Let’s be honest here.. No one wants to be doing a Google search of “how to prevent ticks from biting you.” It’s a clear indicator that you’ve either been bit by a tick or are prone to attracting them.
Neither is fun. We can sympathize with you.
To help you better prepare for your hunt or hike, we’ll cover what kind of ticks live in the Pacific Northwest, some preventative measures you can take to avoid them, and how you remove one should you have to.
Common Ticks in the PNW
There are three types of ticks in the Pacific Northwest: the brown dog tick, rocky mountain wood tick, and the western blacklegged tick.
Ticks are most active in the Spring and early Summer months. However, this period is not the only time you can spot them. I’m sure you’ve been out hunting or on a hiking trail in the fall and have come across a tick or two.
How To Prevent Ticks Before & After You Go Outdoors
Before you go outdoors, there are a few things you can do to prevent ticks from attaching to you and your clothing.
1. Treat your clothing
Be sure to treat your clothing, especially your pants, boots, socks, and tops. Products that contain 0.5% permethrin are the best choice for deterring ticks.
2. Know where the ticks are
Understanding where you’re most likely to come into contact with a tick goes a long way in avoiding them. They like to reside in bushy and wooded areas. They climb up on vegetation and wait for their hosts to brush up against their hiding spots to attach to them.
Once you come indoors, you want to check your clothing, shower, and check your body.
1. Check your clothes
If you have a garage or washroom where you can undress and check your clothes for ticks before entering your house, then do so! This will help keep any that may be on your clothes from getting inside your home.
Once your clothing has been removed, put it in a sealed plastic bag (trash bag works fine). You can also add your gear as well (hiking pack, hiking boots, etc.).
Then toss all clothing and gear in your dryer on high heat for 10-20 minutes to kill any ticks that may be there.
Taking a shower after a hike or a hunt can help wash off ticks that haven’t attached themselves yet. If a tick has already burrowed into your skin, it won’t come off with a simple shower.
With that being said, a shower is a great place to check your body for ticks that may have latched onto you.
3. Check your body
There are several key places to check for ticks. You want to be sure to examine the back of your knees, legs, waist, belly button, armpits, ears, and hair.
How To Prevent Tick Bites
The best answer to preventing tick bites is to stay out of densely wooded and high grassy areas. However, that’s just not an option for a hunter or an adventurous hiker.
So, your best option is to dress appropriately (long socks, pants, and shirts) and use a permethrin deterrent.
Permethrin is a scent that animals shouldn’t pick up on, but if you’re worried about spooking game, don’t fret! There are several tick defense sprays out there that are designed specifically for keeping you safe and scent-free.
How To Remove A Tick
So you found a tick on yourself? Stay calm. Don’t panic. There are a few options.
Option 1: Medical Professional
You can go to a medical professional for removal. They will be able to advise you on the next course of action should there be one. Keep in mind that the sooner the tick is removed, the better.
Option 2: DIY Removal
Don’t follow old wives’ tales on removing ticks yourself, such as using a lit match. The proper way to remove ticks is by sanitizing the bite area and then using tweezers, grabbing the whole tick, and pulling it out. Once you’ve removed the tick, clean the area again.
No More Tickin’ Worries
Having to deal with a tick is no one’s idea of a good time. Thankfully you now have a list of preventative measures that you can take to keep the suckers at bay. However, if you do find yourself in a position where a tick is involved, you’re now better equipped to handle it.