You may find a tick anyplace on your body where there are creases, such as in your groin, armpits, and hair. Ticks can also attach to any part of your clothing. Hiking through woods or leafy areas ups your risk of coming into contact with them.
To help prevent ticks from latching on to you, here are some tips that may help you:
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1. Learn Spring and Early Summer You’ll Find the Greatest Number of Ticks
In Spring and early Summer, the nymphal stage of the black-legged tick is most active. Nymphs are about the size of a poppy seed. Females lay eggs in late spring. The eggs hatch into nymphs in early summer and attach to people or animals to feed. Nymphs remain attached and feed for several days before dropping off to molt into adults.
Adults are most active in the late fall. They attach to people or animals to feed and mate. Afterward, the males drop off and die. Females remain attached and continue to feed until they are full of blood. Then they drop off, lay eggs, and die.
2. Wear the Right Gear
Don light-colored clothing so you can more readily see ticks. Ticks will have fewer areas to attach to your body if you wear long sleeves and long pants tucked into your socks. To keep ticks out of your hair, put on a hat. Additionally, you can have your clothing pre-treated with permethrin, which will instantly kill ticks.
3. Don’t Go to Damp and Shady Places
Ticks like to hang out in moist, humid areas. If you can, avoid hiking through dense woods or leafy areas where ticks are likely to be waiting. Stay on well-traveled trails whenever possible.
4. Reduce Contact With Ticks
Avoid going on a hike through dense bushes, long grass, or wooded areas. Also not sit directly to the ground. Use a blanket to sit on. This will help reduce the number of ticks that have access to your skin.
5. Stay in the Center of the Trail
Ticks tend to cling to vegetation along the edges of trails. By staying in the center of the trail, you’ll reduce your chances of coming into contact with them.
6. Use Insect Repellent
Repellents containing 20 to 30 percent DEET will protect you from most ticks for several hours. You can also use products that contain oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535. These work well, but don’t last as long as DEET-based repellents.
If you’re concerned about using DEET on your skin, put it only on your clothes. You can buy pre-treated clothing, or treat your own clothing by spraying it with a repellent that contains 0.5% permethrin. Permethrin will stay on your clothes through several washes and will kill ticks on contact.