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Old 05-08-07, 06:51 PM   #1
Niles H.
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Just wanted to share a few notes; and maybe others have something to add on this topic.

I've been treated with antibiotics after getting the rash. This was a few years ago. I researched the hell out of it, because I was a little tweaked about the whole thing, and was uncomfortable out in the woods. That has since changed. Here are a few things I discovered:

A lot of people, even many M.D.'s -- my doctor-brother included --, are not very clear about the details.
The people who really know their stuff in this area tend to be found more often in the field of entomology (including arachnidology). If you can find a good graduate entomology library, at a major university, you can discover things about ticks (and wind scorpions, and other creatures you never dreamed of) that you cannot readily find anywhere else.

DEET is not that effective. I've done tests myself. It neither deters nor kills many ticks. They walk right over it.

Standard tweezers are not a very good choice for tick removal. They smash and compress the bodies. This is not advisable. There are other, better tools. One has a little v-shape in it. You slide it under the tick so that the head is at the apex of the v. There are some other tools as well. Google helps here.

I do not remember all the details on permethrin (the spirochetes probably got those brain cells...the little ######## -- they're worse than the ticks). But I do remember that it

Permethrin is extremely toxic to many arthropods. It is much less toxic to mammals -- by far far far. I do not remember the physiology, but I did read about it. It was impressive how it targeted the arthropod physiology, and not the mammalian.

My understanding is that it remains active on clothing for some time, and kills many bugs in short order.

The small ticks (nymphs) often hang out in leaf litter. Not a good place to sleep or spend a lot of time unless you are prepared in one way or another for them.

They are attracted by carbon dioxide.

Scientists often collect them in the field by putting some dry ice on a piece of cloth. It attracts them.

I've had them on many parts of my body. They are not terribly particular about location. (Navel (I remember those two ticks well), arms, scalp, calf area, groin, thigh, chest, stomach, rib cage area, back, and other areas -- I've had them dig into these areas.)

One morning hiking off-trail in Los Padres National Forest, I removed over 170 ticks from my clothing and body. Only a few had dug in, and I got those early. There is some disagreement about whether or not ticks can transmit the spirochetes inside the 24-hour time frame that is often given. One source said twelve hours. Another said that they can transmit if you squeeze them. Others dispute this.

The rash does not always show up.

I think it is best to find something that kills them.

There are areas where upwards of 50% of ticks tested were carriers of the disease. There are other areas where it is down around 3% or even lower. The presence of bluebelly lizards (I'm not making this up) is correlated with keeping the percentages lower.

That's it for now.

I'm always interesting in learning more about these creatures and people's experiences, and (especially) effective countermeasures.

(As a vegetarian and nature lover, I don't often buy into the notion of 'better living through chemistry'; but there are exceptions.....)

Last edited by Niles H.; 05-09-07 at 02:53 PM.
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Old 05-08-07, 09:39 PM   #2
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Thanks for the stats & observations. If anything creeps me out most about the outdoors, it's definitely ticks. We were overtaken by them in the North Dakota Badlands and it really put a damper on things. Anytime you picked something up in camp, you found a few ticks on it. In the morning sun you could see their shadows all over the tent. Being paranoid every other second is no way to live.
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Old 05-08-07, 10:10 PM   #3
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Light a match,blow it out and touch the tic with the hot tip, it'll back out. Then kill the sucker!
. “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

"We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant
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Old 05-08-07, 10:41 PM   #4
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There is only one bug I truly hate. That would be ticks. I haven't even gotten all that many on me in my life. But I personally know 3 people who have gotten lyme disease. 2 of which didn't catch it early enough.

I know many insects, even nasty ones, serve some useful purpose somehow. I don't know what purpose ticks serve though.

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Old 05-08-07, 11:13 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
Light a match,blow it out and touch the tic with the hot tip, it'll back out. Then kill the sucker!

Does that really truly work, or is it a wives tale? I'm going on tour soon through lots of forest, and ticks have been in the news a LOT!
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Old 05-08-07, 11:15 PM   #6
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In the Northeast,Lyme Disease is VERY prevalent,I know a few people who've had it.A friend's wife (no outdoor sportswoman) was diagnosed over two years ago,she still has totend to it,though the major ill-effects have disappeared,she's a nurse noless.Deet,nothing is effective against deer ticks.Avoidance of their habitat(anywhere outside) is the only preventative measure.Long pants,socks-over works,as does carefull inspection.You may not prevent the infection of the bite,you can get a jump on it though.Deer ticks are tiny,the young ones are even smaller,for several reasons these smallest ones bite most often. One reason is that they lurk lower in the brush than adults generally do,they're difficult to see.
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Old 05-09-07, 05:13 AM   #7
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Permethrin is a fairly effective insect repellant,however, some people don't want to use it because of perceived health risks. It is actually an insecticide and kills or stuns insects that come in contact with it. As you pointed out it's toxicity is very selective and it has some other properties that make it safe (if I remember this right): it tightly bonds to clothing and skin contact degrades it or reduces it's toxicity (this is why you apply it clothing). It is also the active ingredient in prescription shampoo for lice. Appling permethrin to a hat and to the shoulder and upper back area of a shirt along with using DEET I have found to be the most effective defense against biting flies and swarming knats.

For people who are concerned about health risks due to insect repellants, I would encourage them to do their own research from creditable sources and not rely on the conclusions of some websites, which seems to be based on hear say. Keep in mind that the safety of these repellants has been well demonstrated as they have been studied and restudied and have been in use by millions of people for many years. Also keep in mind the larger picture and compare the relative health risks of contracting insect born diseases such as Lyme disease.
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Old 05-09-07, 06:09 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
Light a match,blow it out and touch the tic with the hot tip, it'll back out. Then kill the sucker!
your not meant to burn them if they already have their head in your body though as the throw up when they die.
I hate ticks but have only got bitten once. The recomended method of removing them on all teh outdoor forums seems to be the specialist twezzers

here's a link to info on using the twezzers

Last edited by Andy L; 05-10-07 at 05:37 AM.
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