama Well-Known Member

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    Yep got 2. Coondog and lab. The lab is old and could care less about the birds, in fact they will perch right above her on the porch railing and she sleeps right thru their racket or will look up and them and go right back to sleep. Coondog was scared by their racket one day as the came upon him while he was on his chain (22 strong :haha: ) and squawk up a storm at him. He hid in his house, they did that a couple of days and he has since decided to leave guineas be. I would not let them out unsupervised with any dog until they are at least 12 weeks old as they are too little and too much of a temptation until then.
     
  16. countribound

    countribound Happy in Houston

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    Thanks. This has been very helpful as my husband and I will be moving onto our land very soon. My only remedies for chiggers were clear fingernail polish and sulphur and I am very apprehensive about dealing with ticks.
     
  17. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    Look at your local feed store or Wal-Mart for whichever granules they sell for lawn tick control. Spread with a fertilizer spreader.

    Get Guineas, too. We need some more, down to two thanks to the foxes. Raise them in confinement in your yard until they get big and brave enough to fly, then they will hang out at your place. Toss out a scoop of small chunk dry dogfood to them each morning, and they will patrol the yard.

    Dogs need Frontline, a flea and tick collar, and tick checks every couple of days. Even with the chemicals, ticks will still get on them. The tick will probably be dead when you find it, but it should be removed so that it doesn't irritate the dog's skin.

    Most in my family use Deep Woods Off, but it makes my stomach roll, so I use the Fresh Scent Off. Still have to do checks, however. You just can't stop them all. You can get products with more DEET in them, but use those on your clothes only, not bare skin.
     
  18. MarleneS

    MarleneS Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone use Avon's Skin So Soft as a tick repellent? Someone must be because now Avon actually manufactors and sells an Skin So Soft Bug Stray,unscented SPF 15 which is very water resitant and also has vitamin E. It does not contain DEET - and there is no need to wash is off when returning indoors - and it's meant to be used directly on the skin. I'm still using the original scented bath oil. The one in a spray bottle. After showering and while still damp I spray some of the oil on a damp wash cloth and wipe down everything but the hair on my head. If you put the oil in your bath tub it leaves a ring - not to mention seems to waste alot of the oil.

    Hope this helps.
    Marlene
     
  19. KBG

    KBG New Member

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    Debbie would you be so kind to share your lotion ingredients. We have had a tough time out here in San Diego, CA. with chiggers and ticks and some other type of insect we can not see but it hurts when they bite you.

    kathy
     
  20. exegeses

    exegeses Well-Known Member

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    Here's how our family handles the 'bug problem' naturally.

    We're in SW Missouri and have had great success with guineas as bug control. They greatly reduce the number of ticks. We don't use any sprays AT ALL (don't want to use chemicals). We're down to only 2 guineas now (had about a dozen last year) because the hens nest in the woods and the local critters (neighbor dogs, possums, etc.) end up getting them. So we've had a few more ticks this year.

    Their bites don't seem as bad as the chigger bites, though, so it's not a big deal to us if you get bit by one. Yes, they do transmit lyme disease and such, but they have to be feeding on you for 36 hours! before you can get the disease. When they bite, it starts to itch within an hour or so, and we just pull them off quickly (grab right next to your skin and pull with [in the direction of] the tick). You also get to know the feel of one crawling on you - it tickles a little - so in the summer you learn to look before you rub a little tickle - it's usually a tick and you've gotten him before he gets you! Also, I've heard many people say that ticks are worse in the woods than in fields, but it seems to me that's not so. When we moved here about 5 yrs ago from the Big City, we were real squemish about the ticks. Since then we've aclimated and I think part of the tick thing is mental - it seems icky to actually pull a bug off yourself! Now when I do it, I do it quick and just don't 'think' about it and it's not as bad!

    Now, for the dreaded chigger! The guineas don't seem to help with those - probably because they're so small. If I'm in the yard in the summer, I'll wear shorts and flip flops and dust my legs (from the knees down), ankles, and feet with powdered sulpher. Chiggers HATE it and it works beautifully! If I'm going to be pulling weeds, I'll also dust my arms up to my shoulders. A quick shower when you come in and the sulpher rinses right off. The reason I don't like wearing socks & shoes is that the chiggers like tight places and it's hard to dust all the cracks & crevices. But if I'm going to wear them for some reason (work where flip flops could hinder or be a danger), I'll dust my legs, feet & ankles first, then my socks also before I put shoes on.

    Gunieas with dogs - it depends on the dogs, but I've also seen our guineas chase fraidy-cat stray dogs off! Should be fine.

    We got some muscovies last summer because I heard they were great for fly control. Well, we must have gotten bum 'scovies because they don't seem to eat many bugs at all (a lot of grass - their 'exhaust' is usually green) and my 2 hens don't seem to lay much, let alone sit and have babies! Very frustrating considering everyone I talk to who has 'scovies seem to have an abundance of them because they're 'so prolific'! Not so with us!!! Arhhhhhh!

    If you have chickens and let them free range, I think they do about as much good as the guineas. The problem is that they're much more destructive unless your garden is WELL protected! Their scratching makes horibble messes. Guineas like an occasional dust bath but they don't scratch like the chickens.

    Essential oils that repel biting bugs:
    citronella
    rosemary
    cedarwood
    eucalyptus
    lavendar
    lemongrass
    pine
    peppermint
    pennyroyal

    Here's a recipe for a cream I made last year. I know it works for mosquitos (they'll still buzz around you, but they stay off), but can't say for sure about the others. (I'd rather brave the few ticks we have and use sulpher for the chiggers - I just personally don't like to use creams unless I have to, and when mosquitos are bad, I have to!)

    Bug Repellant Cream
    1/2 c. light oil (like sweet almond, apricot kernal, hazelnut, grapeseed, etc.) or 1/4 c. of 2 different kinds
    1 t. coconut oil
    2 T. grated packed beeswax
    1/8 t. borax
    1/4 c. distilled water
    essential oils:
    20 drops eucalyptus
    20 drops citronella
    10 drops lavendar
    10 drops lemongrass
    10 drops cedarwood
    8 drops pine
    8 drops peppermint
    5 drops rosemary

    Gently melt the beeswax over low heat. When melted, add the oils (NOT the essential oils) and heat just until all is liquid. In another pan, heat water with borax to boiling (to disolve borax). Allow to cool until very warm but not hot to the touch. If necessary, gently reheat the oils. The idea is to have the oils and water at about the same temperature. Place the water in a bowl and, using an electric beater (with whisk attachment) on low speed, slowly add the oil - at first just a couple drops at a time. After a while you can start to pour it in a very slow stream. As you beat it, it will get thick, turn white, and become a cream/lotion. By then it should be just very slightly warm and then you can add the essential oils. Bottle and use anytime. If you want it to last for a longer time, you can add about 10 drops or so of Grapefruit Seed Extract. (And about 1/4 t. vitamin E oil to the oils as you warm them.) I still have some from last year - never refrigerated it - and it's still fine. And I don't think I added the GSE!

    You could probably also make a mix of the essential oils and dilute it in a carrier oil like one of the ones in the recipe, then use it like Marlene mentioned she uses Skin So Soft. We just don't buy any of the commercial lotions, potions, or stuff because of all the added chemicals. Even the 'Pure' aloe vera gel has added chemicals. (Read the label! It's a mystery to me as to how they think it's still 'pure'.)

    We do have some mosquitos, probably because of our pond (but we seemed to have had just as many before we made the pond - go figure!). We also have a small cave next to the pond that DH and the boys hollowed out. We now seem to have a family (or two) of bats in the cave. We all enjoy watching them 'dance' in the evening sky, and I'm sure they help with the mosquitos - they both seem to like coming out at the same time of day! I'm sure our flock of ducks (not muscovies) also helps with mosquitos - I'm sure they must eat a lot of larve in the pond.

    Hope this helps!