If you’ve been outside in the garden yet this year than you know that tick season is already started. Unfortunately for anyone who loves the great outdoors New Hampshire has a very large and active tick population. And the state’s Department of Health and Human Services estimate that as many as 60% of the state’s ticks carry Lyme disease. They recommend everyone who spends time outside, and this includes backyard gardeners, take preventive measures against these parasites.
One of the most underused methods of repelling ticks and preventing Lyme disease is by using permethrin. This chemical is very effective in keeping ticks away from humans and can be used to treat fabric such as clothing. The University of Rhode Island’s tick experiments, which can be found online here, showed that test subjects using permethrin received more than 3 times LESS tick bites than those not wearing clothing treated with the substance. They also found that which articles of clothing you treated could greatly influence how safe you were- the take away being that the more diligent you are in trying to prevent ticks shows a big payoff in the end.
These are some favorite permethrin products out on the market right now for gardeners:
Repel Permethrin Clothing & Gear Insect Repellent Aerosol – This handy little spray is the simplest way to add premethrin to your clothing and outdoor gear. This odorless and invisible spray can be used on any kind of fabric, making it a great choice for your gardening clothes, shoes, knee pads, and more. It can withstand multiple washings and is easily reapplied when needed. For about $10 a can it’s an affordable and easy starting point in your tick arsenal. It can found online here.
ExOfficio BugsAway – This line of clothing comes already treated with invisible odorless insect repellents fused into the fabrics. The pants, shirts, and shorts in the collection will guard you against everything from ticks to mosquitos. On top of that the line boats a UPF rating 30+ so you’re getting that important sun protection, too. The insect repelling power of the clothes lasts up to seventy washings and permethrin can be applied once you hit that mark to extend the life of your gardening clothes. Check out the full line of men’s and women’s outdoor clothing online here.
Outdoor Research BugOut Gators – These handy little gators slip easily over your shoes to create an impenetrable shield that keeps ticks and other bugs from crawling up your pant legs. Considering how often gardeners are kneeling, and inadvertently exposing their ankles while they do it, they are a must have. Their elastic top and bottom edges make them comfortable to wear for long periods, while still maintaining a bug proof edge. Onsale at a very affordable price here at Amazon.com.
32 oz. Home treatment – If you’re comfortable with permethrin and are an avid do-it-yourselfer you might want to try treating select areas of your garden yourself. This at home treatment makes it safe and easy to create tick free zones around your yard or home. If you have cats you might want to steer clear or this product or have it applied by a professional but, when used as directed, it is safe for the lawn and dogs. This can be used to create more than twenty gallons of finished product, easily applied with a sprayer, and sells for under $30 (including shipping!) here.