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Gear to protect against THE most deadly backcountry beastie...
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scree ride
got no bugs on me on 09/20/2013 05:54:11 MDT Print View

Don't know if I've ever seen a tick locally. (San Gorgonio, San Jacinto). Further north. Infected mosquitoes are more of a concern. I don't take much precaution.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Gear to protect against THE most deadly backcountry beastie... on 09/20/2013 07:59:39 MDT Print View

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
States on 09/20/2013 08:45:15 MDT Print View

Interesting post, John.

States where you're most likely (incidence >40 per 100K) to get Lyme disease:

New Hampshire (riskiest state!)


Edited by Bolster on 09/20/2013 08:47:15 MDT.

Cameron Wilson
(CJW) - F
ticks on 09/20/2013 09:22:58 MDT Print View

I know plenty of people who have had lyme and most have been lucky to catch it early. I know of one woman here in WI that was misdiagnosed with MS I believe, when she actually was suffering from severe lyme disease. It took a few years to get a correct diagnosis.

By all means strip your clothes off and check for ticks, even if you and your clothes are treated against bugs. Personally I think it's just a matter of time before bugs build up an immunity to what people are using, hopefully I'm wrong. Removing the bug before it has a chance to dig itself in is crucial. I am regularly dropping trow right at parking areas to check myself over and encourage anybody who is with me to do the same so you can surely do it in a camp site. Tuck your pants into your socks, check yourself every few minutes as you walk, wear bug spray, drop your pants and take off your shirt to check for ticks that have made it through the other defenses, try to not walk in tall grass and brush during the worst parts of the season, etc.

In my experience ticks are at their worst in spring and fall. It must be that the little ones are freshly hatched and looking for a host and then the pressure drops some in the drier months and picks up again in the wetter fall but not near as bad as in the spring.

Mina Loomis
(elmvine) - MLife

Locale: Central Texas
sulfur? on 09/20/2013 09:38:04 MDT Print View

When I was a kid in the 1950's and 60's, at camp they used to put powdered sulfur in a sock and dust our ankles (like a powder puff) with it, for ticks and chiggers. I think it worked. I haven't seen that in a long time. Did sulfur turn out to be bad stuff for this?

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Re: Gear to protect against THE most deadly backcountry beastie... on 09/20/2013 09:45:57 MDT Print View

Ticks don't bite everyone - why I don't know. I happen to be one of those lucky people that ticks don't like. At least ticks in the Northwest - never hiked in Penciltucky so I don't know about those tiny deer ticks.

just Justin Whitson
Re: sulfur? on 09/20/2013 09:48:07 MDT Print View

That's interesting Mina--i'm also curious about sulfur as i have sulfur powder that's just sitting around.

Also what could "possibly" work is diatamaceous earth (i'm not saying for people to go out and try it!). It works by mechanical action to kill many insects. If the insects involved have any kind of exoskeleton outer, the sharp/abrasive silica shards will cut/abrade it up and the insects die by loss of fluids.

Problem is, how would one keep it on them in any quantity to be effective. Carrying around a little baggy and dusting oneself with it periodically could possibly work, but be really inconvenient. Also wouldn't work too well if lot's of sweat or rain is involved.

just Justin Whitson
Re: Re: Gear to protect against THE most deadly backcountry beastie... on 09/20/2013 09:51:08 MDT Print View

Zorg, i'm wondering if your diet is perhaps different or unusual in any way compared to the average? Do you eat a lot of spices, a lot of garlic, much less sugar, etc, etc, etc. I'm curious that if your statement is true, if there is anything diet related to that notion. I've experimented a bit with eating a crap ton of garlic a few days in a row before going out in the woods and finding mosquitoes liking me less than usual.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: sulfur? on 09/20/2013 09:51:30 MDT Print View

"When I was a kid in the 1950's and 60's, at camp they used to put powdered sulfur in a sock and dust our ankles (like a powder puff) with it, for ticks and chiggers. I think it worked. I haven't seen that in a long time. Did sulfur turn out to be bad stuff for this?"

Interesting. I googled this, and found a couple of things.

Some people eat sulfur as a way to repel ticks:

And another that talks about the sulfur in a sock trick (though they say it probably doesn't work as well as deet/permethrin):

Doug L
(mothermenke) - F

Locale: Upstate NY
Sulphur and garlic on 09/20/2013 09:58:26 MDT Print View

I knew a guy who ran the kennels for a big fox hunt in Virginia. He added sulfur and dried garlic to the dog food and said none of the foxhounds ever got ticks. This is for a pack of fifty hounds who lived essentially outdoors year round. My dog picked up twenty ticks on one day trip in the spring not far from the same area.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Dogs n ticks on 09/20/2013 10:09:24 MDT Print View

Went to the Ozarks a few years ago over Memorial Day weekend. Wow was it hot and miserable, ticks everywhere...I was picking so many off of myself (in places i dont want to think about having be damned) and my dog I couldn't stand it. We ended up hiking out early because the weather and the bugs were so awful we just weren't having a good time.

My dog is treated year round with advantix II, uber expensive but works very well. Except on this trip he had a bunch still attached...but they were obviously dying.

That Tuesday evening, I came home from work to find literally HUNDREDS of dead, partially inflated ticks on my white ceramic kitchen floor - the tiles were absolutely blanketed in dead ticks. FYI, in case you were wondering, it is NOT a good idea to run over partially engorged ticks with a vacuum......

We both tested negative for Lyme.

Apologize for the disgusting thread drift, but I'm procrastinating on finishing this lecture I'm trying to write. This seemed more entertaining.

just Justin Whitson
Re: Dogs n ticks on 09/20/2013 10:12:26 MDT Print View


(you made me almost speechless, quite a feat)

Greg Pehrson
(GregPehrson) - MLife

Locale: playa del caballo blanco
save the tick if you can on 09/20/2013 10:13:19 MDT Print View

Hey Delmar,
If you find a tick embedded on you, try to save it in a ziploc bag and take it to your doctor to be tested for Lyme, even before any symptoms appear. I have been bitten by ticks that have tested positive for Lyme and was able to get treatment right away. Another family member of mine developed what looked like a spider bite--a big swollen red and purple area on her foot, and then got a 104* fever. No bullseye rash; and nobody ever saw the culprit. We asked our doctor to refer her for a blood test--and she tested positive for Lyme and was put on 60 days of antibiotics because of the high levels already in her blood.

I always carry a "Tick Key" in my first aid kit now--I think it's the best way to remove the whole tick. Brian Green did a recent post about cutting one down to minimal size.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Dogs n ticks on 09/20/2013 10:14:38 MDT Print View

I use cedar oil on my dog for ticks. Seems to work well. But you have to get a cedar oil made for dogs/humans - not all cedar oils are the same.

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Hard to find on 09/20/2013 10:31:38 MDT Print View

One of the things I'm learning as I research this, is that the nymph does most of the infecting, and they're so small (the size of a poppy seed) they're difficult to even find. How am I supposed to find a poppy-seed-sized bug on my scalp? So I'm less confident about a self-inspection being the primary line of defense. This discussion is moving me more into the permethrin camp. (Or possibly into Rex's nudist camp.)

Edited by Bolster on 09/20/2013 10:33:50 MDT.

just Justin Whitson
Re: Hard to find on 09/20/2013 10:39:20 MDT Print View

Well Delmar, let's be efficient here, if you're going to go the nudist route, then you got have a shaved head and everything else.

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Re: Re: Re: Gear to protect against THE most deadly backcountry beastie... on 09/20/2013 12:29:44 MDT Print View

I drink a lot strong black coffee, otherwise I'm your standard overweight AARP-aged American male. I get ticks on me, but I have never ever been bit. If there is something unique about my diet I don't know what it is.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Hard to find on 09/20/2013 12:44:10 MDT Print View

Delmar, luckily they aren't so bad in California, in my experience. I have heard of some people getting covered in specific places but I almost never get them. I have been walking off trail through dense grasslands in shorts for years now and I've only gotten a few.
Lymes disease isn't as common in California, however I did talk to a guy who got it from a tick while hiking on the central coast.

Brian Mix
(Aggro) - MLife

Locale: Western slope, Sierra Nevada
my experience... on 09/20/2013 13:44:18 MDT Print View

I'm fairly certain I caught the two I was treated for before or close to the mythical 24 hour mark- according to doctors, you can't be infected within that time period. Both times I got the bullseye mark which can be an indicator- not a guarantee you have it. I save the ticks always for testing. I have been treated twice as a precautionary measure (doctor's words). I've had numerous ticks in my life- many as a child romping thru the woods before we knew about Lyme disease. My mother had a tested-and-confirmed case of Lyme from a tick on my property. Kaiser gave her a similar treatment to what I received.
It's definitely nothing to mess around with.

Bill Segraves
(sbill9000) - F - M
Re: Gear to protect against THE most deadly backcountry beastie... on 09/20/2013 20:06:01 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)."

Delmar, can you find the issue of Backpacking? Don't get me wrong - ticks are one of my least favorite living creatures and lyme disease is well worth avoiding - but according to most sources, lyme disease is very rarely if ever fatal.


Bill S.

PS - Regular inspection and tick removal tends to be my main strategy, but when that's impractical, I go for permethrin-treated clothing to improve my odds.