Ticks, chiggers and mosquitos may be the most dangerous critters most of us will ever face. Chigger’s are not dangerous, but can drive you into the danger zone, so they are included.
Experiences shape us and inform our future. Outdoors experiences in the spring, summer and fall is an excellent time to prepare for the most dangerous of God’s creations. Not lions, bears or snakes, but ticks, chiggers and mosquitos are very dangerous and are more likely to be encountered. Small insects are VERY smart and adaptable. First step is to respect these little critters.
Develop the mindset of putting on armor similar to the full armor of God in Ephesians 6:
13Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil.
If you neglect even a small piece of skin, the insect enemy will find it.
(I also have snake proof boots, and carry pepper spray for bears. Another story.)
Here is what I have found to work after having numerous encounters.
Wear clothing, including underwear that is treated with Permethrin. It is found in outdoor stores as well as Amazon. Here is but one product on Amazon.
Wikipedia has an article on it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permethrin
Another option is to buy clothing that is already treated. Here is an example.
Here is a link for the top 10 pieces of clothing. (They will be pricey)
I prefer long pants, long sleeve shirts, tall socks, etc. Some say panty hose works. I don’t know.
At minimum, treat three or four pair of long socks and underwear and designate them as your outdoor pairs.
So after treating your clothes, what to put on your skin?
I used a Deet product for years and some say, it isn’t an issue, but I have moved away from a Deet product and gone as natural as possible.
In a large spray bottle mix ½ distilled white vinegar and ½ water. Add essential oils to your choosing. I like citronella, peppermint, and Dotera has a product called Insect shield. Some prefer apple cider vinegar.
Here is the key to application. You need to get into your birthday suit, and apply to EVERY place of skin and hair. Consider it as a paint job to your skin. Rub it in, and be liberal. This is true for a lotion filled with Deet, or the spray bottle filled with solution. An insect will keep crawling until it finds a place it can dig in. They enjoy skin creases, so be extra vigilant on all.
You can do this by yourself. Using the spray bottle, simply bend over and spray over your back, and let gravity work. Then reach around as much as possible and rub it in.
Then dress with treated clothing, and if you don’t mind looking a little nerdy, tuck your pant leg into your socks. If you do care, then wear very long soccer style socks and spray your clothing with the solution you have chosen. I am not a fan of spraying permethrin on skin or clothes you are wearing, but the vinegar and water solution works. Since it is fairly cheap, you can spray all over your clothing, and your hat, bandana etc.
Consider it arming yourself against the most dangerous of all of God’s creations. They are smart, adaptable, and will find a way where there seems no way.
Even after doing all you know to do, be sure to do a complete tick check.
What also happens is they cling to your clothing, and for days, they can survive in a car or truck, and the next time you sit in your seat, they will be waiting. I haven’t found a good way to kill them, once in the vehicle, except to park in the hot sun. I have successfully been in the outdoors and not had one tick, only to drive in my car days later and get a tick.
Ticks and chiggers will remain on your clothing so remove outside if possible and put in a separate bag. Don’t bring indoors, until ready to wash. Ticks can survive washing in hot water, but they cannot survive a dryer’s heat. Some recommend drying them first to kill the ticks, then wash and dry.
I also received a Lyme disease vaccine. Later in life I was diagnosed with Lymphoma and looking back, one of the side affects was lymphoma. (I no longer recommend a Lyme disease vaccine.)
So, enjoy the great outdoors and put on the full armor of God, like insect repellant.