Natural tick control

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by WanderingOak, Jul 15, 2004.

  1. WanderingOak

    WanderingOak Well-Known Member

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    I read an article in yesterdays Washington Post about using essential oils to keep ticks away from pets. The article suggested using lemon, sandalwood or cedar oils diluted in water, then spraying it over the dog or cat. I was wondering if anybody out there has heard of anything similar being effective for keeping ticks away from people? I was thinking about either mixing the oils in with my shampoo, or cooking up a batch of soap with the oils. Anybody out there have any ideas?

    Of course, I could nuke my yard with pesticides, but that would probably kill all of the cats, birds, deer and everything else that breathes within a quarter mile of my house. I use Frontline on my cat every month, so right now she has more protection from ticks than I do. Would the flea collar trick work (soldiers in Iraq wear flea collars around their ankles to keep sand fleas away), or is that just superstition? I've heard that neither frontline nor flea collars are 100% safe for cats, so if I find an essential oil solution that works, I'll probably use it on Mischief (my cat) as well.

    I just found out that I have Lyme's disease (better than rhumatoid arthritis, which is what I first thought I had), so I will need to take Doxycycline for a few weeks. Prevention is allways better than a cure with lots of oddball side-effects. I'm going to have to avoid sunlight like a vampire for the next month.
     
  2. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    I think if you live in an area which is NOT tick infested, the essential oils might be enough.

    I personally refuse to take a chance, however. I lost my favorite hound last year to ehrlichiosis w/ babesiosis (this was despite using Frontline - don't believe for a minute the ticks have to be attached for any length of time to transmit the diseases! He escaped one day, I found him several hours later after searching frantically for him and, by then the tick that got him had already fallen off --- I now use K9 Advantix because it repels the ticks). In addition, my mom was a suspected advanced Lyme victim.

    I've bombed this place since I first got here and have not seen a decrease in birds, etc. In fact, I've seen THE OPPOSITE! More birds, more wildlife --- and I have a huge increase in desirable critters and insects --- my earthworm population, for example, is booming here. There has been such an increase in the desirable stuff that I've even found myself wondering whether the ticks were crowding out the desirable stuff.

    We're heavily infested here and I know of no one who is willing to take a chance, given how bad tick disease is here. If you're not so heavily infested, it might be worth a try.
     

  3. amwitched

    amwitched Well-Known Member

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    You can buy Sulfur powder at the nursery. This is an organic control for ticks. You can dust your ankles as well as the ground. It is also water soluble so you use a pump sprayer.
     
  4. Old Jack

    Old Jack Truth Seeker

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    Have you found any place that has good prices on K-9 Advantix?
     
  5. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    K9 Advantix rocks! It also repels mosquitoes, so you get that bit of added protection against heartworm. :)

    I bought mine online --- I think at PetShed? NO, I got it through eBay at a good price (although i can't remember the price). The prices on it vary quite a bit from month to month so you might want to to an online search --- PetShed is often the best price for everything, even with shipping from Australia, but I've found excellent deals at eBay over the past couple of years for tick preventatives. :)
     
  6. WanderingOak

    WanderingOak Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the idea. I'll probably go ahead and try that. Of course mowing the weeds might help as well. I would get some guinea fowl, but all they would would do is provide my cat with meals on the wing. Also, there are strict HOA regs about the type of beasts I can have. Dogs and cats are pretty much it.
     
  7. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    Guinea hens will eat your tick population into non existance, a couple pair of them are not outrageous, a little noisy, but they are worth their weight in ticks prevention..... available from several hatcheries, the keets are not as easy to raise as chickens but almost.

    Ive used Citronella oil drops on a cotton collar as a flea fighter.... but the tweezers were still used daily on those schnauzers. but they did have less than the nieghbor dogs.

    William
     
  8. TexCountryWoman

    TexCountryWoman Gig'em

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    I'm wondering if Diatomeceous Earth would work.
     
  9. jerneeon

    jerneeon Well-Known Member

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    I know lice hate tea tree oil. We sprayed it on us all the time where I worked at. (at a public school). I'm wondering if other pests hate it too.
     
  10. GRHE

    GRHE Mountain Ogre

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    Tex, though I'm a believer is DE, I have not seen any real evidence it would help with ticks. Fleas seem to be an exception, but general I have only seen reel effectiveness against soft-bodied critters, not a hard bodied sucking insect like a tick. Others may disagree. I also do not like to over broadcast though as this takes out too many of my beneficials, and broadcasting might be a bit more effective against ticks. I think you are better off going with a more direct attack like advantix.

    Just a hearsay note as well on the products. While trying to treat a elderly cat last year we were severally chastised by our vet for trying to save a bit by using Hartz products rather than the prescription Advantix. Her claim was that regardless of what Hartz and the other over the counter companies say, their products are not the same. They have been responsible for the loss of many pets through strokes, seizures, and aneurysms through impurities and the fact that many are not the same chemicals. Her statement was use the real thing or don't bother. She recommended ordering online if you want to save money, but get the real thing, the other products were not generics they were other products. She may have been overstating, but you may want to give it a thought to as you look around.
     
  11. WanderingOak

    WanderingOak Well-Known Member

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    I can agree with you on this. I tried using Hartz flea drops on my cat, and she started having seizures and drooling all over the house afterwards. I had to make a late night visit to an emergency vet clinic, just to make sure that she wasn't going to die on me. Fortunately, all I had to do was give her a good bath, but she was convinced that I was trying to drown her. There is more information at www.HartzVictims.org .
     
  12. bearkiller

    bearkiller Well-Known Member

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    A few comments seem in order here,

    First, try to reduce tick populations in your immediate environment. This can be accomplished easily by keeping tall grass mowed down. Especially in areas you frequent. Next you can make a "tick drag" which is simply some light colored cloth...I like canvas attached to a stick across the lead end to keep it spread out. Drag this through the grass and it will pick up an enormous number of ticks if they are abundant. The fun part comes in de-ticking your drag. I usually throw the rascals into a fire or else a small can of kerosene. Another thing that helps is to eat all those nasty tick infested deer to keep them off "your" area.

    Second, guinea fowl work wonders. In areas with prohibitions (been there) simply keep a few fowl until someone complains then sell 'em off, move 'em out, or eat them.

    Third, regarding Lyme disease, whether you acquire the Borrellia infection is LARGELY time dependant, By that I mean the longer the tick is attached the greater your risk. Easiest thing in the world during tick season is to get your spouse and do a tick search. Not only clears the body of vermin, but can be fun as well. Out here in CA, since the ticks also feed on lizards, infectivity is lower because Borrellia does not like cold blooded hosts whereas the tick doesn't care where its blood meal comes from.

    Fourth, do a daily tick inspection of your critters. Mostly they just think they are getting petted.

    bearkiller