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Delmar O'Donnell
(Bolster) - F

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Gear to protect against THE most deadly backcountry beastie... on 09/19/2013 16:45:39 MDT Print View

I was reading a copy of Backpacking mag today; it had an article of the number of people killed each year by type of animal or insect (in the US? North America?). The biggest "killer" in the wilds, by a long shot, was ticks (lyme disease). What gear can be used, what measures do YOU take (or can be taken) against ticks? I'm interested to hear a discussion on the relative effectiveness of:

long vs. short pants,
high vs. low socks,
permethrin vs. DEET vs. Picaridin vs. whatever
self-inspections (do you get naked enough in the backcountry to do a thorough self exam? Can you see/find them?)
trail vs. bushwhacking
flyswatter vs. shotgun
etc.

Edited by Bolster on 09/19/2013 17:25:04 MDT.

And E
(LunchANDYnner) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
location on 09/19/2013 16:55:57 MDT Print View

Live in the PNW, like me. Very few ticks here. I think I might have seen one my whole life. That was over on the high divide loop in the Olympics, and it was lazily crawling on my bag on the ground so I squished it.

But permethrin should do the trick on clothes, and I use 3M Ultrathon DEET cream on exposed parts.

But, I've got almost no experience with ticks so, hopefully somebody from Tickville, USA will be able to chime in soon.

Scott Hayden
(Spiffyguy) - F
No Ticks on 09/19/2013 17:03:38 MDT Print View

Long pants and long sleeves treated with permethrin. I do my socks and shoes too. No ticks in two years since I started doing this. works for me.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Gear to protect against THE most deadly backcountry beastie... on 09/19/2013 17:16:21 MDT Print View

Worldwide would be the mosquito.

"The WHO estimates that in 2010 there were 219 million cases of malaria resulting in 660,000 deaths,[78] equivalent to roughly 2000 deaths every day."

Edited by jshann on 09/19/2013 17:21:33 MDT.

Delmar O'Donnell
(Bolster) - F

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Right you are on 09/19/2013 17:24:06 MDT Print View

You are right John. I need to modify my original post to specify USA -- I think the article I read was USA specific although I can't swear to it, it might have been North American continent.

Is there any wisdom in getting the taller crew length socks, rather than the shorties? Or would that be pretty much all the same to a tick? Does anybody permethrin their socks?

Edited by Bolster on 09/19/2013 17:27:03 MDT.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: west coast best coast
Re: Gear to protect against THE most deadly backcountry beastie... on 09/19/2013 17:25:15 MDT Print View

Gaiters to seal up the bottom of your pants.

Ryan Christman
(radio_guy) - MLife

Locale: Midwest U.S.
Re: Gear to protect against THE most deadly backcountry beastie... on 09/19/2013 18:08:49 MDT Print View

The area I am in is prime tick territory and they do carry lime here.

Rather than treating clothing myself multiple times a year (the Sawyer stuff is only good for a few washings or a few weeks...) I sent my favorite trekking items to Insect Shield for "permanent" permethrin treatment. It seems to be working as I have seen bugs craw up my pants and start to die. The cost is very reasonable compared to buying all new Insect Shield apparel and it can be your favorite items. Supposedly good for ~70 washings.

The only thing that cannot be treated are things that already have a DWR or need dry cleaned.

I did have two pair of socks treated and have had no ill effects.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Right you are on 09/19/2013 18:25:11 MDT Print View

"Does anybody permethrin their socks?"

I do. I permethrin my shirt, pants, and socks. If I'm wearing gaiters I'll treat them too. I use the spray on stuff from Sawyer, but Ryan's got me intrigued about sending them for a semi-permanent treatment. Didn't know you could do that.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Right you are on 09/19/2013 18:33:59 MDT Print View

"but Ryan's got me intrigued about sending them for a semi-permanent treatment. Didn't know you could do that."

+1

http://www.insectshield.com/PDF/IS%20Your%20Own%20Clothes%20-%20U.S.%20form.pdf

If it works as advertised, sounds like quite a savings in time and money.

Ryan Christman
(radio_guy) - MLife

Locale: Midwest U.S.
Insect Shield on 09/19/2013 18:53:04 MDT Print View

Glad someone thought to post the link, I came back to do just that.

I was able to get two complete outfits (LS + SS shirts, pants, socks) and a couple more items treated for the cost of two or three brand new Insect Shield treated clothes.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Right you are on 09/19/2013 18:56:36 MDT Print View

Delmar, it probably did mean USA. I tried to find the article on Backpacker, but couldn't find it.

Erik G
(fox212) - F

Locale: THE Bay Area :)
'Permanent' treatment on 09/19/2013 19:08:17 MDT Print View

+1 again! Thanks for the info and the link. I too did not know this semi-permanent treatment service was available.

I've found permethrin to be *very* effective against pretty much all types of insects. Great stuff.

I use treated pants and shirt all the time, and treated gaiters when off trail or in areas where ticks are prevalent.

Ryan Christman
(radio_guy) - MLife

Locale: Midwest U.S.
Permethrin vs. Cats on 09/19/2013 19:13:32 MDT Print View

One other thing I thought about but forgot to mention is that permethrin is extremely toxic to cats (and fish) in large enough quantities. I did not want to risk getting my cat sick by routinely treating my own clothing (they are ok after it dries though). The Insect Shield process eliminates this risk.

Erik G
(fox212) - F

Locale: THE Bay Area :)
Re: Permethrin vs. cats on 09/19/2013 19:24:38 MDT Print View

It's only dangerous to cats in it's liquid form. Once treated clothes are dry, they are not dangerous to cats. At least that's what it says on the Sawyer spray bottle instructions. Still a valid concern and a good point to make, just wanted to clarify. Probably best to keep the kitties away from treated clothing anyway :)

Brian Mix
(Aggro) - M

Locale: Western slope, Sierra Nevada
Re: Gear to protect against THE most deadly backcountry beastie... on 09/19/2013 20:12:03 MDT Print View

I have been treated twice for Lyme disease. 30+ days of heavy antibiotics sucks.
I typically don't worry too much when hiking. If it's above say 40* I'm in shorts and can typically feel them climbing up my leg hairs. If I'm wearing pants I will tuck my pant legs into my socks. I typically pick up ticks when I'm wood cutting so then it is steel toed boots and heavy duck pants with the legs duct taped to my boots to prevent entry to the warm moist areas they love. If I do get into a bunch of them I have no problem getting into my birthday suit until my clothes and my body are free of them.

Delmar O'Donnell
(Bolster) - F

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Brian on 09/19/2013 20:24:49 MDT Print View

Hey Brian: the man with experience!

What has been your "sign" that you needed to be treated? Was it the "Target Logo" red bullseye (erythema chronicum migrans)? Lethargy/malaise?

Were you generally able to catch it within a week or two?

Edited by Bolster on 09/19/2013 20:32:17 MDT.

John Martin
(snapyjohn) - M

Locale: Pacific NW
Documentary on Lime on 09/19/2013 21:39:16 MDT Print View

I watched this on netflix scared the stuffing out of me. The Doc makes the claim that if untreated lime disease morphs into something else. At the end the cliff hanger is that it may be sexually transmitted.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JgR_Jfbhv8

Delmar O'Donnell
(Bolster) - F

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Seriously? on 09/19/2013 21:50:08 MDT Print View

Lyme disease transmitted through SEX?! I thought ticks gave you Lyme disease by BITING you. How would you even...well, nevermind, none of my business.

Oh, wait, you mean sex with an infected HUMAN. Well, that's still discomforting, but less so.

Edited by Bolster on 09/19/2013 21:52:40 MDT.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.wordpress.com
Ticks are bad in New England on 09/19/2013 22:09:17 MDT Print View

I know a lot of people in the northeast with Lyme. My cousin has it. A girl I knew also had it, and it was killing her knees. Absolutely eating through them with arthritis and cartilage decay.

I wear mid-calf socks and I check myself, and I have a veritable forest of lower leg hair, so I have not had a tick, ever. I've only been in the woods for 1.5 years, though.

Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
Alternative prevention on 09/19/2013 22:19:30 MDT Print View

One of my favorite methods for preventing tick bites and Lyme disease:

http://sci.tech-archive.net/Archive/sci.med.diseases.lyme/2006-03/msg00632.html

Every time I've been bitten by a tick, I've been wearing clothes. Must be true!

I couldn't find anything on the "further studies" promised in the article. Maybe the researchers got distracted :-)

-- Rex

Reducing the intelligence of the Internet, one post at a time.

Edited by Rex on 09/19/2013 22:20:35 MDT.