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  1. If I worried about ticks, we would never go anywhere! Our area is thick with them at different times of the year. My kids run free, barefoot through fields and yard and garden. We simply do a body check at night (and bathe daily, though because of grime and stink, not ticks)—though ticks often don’t make their appearance till morning, sneaky things—and if strange ailments come up, I know to think back over whether or not ticks might have had a role in it. So far they haven’t…

    • This is a great summary of our approach to them as well! We’ve removed well over 75 ticks so far this year — sometimes up to 5 or 6 at a time — and the only option for us would be to keep our kids inside from May – August (although this year’s tick season definitely seems to be dragging on and on and on). That’s really not an option at all, so we just do regular tick checks as well. The risk of Lyme disease is much higher once they’ve been attached for 36+ hours, so we just check regularly so that we never come anywhere close to that.

  2. While living in Connecticut in the early 80’s I had a tick bite that led to Lyme Disease. Bad stuff, for sure. Even here in Michigan, they have found ticks carrying it, so I am extra careful when working outside. Good tips!!!

  3. JJ: A check and bath are definitely sound practices.

    Cindy: Lyme Disease is awful. I have a friend that struggled with it for several years before getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I have another whose husband has never recovered! I think if people know what it does they are way more cautious.

  4. The best way by far that I have ever removed ticks was with liquid hand soap. Simply use a apply dab of hand soap and very gently rub the tick with a cotton ball. In less than 15 sec it will release itself. This is great for pets, wiggly kids and hard to reach places!

  5. Lyme is serious business! My husband was diagnosed almost 5 years ago now and has never felt quite the same since. His Lyme presented with lots of cognative trouble (he couldn’t focus enough to read or even hold a lengthy conversation), depression-like symptoms, trouble sleeping, as well as the more familar body pain. He never had a rash. The first years of our marriage were a struggle as he was so sick. This is not something you want your kiddos to have to deal with. We work hard to make sure that our daughter doesn’t get bit. Ever. We make sure to do a visual check every half hour when we’re out side and we look forward to getting chickens and guina fowl next spring. Thanks for a great post!

  6. I’m so happy you are sharing these tips on ticks. Ticks were a big issue when I lived in upstate New York. I know several people who have contracted lyme disease. It is no fun and some have never recovered. It’s very good you are covering this topic in such a clear, practical way. Thank you.

  7. JJ: If I’m asked back I might hit a bee-related topic (I have one in mind for late summer), but I think that BK101 would definitely push my word count into oblivion! Not to mention there are so many great BK sites already doing it better than I could.

    Allison: NEVER, EVER swab an engaged tick with anything! The irritation may cause them to expel their gut contents into the wound before they back out. The soap may work, but it increases the risk of disease considerably. It is unpleasant, but the absolute best method is to tweeze it out. Here’s a helpful diagram:
    http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/lyme/ld_tickremoval.htm

    Bergen: I’m so sorry to hear about your husband, but glad that he’s doing better. FYI–make sure you are OK with the noise of those guinea fowl first. They are tick hunters par excellence, but notorious noise-makers.

    SL: Thanks for reading. I hope that I’m living up to the blog’s high standards. Making effective organic choices relies on scientifically sound, practical information. The chemical control era has conditioned most of us to not only ignore such information, but to expect a quick fix in the form of a pill or a spray. We can always reduce our need for those or any other chemical inputs by initiating practical changes to our lifestyles and routines.

  8. As a person that is being treated for Lyme disease right now with Doxycolyne, I can tell you it’s a formidable disease even when it’s caught early! And the drug has some rough side effects as well.
    Thanks for this article.