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Ugh! Nasty, horrid little things! If you are grossed out by ticks, you have very good reason to be: Ticks feed on blood and are vectors (transmitters) of a whole list of evil diseases, including Lyme disease, Q fever, Colorado tick fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, African tick bite fever, tularemia, tick-borne relapsing fever, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, cytauxzoonosis, Tick paralysis, tick-borne meningoencephalitis and bovine anaplasmosis! (source: Wikipedia)
One of my friends contracted Lyme disease from a tick bite. It’s serious stuff. Nearly killed him. You do not want to be bitten by one of these little monsters. They are also quite fond of dogs and other animals.
Some of the chemical-based topical tick medicines have come under criticism and even ban, due to toxicity concerns: One product, containing phenothrin and methoprene has been withdrawn by the US EPA and other products contain warnings of adverse reactions.
We’ve found a web page that gives a great description of 2 home-made tick and flea repellants (one for humans, one for pets) that use herbs and natural ingredients. Here is the link to the tick repellant recipes: http://www.ehow.com/way_5608181_homemade-tick-repellent-recipe.html
Note that lavender and tea tree essential oils, while not mentioned in the original article, are also reported by other sources to have tick repellent qualities. However (important!) – several essential oils are toxic to pets. Tea tree should not be used on dogs and cats. Here is a full article with a list of essential oils that are harmful to animals.
If you have been bitten by a tick, please seek professional medical advice. Also, if the tick has been removed, keep it to show to the physician – as it will be of benefit to identify the species (and also make sure that its head is not still buried in your skin!) Sorry for the grossness, but better to know what to do.
ps. Some good news – did you know that guineafowl are one of the best natural tick controls? They eat them by the thousand. According to wikipedia, just 2 guineafowl can clear 2 acres of ticks in a year. All of a sudden I love guineafowl!